I love you but my words hurt you: 4 signs that predict divorce.

I love you but my words hurt you: 4 signs that predict divorce.

Have you ever wondered what makes a healthy romantic relationship? 

Everyone wants to have a healthy and a romantic relationship, however, the reality seems to be always different from what we are told in fairy tales. How come? Do healthy romantic relationships only happen in fairy tales?

In Malaysia, it was reported that there are actually more divorce cases and fewer marriages recorded in 2019. It was also reported that the number of divorce cases has drastically increased over the years. In 2020, since the start of the pandemic, Malaysia has recorded almost 78,000 divorced couples.

I’m sure no one goes into a relationship with divorce as their end goal. But why do couples end up divorcing?

Most of the time, divorce were derived mainly from arguments and conflicts. To be frank, conflicts are one of the unavoidable parts in a relationship, it exists in any forms of relationships, especially in romantic relationships. However, having conflicts does not necessarily mean an unhealthy relationship. It is the way in which you perceive and handle the conflicts that will determine whether your relationship is healthy or unhealthy. 

Most people try to avoid conflicts in their relationships. Some tend to ignore or deny the issue whenever there is a rise of disagreements. This behaviour happens due to the fact that many view conflicts as a sign of an unhealthy relationship. But that was not the case at all! 

In recent studies, researchers have found that, surprisingly, conflicts can actually be a healthy element in a romantic relationship. To be exact, it is a necessary part of a healthy relationship. 

Conflicts create an opportunity for couples to better understand each other’s perspectives, thoughts and opinions. It creates a platform for couples to grow when the conflicts are handled in a constructive manner. When conflicts are handled in a destructive manner, it would bring much harm to a relationship.

According to John Gottman, there are four types of communication styles which would cause harm to a relationship: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling. The presence of these communication styles in a relationship can predict the likelihood of divorce in a married couple (the prediction is as accurate as 90 percent). Let’s dive in deeper to understand each of them:

[#1 Criticism]

Instead of: “You are very lazy! You never help me with house chores”.
Try this: “I need your help with the house chores”.

It is always a healthier approach when we give our partner the opportunity to realize and change their behaviour instead of blaming and labelling our partner with harsh statements.  

[#2 Contempt]

Instead of: “Why can’t you finish simple tasks like this? You always leave stains every time you wash the dishes! Are you stupid? The kids can do it better than you”.
Try this: “I appreciate your help in washing the dishes. Next time maybe you can put in more soap when you wash the dishes, to make sure there are no stains”. 

Sarcastic statements can be really hurtful towards your partner and it might lead to feelings of resentment. It will not be healthy in the long run. Learning how to acknowledge and appreciate your partner’s efforts is very important even if they did not do things our way. This is the healthy approach rather than twisting the statement and trying to mock your partner. 

[#3 Defensiveness]

One of the partners: “Have you forgotten to pick up the children from school?”

Instead of answering with: “Why do you always ask me to pick up the children after school? Why don’t you go and pick them up yourself?”
Try this: “Oh my, so sorry I’m late from work. I am picking them up in a short while. Thank you for checking with me”.

It is very natural that we try to defend ourselves when we feel that we are being attacked by our partner. But, we shouldn’t jump right into conclusions based on what we’ve heard, as our partner may not mean things in that way. 

[#4 Stonewalling]

When conflicts arise….

Instead of: {Shut down yourself, keep silent and avoid solving the problems.}
Try this: {Addressing the problems and willingly bringing them out to discuss.} 

Learning to address the issues with your partner is a good step towards solving the problems. Even if the problems are unable to be solved, as long as the couples are willing to communicate and discuss the issues together, it would definitely be a good sign towards a healthy relationship. 


At the end of the day, both partners are responsible if they want to create a healthy relationship. We must not put the blame on our partner and expect things to get better. Both have to put in effort and time to make things right. Healthy romantic relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience, and acceptance.

To all the married couples out there: “A great and healthy romantic relationship is not when the perfect couple comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”

Thank you for reading this article.

I’m Yee Von, MY Psychology’s intern,

With you, MY Psychology.