Risk of Divorce Increases 81% When Husbands Refuse To Do This One Thing

The high divorce rates in American society have made many people feel bleak about the prospect of marriage. Much of the red pill manosphere has even claimed that marriage is completely pointless for men because it only ends in destruction and loss. They cite the statistic that women are the ones who are more likely to file for divorce.

By Gina Florio4 min read
Pexels/Jonathan Borba

Red pillers often argue that contemporary legal and social systems are unfairly biased against men, particularly in the realms of marriage and family law. They contend that this bias manifests in a variety of ways, from alimony and child support laws that they perceive as punitive to men to what they see as a societal (and unfair) predisposition to favor mothers in custody battles.

Central to the red pill ideology is the belief that men are disadvantaged by a societal shift toward egalitarian marriage, which they argue undermines traditional gender roles that they view as natural and beneficial for both men and women. They often discuss the concept of hypergamy, a theory suggesting that women are inherently programmed to seek out partners of higher status. This concept is used to justify their claim that women are more likely to initiate divorce as a strategy to improve their social and financial standing, leaving men financially and emotionally devastated.

The discourse within the manosphere also frequently includes skepticism about the institution of marriage itself, which they argue exposes men to considerable risk without commensurate benefits. This perspective leads many within the movement to advocate for men to avoid marriage altogether, a stance known as "Men Going Their Own Way" (MGTOW). Proponents of MGTOW argue for male self-preservation through disengagement from traditional romantic relationships and marriage, which they view as fraught with legal and financial hazards.

Research Finds Men Are Responsible for More Divorces Than They Like To Admit

Renowned psychologist Dr. John Gottman has conducted some of the most compelling research in the field of marital stability, boasting an impressive ability to predict divorce outcomes with a 93.6% accuracy rate. However, one of his most astonishing discoveries revolves around the pivotal role husbands play in the health of their marriages.

Through his extensive studies, Gottman observed that a significant portion of American husbands, about 65%, fail to "accept influence" from their wives, a behavior that encompasses dismissing their spouses' opinions, emotions, and concerns. Such actions often manifest as ignoring, criticizing, or minimizing their wives' input and even accusing them of being overly sensitive. This disregard not only leads to feelings of disrespect and devaluation among wives but also serves as a primary catalyst for marital discord.

Marriages are at an 81% risk of collapse or enduring unhappiness when husbands refuse to share power with their wives.

Gottman's research underscores a stark reality: Marriages are at an 81% risk of collapse or enduring unhappiness when husbands refuse to share power with their wives. Despite the grim statistics, Gottman's intention is not to admonish men but to enlighten them and help them better understand the dynamics of their marriage. Many men might unwittingly resist their wives' influence, adhering to a limited and outdated understanding of masculinity ingrained in them since youth. These men, often with good intentions, find themselves perplexed as their marriages deteriorate.

And when the marriage does deteriorate, the fact that women file for divorce doesn’t necessarily mean that the wife is the only one who wants the divorce. In most married households across America, wives are the ones who make the financial decisions, track the bills, know everyone’s social security numbers, and take care of the paperwork. Naturally, this person is much more likely to be the one who initiates the paperwork for divorce. 

The essence of Gottman's work is to empower men with the realization of the significant impact they have on their marriage's wellbeing. By becoming aware of their behavior and its effects, men possess the "very powerful lever" needed to transform their approach and foster a healthier, more stable marital relationship. This insight not only challenges traditional notions of masculinity but also offers a pathway to marital harmony and mutual respect.

Responding to Your Spouse’s Bids

In the intricate dance of relationships, the small gestures often hold the most weight. Gottman delves into this concept by identifying these gestures as "bids," small yet significant actions through which spouses express their need for attention, affection, and support. Gottman's extensive research highlights a simple yet profound truth: The acceptance or rejection of these bids is a powerful predictor of a relationship's longevity. Couples who actively engage in and respond to each other's bids tend to forge stronger, more enduring connections.

The essence of these bids transcends the actions themselves, which can vary greatly in form and significance from one individual to another. For some, receiving a hug before going to work in the morning embodies a gesture of love and connection; for others, it may hold little value. The critical factor lies not in the specific bid but in the underlying message it conveys. When one spouse communicates what makes them feel loved and the other chooses to ignore it, especially when it involves something as simple as a hug, it sends a clear signal of indifference.

This rejection, particularly over seemingly minor requests, raises questions about your commitment to nurturing the relationship. It's not about the action itself but about what it represents: an opportunity to make your spouse feel valued and loved with minimal effort. Ignoring such opportunities can lead to feelings of neglect and undervaluation, sowing the seeds of discontent and, ultimately, separation.

Furthermore, Gottman's insights shed light on a broader societal misconception that regards such bids as trivial or unreasonable. This perspective often correlates with a lack of interest in sustaining long-term relationships and a misunderstanding of the fundamental dynamics that underpin them. The truth is acknowledging and responding to these bids is a critical component of a loving relationship. It signifies a spouse’s willingness to invest in the relationship's happiness and stability.

Interestingly, Gottman's findings also touch upon gender dynamics within relationships. Men, in particular, are often portrayed as being less in tune with their spouse’s emotional needs. However, the ability – or lack thereof – to respond to bids for affection doesn’t stem from a lack of desire but rather from varying levels of emotional intelligence and commitment. Relationships where men actively participate in and fulfill these bids are often marked by deeper emotional connections and satisfaction.

Bids are not about the action itself but about what they represent: an opportunity to make your spouse feel valued and loved with minimal effort.

Gottman's research ultimately serves as a reminder of the power of small gestures in strengthening bonds. It emphasizes the importance of mutual understanding, respect, and effort in nurturing a healthy relationship. Couples who master the art of bid exchange enjoy a more fulfilling partnership, underscoring the fact that in love, sometimes, it's the little things that count the most.

Lastly, it's worth noting that while the concept of bids can be misinterpreted as manipulative or insincere by some, the majority of these gestures are genuine expressions of love and desire for connection. Recognizing and responding to these bids is not about navigating a minefield of psychological tests but about understanding and appreciating the nuances of your spouse. In doing so, individuals can avoid the pitfalls of miscommunication and neglect, fostering a marriage built on mutual respect, understanding, and love – a marriage that never ends. 

Other Conflict Behaviors That Damage Marriages

In The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Gottman delves into six key predictors of divorce, rooted in an analysis of 130 newlywed couples observed in the "Love Lab" at the University of Washington. These couples were asked to discuss unresolved issues in their relationship for 15 minutes while being monitored for stress through various physiological measurements.

One significant discovery was the impact of a "harsh startup" to a conversation, characterized by criticism or sarcasm, which almost always leads to a negative outcome. Remarkably, the first three minutes of interaction can predict the direction of the entire discussion with a 96% accuracy rate.

Another critical aspect is the "Four Horsemen" of negativity: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. These factors, if not managed, can devastate a marriage, often appearing in this sequential order. “Flooding," or the overwhelming rush of negativity from one spouse, can leave the other feeling shell-shocked, making constructive communication nearly impossible.

Physical reactions during conflicts, such as accelerated heart rate and hormonal shifts, highlight the bodily stress of such interactions, further complicating resolution efforts. The success or failure of "repair attempts," or efforts to deescalate tension, serves as a telling indicator of a relationship's health and future. Lastly, the way couples reminisce about their relationship's history – whether with fondness or resentment – provides profound insights into their marital satisfaction and resilience through challenges.

By focusing on these key areas – harsh startups, the Four Horsemen, flooding, bodily stress, repair attempts, and the narrative of the relationship – couples can gain valuable tools for strengthening their marriage or averting its decline.

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