In the book, “Blink”, Malcolm Gladwell tells about a study that began at the University of Washington on marriages. Among other things, the study discovered indicators that were near certain to show if a marriage was disintegrating to the point of danger. The single most important indicator was contempt.
What is contempt? It is the action of regarding someone as inferior, base, or worthless. It moves past someone’s actions and attaches a lack value to their person. My wife might say, “Honey, that purple shirt does not match those green pants.” She has kindly and appropriately helped be avoid an embarrassing faux pas. A marriage filled with contempt would respond to the same snafu differently. “You are such a moron that you can’t even dress yourself.”
The study shows that when a marriage reaches a place where one or both partners look at each other with contempt is has reached a slow but certain tailspin and eventually the seething will erupt and, almost without exception, the marriage ends. In fact, a solid 85% of these marriages ended in divorce.
The only way to solve it is to heal the contempt.
Most people will not do the hard work that is required to heal the contempt.