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Divorce is the Very Last Option, Keep it That Way



Divorce is the Very Last Option, Keep it That Way

Today we’ll be talking about the topic “Divorce is the Last Option, Keep it That Way”. I had a chat with a bossom friend whose also a lawyer and he mentioned that the divorce rate across the world was hitting an alarming high. After an hour or so on this topic, i mentioned that the figures he had were faulty as i believed there were relationships that had already hit the rocks but the parties involved were keeping it under tabs because they didn’t want externals in on the fact that their marriage was struggling. Asides from a few who get into a marriage knowing it won’t work, no one wants to be married for a minute. This always brings up the question. “Mr Temple, how will i know if my relationship is really over or if we are just going through a rough period in our marriage”.

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My answer is this, every marriage must be tested, it’s trust, communication, intimacy, the friendship of the couples involved etc. Many couples emerge from these storms happier while others simply don’t. The difference between those you emerge happier and those who don’t lies with the couples themselves & what sacrifices they are willing to make for wholeness in their relationship.

I’m a Life, marriage and family therapist who has also been married for 9 years & one thing i’ve found out after 4 years of speaking to over five hundred individuals is that “There is no perfect marriage”. You can’t live in “Marriage Eden” for years. Secondly i also found out that couples wait for things to get out of hand before seeking the advice of a psychotherapist or marriage counselor. The accumulated frustrations, pain and hurt that come with delays in getting help usually lead many to see DIVORCE as the only solution BUT i’m telling you this, It’s NOT the only choice. I have heard many couples tell me the reasons why they want a divorce and i’ve listed some of them out but these reasons do not have to be the end.


Divorce is the Very Last Option, Keep it That Way

A) I’m An Abuse Victim – Abuse within the confines of a relationship could be psychological, verbal, financial, emotional or physical. Regardless of what form of abuse you go through, none of these should be condoned. I usually advice abuse victims to separate themselves from their partner if there are children involved and the mother is the victim, politely request that the abusive partner gives you some time (from 1 week to a month in extreme cases). If this is not agreed to, feel free to involve the authorities because only a living human being can solve a marital issue. See details below.

Lagos -Domestic & Sexual Violence Response Team, Lagos, 08000333333,08137960048, Head Office DSVRT, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

Abuja- Project Alert, 08052004698,08180091072,, , 26 Bamenda Street off Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja.

B) I’m Tired of Trying – It’s a good thing if you have been trying to fix an issue in your marriage. The next natural question to ask yourself is this “Have i been doing the right things in trying to solve our marital problems?”. If you have also tried to consult an elderly family member, the religious leader of your local assembly, a marriage counselor etc. It’s even better. However, if you have continously tried to fix the same issues, change some patterns and it keeps coming up, does this mean it’s time for you to move on from the marriage?

My answer is No. Except in some rare cases, you cannot fix an 5-year problem in 8 days.I have seen couples come into a session hoping that after three sessions (150 minutes) with you, their problems of 5 years would disappear. Unfortunately, a marriage counselor is not a magician and i usually advice clients to work out the best long-term plans for their counseling needs as it usually works out cheaper for them in the long run. It takes a lot of repeated attempts for things to get sorted out. This is an effort that is worth it and couples who get through this are usually happier.

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C) We no Longer Connect Emotionally – i am yet to meet a couple who do not argue or worry about the intimacy level of their relationship. These are all signs that you and your partner are still conscious about making your relationship work. Not bothering about these actually signals that either one or both of the partners have given up on trying to make the marriage work.

To reconnect with a spouse, it’s usually important to bring back feelings that both of you have ignored over a period of apathy. The sad thing about emotions is that whatever emotion you do not consciously keep alive will die. Don’t give up on your family, your partner and yourself to put in every effort possible to rekindle the feelings. This could take time as i mentioned earlier but it is possible.

D) My Partner Doesn’t Respect Me – This is one line i hear everyday. Show me a relationship without respect and i will show you one whose lifespan may soon be over. If you have lost respect for a partner, how do you work towards healing your marriage. Respect is a fundamental part of every relationship on which any fix can be built upon.

However, i think it would be important to mention at this point that;

“Respect means different things to the male and female” Respect to a woman is deeply tied into feeling loved while for a man it’s tied into his spouses healthy belief in his judgement, ability and communication.

– Temple Obike

Now i have some good news for you if you are faced with this. When respect fades in a marriage, it’s usually not the entireity of the person you cease to respect but a component of who they are. My advice to you is to sit back and understand the aspect of your spouse which you lost respect for. On the flip side, find out what aspect of your personality which your spouse has lost respect for. If you can find this, we can solve this problem.

