Marriage Class Online


What Should you Do?
Antidotes to the Four Warning Signs

Antidote For Stonewalling:

If Stonewalling is the problem, you should learn to sooth yourself during a relationship battle or conflict, instead of just stuffing your negative feelings, or simply cutting yourself off from all feelings. Research shows that stonewallers are having a lot of conflict and angst inside: they just are not showing it. Sooth yourself by taking in deep breaths, exercising, listening to music, etc. Just try to somehow reduce your stress so you can deal with the issue.

Antidote for Criticism:

If criticism is a warning sign, you should learn to complain without blame. This means sticking to the issue and not attacking the person or his character. The difference is often subtle but extremely important. A complaint is a simple statement about something a person doesn't like, or something a person would like to see changed and an explanation of to why the person feels this way. By contrast, a critical person goes beyond complaining and implies that the viewpoint or actions of others are wrong, and his or hers are right, or the person will imply that others have behaved badly. Criticism is a form of attack. Critical people often seem disgusted and show no interest in hearing the viewpoints of others.

Antidote for Defensiveness:

Defensive people deflect criticism by denying responsibility for the problem, blaming their partner for the problem, or denying there is a problem at all. The Antidote is to take some responsibility for the issue which opens discussion and problem-solving dialogue instead of conflict and arguing. Be open to the possibility that there is another viewpoint to things, that your partner may have an equally valid point, and that perhaps both of you have contributed to the conflict, problem, or issue.

Antidote for Contempt:

Contempt involves thinking that one's values, preferences or viewpoints are better or more correct than those of one's partner in any given situation. Or, it may involve the tendency to think of one as better (more mature, more responsible, less selfish, less to blame) than one's partner. The antidote is to build an atmosphere of appreciation. In successful marriages, there is almost no contempt with partners valuing the opinions and input of the other. Rather than judging the other or "looking down" at the other, successful couples convey that they appreciate the other. They avoid hurtful criticism or negative judgments of the other or how the other does things or thinks about things.

If you would like to download this test to print out and use later, click here.