In the wake of several divorces in Hollywood, some people can’t help but wonder why many marriages are failing. That is why Dr. John Gottman, an expert on Divorce prediction and marital stability, explained the factors he observed that could result in separations or divorces.

According to Gottman, four major factors could affect marital relationships. Gottman called these causes as “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” which refer to the negative communication patterns including Contempt, defensiveness, stonewalling and criticism.

Divorce’s ‘biggest predictor.’

Among the four negative communication patterns, Gottman found that contempt is the “most destructive” factor due to the message it conveys, which is one is better than the other. Since contempt “overwhelms” the relationship, Gottman stressed that it makes couples forget about their partner’s “positive qualities or acts,” while the other feels upset.

Due to the “immediate decay of admiration,” Gottman said that contempt should be avoided in marital relationships. Contempt also destroys the bond between the married couple, and when respect is lost, the connection is impossible to make.

The Good Men Project also noted that contemptuous couples are “more likely to suffer infectious illness” compared to those who are not contemptuous of each other.

The publication added that contempt is making people feel “worthless and despised.”

Reversing contempt

Even though contempt can ruin marital relationships, the patterns of contempt can be reversed. According to Gottman, the best countermeasure is “building fondness and admiration.”

Gottman explained that talking about “happy events of the past” helps in mending couples’ relationships through reconnection.

He also stressed that couples should look at their partners through “rose-colored glasses,” which means looking at their positive sides rather than dwelling on the negativities.

Divorce is in the genes

In other related reports, a new and soon-to-be-published study in the journal Psychological Science suggested that divorce could be influenced by genetics.

According to Medical News Today, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) researchers found that adopted children resembled their biological parents’ divorce history and not their adoptive parents.

VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences’ Psychology department assistant professor and lead study author Jessica Salvatore, Ph.D., admitted that their findings took them by surprise. But they concluded that the study suggested a “consistent evidence that genetic factors contributed to the intergeneration transmission divorce.”

The study authors added that they also found weak evidence for a rearing environmental impact of divorce. But Salvatore stressed that the in an adoption setting, genetic influences, and the rearing environment are separated from each other.

Divorce litigation

Meanwhile, litigation is the most popular divorce option, but most cases are settled out of court. Majority of the divorce cases are also unilateral, making an agreement non-existent and the separation ordeal argumentative and emotionally provocative.

But in what cases is litigation inevitable? A separate The Good Men Project report listed the cases when out-of-court settlements seemed impossible, and litigation is the best and most viable option.

These include domestic violence, power imbalance, substance abuse, child abuse, parental alienation, personality disorders, criminal activities and forensic issues. The publication also explained that litigation could reduce the tension and animosity between divorcing parties.

Parental Alienation

Speaking of Parental Alienation, many parents experience this kind of psychological manipulation that ruins families every single day. This global phenomenon spawns disrespect and hate.

It could be done through subtle bribery, manipulative brainwashing and undermining authority. As per The Huffington Post, there are five signs that could be suggestive of parental alienation and these are: making plans behind backs, brainwashing, removing children from their “safe spaces,” bribery and undermining set rules and boundaries.