E) Mental Fatigue – “I’m just mentally tired of everything” is a phrase many couples who are under the strain are accustomed to. Every relationship MUST possess a semblance of balance if it’s to work. However if your relationship has gotten to a point where you are mentally tired of working on it, then that is a real bad place to be.

This is a point where you need to seek external assistance from a therapist or counselor because it simply means that the communication in your relationship has broken down irreparably. Even at this point, a marriage can still be salvaged.

Divorce is not a decision you need to make in a haste without exploring every possible solution for your marriage. This is because the moment you lower your threshold for solving issues within a relationship, you will always opt out of any relationship without actually trying your hardest to work it out. I have seen countless couples find their way back to a fuller, happier life because both or even one of them believed enough in what they had to fight for it.

I know you are the one in the middle of this crises and the one who currently feels the pinch but my input is this. “Just ensure that you are not making a hasty permanent decision on an issue that can be solved if your pride, sensibilities and will-power is fully engaged”. A perfect marriage is not built over-night so before you end yours, ensure you’ve done everything within your power to salvage it.

As always, i hope this piece on “Divorce is the Last Option, Keep it That Way” helped someone. If you are struggling with your relationship regardless of how long it’s been, it’s wort the fight only if you think so. Your crew, friends or anyone else may not see the importance of this fight but you know. Speak to a professional near you if you need to get an extra eye and opinion on the situation. There is no shame in this.

Written by Obike Temple

A Psychotherapist, counselor and entrepreneur who has counseled over three-hundred couples, individuals, substance abuse and grief-stricken clients. For more information on related issues and to schedule an appointment with “Temple’s Counsel” visit our counseling page, chat us up via our website or send a whatsapp message to +2348109055475.International Appointments are scheduled within 24 hours when clients make payments via this link here and then sending an email with the receipt of payment to Thanks to everyone who has supported what we do by giving and for everyone else who’d like to support us, please use this link here.

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Workplace Extramarital Office Affairs: How To End It maybe retain your job



Workplace extramarital office affairs are more rampant than we think. In a work environment, sharing accomplishments, risk and intensity can open up new levels of intimacy between colleagues. The long hours put in at the office in close proximity with that colleague does not help either. If these situations aren’t handled properly it could trigger the budding of a work-place affair.

Office Extramarital Affair Facts You Should Know…

After understudying workplace affairs for a period, a pattern began to emerge. Facts that I believe everyone currently involved in or romanticizing with the idea of kicking off an office affair should know.

  • 39% of workers had relationships in the office at least once
  • 35% have kept office affairs hidden and tried to sort it out even though they knew it affected their work
  • 24% are attracted to someone of the opposite sex who had similar jobs
  • Office Affairs were most common  in the following sectors: Banking & Finance, Hospitality & Leisure, Information Technology, Healthcare, Media/Entertainment and Business Service

Only about 17% of these affairs end in marriage. The other 83% ends in personal, marital and professional problems with far reaching consequences that would be discussed in the real world by ex-colleagues many years later (when they see you). The decision to either continue with or end an extramarital office affair is something I totally leave up to you. However this article is for the latter group. The hardest part about having a workplace affair is seeing each other after you have decided to end things with an affair partner. However its not a totally lost cause because there are basic steps you could take to begin correcting this mess.

After being blessed enough to sit with individuals going through the issues associated with an office affair, i am going to give you the quickest way to end an office affair and MAYBE still get to keep your job.

Cut Down The Time Spent Together

You need to start creating some distance between yourself and this affair partner. What you will achieve with this is to gradually bring back the correct work ambience you both enjoyed before the fall (sorry, before the affair began). This is the point you need to start bringing food to the office so you don’t need to go to lunch together. When a task has been completed take your belongings and leave. When you end things quick, that is what is considered a real ending. These measures help you quickly bury the relationship. You know everywhere both of you used to bump into each other? the backroom, the cafeteria please avoid all those places when you know they would be there.

Do not expect that these evasion tact’s of yours would be welcome with an understanding nod. Harassment or blackmail might become something they resort to in a bid to get back at you for stopping something made in heaven and breaking their already broken heart. Your job at this point is to quietly gather all the messages, record conversations, take screenshots and then taking it to the company’s HR department. At this point, if your ex-affair partner is a drama king/queen who does not mind losing their job as long as they take you down with them, you have to make a quick decision to either get a new job or get transferred to another department/team. If their job is still important to them then you have to let them understand that your lawyer already has the fact file gathered and one other bleep from them would have you filing a harassment lawsuit.


