All marriages face challenges, and some can be more trying than others. With many issues, couples are able to work things out. However, some behaviors predict an increase of divorce. 

Contempt is one of these predictors. Marriage experts warn of the dangers of this behavior, and they offer advice on how to curtail it to save a marriage. 

The dangers of contempt 

According to Business Insider, contempt is one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse,” which are the main divorce predictors. Out of the four, contempt is the worst. The term refers to a variety of behaviors that indicate the other partner is not an equal in terms of their emotions and needs. Some examples of contempt include 

  • Eye-rolling 
  • Name calling 
  • Hurtful sarcasm 

How to curb contemptuous behavior 

According to Huffpost, although contemptuous behavior is dangerous to a marriage, there are ways to reduce it. A common cause of contempt is that couples have not worked through things from the past. Part of the solution is to check in on each other on a regular basis and deal with things as they come up rather than let them fester. 

To prevent contempt, couples must focus on delivery. This means working on presenting the message in a way that does not involve sarcasm or other hurtful behavior. Also avoid saying the word “whatever,” as this sends a message that what the partner said was not important. Body language is also key. If one feels like emotions are taking over, it is better to take a small break from the conversation to avoid smirking or rolling the eyes. 

Another no-no is to use the phrase “you are overreacting.” This indicates the spouse’s feelings are not important. Rather, ask how they feel and why. All effort to show the partner’s needs and feelings are valid will help to repair the relationship.