Results of a 14 year study of 79 couples living in the USA has provided some insights into 4 usual predictors of divorce. When the psychologists added questions about things like relationship satisfaction and how many times the research subjects had thoughts about separating to the mix, they could predict which marriages would end in divorce 93% of the time.
The figure was so striking it spurred the researchers to label the four behaviours "the four horsemen of the apocalypse."
While that initial study, published in 2002, was small and focused on a specific population, a decade of research into marriage and divorce has lent further support to the idea that divorce is associated with specific negative behaviours. One recent study of 373 newlywed couples, for example, found that couples who yelled at each other, showed contempt for each other, or shut off conversation about an issue within the first year of marriage were more likely to divorce as far as 16 years down the road. So what do these four "apocalyptic" behaviours actually look like in a relationship?