Anger — and Other Relationship Killers

To avoid the damage that anger and the other relationship killers do, it is important to cultivate these attributes:

If I've just described you ... your future partner is very, very lucky.

When one or both partners are good listeners and slow to anger, the relationship stands a very good chance of lasting a very long time.


Many relationships fail because the partners don't communicate. John Gray, in his insightful series of books "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus," points out the difficulties that men and women have in communicating. So, we can't expect communications ever to be ideal between the genders.

The closer you can get to being a partner who is quick to listen, slow to talk, and slow to anger, the closer you are to being someone your partner can communicate with. Communicating well is a real nice bonus, but communications failure is not a deal-breaker.

The Explosive Partner

The deal breaker is the partner who is explosive, and quick to anger. The explosive partner makes it virtually impossible to begin and end 'issue' discussions on a positive note. And, there will be 'issues.' Every relationship has them.

Anger isn't the only relationship killer. Others include, disgust, contempt, criticism, stonewalling and more.

Anger is usually the start. Anger leads a partner to use one or more of the other relationship killers.

Will the Relationship Last?

Dr. John Gottman, the guru of marital research, is able to predict with incredible accuracy whether any two people will have a marriage that will last or will end in divorce. At the Gottman Institute, in Seattle, Washington, couples are put into a comfortable space and asked to have a 15-minute discussion on some issue about which they disagree.

After only one 15-minute session (which is filmed, recorded, and carefully scored), the researchers can form a prediction about the durability of the relationship.

Discussions begin and end on a positive note

In marriages that last, the couple will begin and end the discussion on a positive note. Neither will damage the relationship by expressing anger, contempt, or other damaging communications.

So, one reason you want a partner who is positive and slow to anger is that your 'issue' discussions are much more likely to start and end positively, and may even be productive.

The other reason you want a partner who is slow to anger is that anger can make a person say hurtful, demeaning, insulting, or even contemptuous things. It is quite a challenge for the insulted, demeaned, and hurt partner to hang on to that precious bundle of love that bonds the couple together.

If it's important to you to have a relationship that will really last, then it's important to you that you and your future partner both cultivate the magical traits. Be a person who listens, who stops talking enough to listen to your partner, and especially — most importantly — is slow to anger.

You'll be delighted to know that everyone can learn to avoid the "Relationship Killers." New habits can be built that replace any bad habits that you or your partner may bring to the new relationship. New habits, or creative strategies for arguing or fighting, will surely make it possible for you and your partner to have one of those wonderful relationships that last.

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