Do Not Beat Around The Subject

Now you have done a good job at avoiding them but somehow they managed to corner you and want an explanation to what is happening. Directly tell them you are done. Do not say it in a way that makes them believe there is still hope of rekindling things with you. Inform them you want to work on your marriage and clearly state that you do not want them contacting you. This saves you loads of texts, chats, emails or phone calls on the subject. At this point, if your spouse has found out about this affair a well written break-up letter will help them stay in the loop on how things are going and shows your seriousness towards ending the affair.

Do not Allow Them Contact You Again (discard every memorabilia)

When you are having an affair Adrenaline and serotonin are two basic hormones pumping through your veins. One takes care of the pleasure and the other handles the edgy feel. This is somewhat similar to what keeps an addict constantly in a loop. This is the point you must inform your spouse that they tried to initiate contact. Having an accountability partner works at this point. If your spouse is not aware simply get a professional therapist bound by client confidentiality agreements to help you navigate this period. This is the point you limit contact via phone, personal email, social networks or otherwise, and also blocking future messages. If they got you anything burn it or give it away. This steps will help you break the urge to want to go back.


Sort Out What’s Missing in Your Marriage

Now that you have been able to cut yourself off and maintain the discipline to sustain those decisions of yours, this is the time to work on your marriage with your spouse. My workbook on Affair recovery could help at this point because the thing your partner wants to know is not “How sorry you are”. They first want you to answer the question why. The time for apologies will come but its not the main thing. Communication must be worked on reflections around what you did wrong must happen. Then seek out a professional marriage therapist around you to assist the both of you at this point. If your partner on the other hand is not aware of the affair , then you have to make the big decision of informing your partner about what you did or not. If you finally decide not to tell your partner you have to be sure the reasons behind that decision is properly vetted because if it isn’t that could become the springboard for another affair.

Research has shown that when you confess to having had an affair a third of many relationships survive infidelity but when you have been caught it’s usually harder rebuilding trust and getting to the point of forgiveness.

To anyone out there struggling with similar issues my general advice is always this. If you feel an attraction to someone in your office, consider a transfer to a different department, a different position, or maybe you should quit. No job is more valuable than your marriage. Being honest with yourself is the first starting point. If you’re dressing real nice to catch the attention of a co-worker, you better stop before you lose it totally. Hanging around the office common areas hoping to bump into that person does not help either. Not only is it cheap especially if its just a fling for the other person its just downright wrong. If your spouse was there you would definitely not be doing all of that. That is your first boundary. Secondly if there are issues with you and your spouse and maybe you feel a bit justified doing what you’re doing, then use a spiritual boundary, If God was in front of you, would you be doing this? If this does not stop you either then my brother, my sister i drop my case. Whatever you have to hide or lie about, don’t do it at all.

This may not have been the most exciting of articles especially if you are caught up in a situation-ship as they call it at you workplace. However i just told you everything you need to help you navigate this affair and come out clean without losing your job or your home. If you’d like to let us know how this went for you, feel free to contact us via email.

Written by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 70,000 in-counseling minutes (1,000+ hours) accrued in practice.
He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services. His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials.  
Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores. Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit our website for more info!

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9 Strong Confirmations You’re Having an Emotional Affair — And What to Do About It



Let us put on our imaginative hats on for 2 minutes. You are casually scrolling through Instagram and there’s this guy who you’ve been digging their pics and commenting on everything they say. If you were not in a serious relationship he could have been the perfect one for you. However you noticed that not only can you drool over his pictures he is responding to your comments and seems even emotionally invested. You even found out he stays in the same city as you do and belongs to a local gym just a few blocks from your house.

“This is a great time to get fit” you think out loud and then register in the same gym. you even begin to work out around the same time he visits the gym all in a bid to be near him. He notices you and both of you become work-out buddies and exchange phone numbers so you can discuss the best diets to back-up your work-out’s with. Suddenly it hits you again that both of you are so in sync with each other and if you were not in a committed relationship he would have been a perfect choice in all regards. You have now confirmed that he’s definitely emotionally invested in you and this sends ticklish flashes throughout your entire body.

At this point you are fine with all of the feelings, chatting, trust and new-found closeness you enjoy with this person. Everything is under control after all both of you aren’t having sex. I understand that there are exceptions to all these rules but I can tell you for free that you have begun an affair. A point your partner and therapist might align on. You still are not sure right? Well I’ll help you clarify this by giving you clear signals that could help you tell yourself the unhinged truth.


1.Putting Yourself in High-risk Situations With Them

The moment you begin to put yourself in situations where you’re trying to be alone with someone of the opposite sex who isn’t your partner. It’s considered high-risk. