Four Horseman and Their Replacements with Gentle Conflict Management Skills

Relationships and interpersonal connections are seminal to the human experience; love shapes, supports and inspires body, mind, and soul. Romantic love is complicated and paradoxical in that it is a basic need, yet we are all wired for love differently. Research has shown that the happiness a person feels is in direct correlation to their most intimate relationships.

We all need tools and skills to manage the inevitable conflicts that arise in our romantic relationships. The research of relational science from marriage expert John Gottman has show there are 4 components that when experienced regularly in a couple lead to the demise of the relationship. He calls them the the 4 Horseman and they are explained below with their antidotes:

Blaming and shaming our partner feels like an emotional attack of rocket launchers – With a soft start-up tell your partner how you feel and explain what you are longing for.

This is when the communication is fueled with sarcasm, disgust and superiority – Work towards a culture of appreciation, empathy and compassion

Involves a habit of defending yourself at all cost – Don’t stay invested in blaming or I am right you’re wrong pattern

This is a shutting down of all verbal response – Learn ways to self soothe when one gets flooded or take a 20 minute break to de-escalate fights so that you can have a solution focused conversation.

Understanding these tools and utilizing them takes mindfulness. If you are interested in a more in depth view of how to manage relational conflict and create a secure, resilient couple bubble please look up some of these experts on relationships: John and Julie Gotten, Stan Tatkin and Sue Johnson and become a relationship master so you can avoid relationship disaster.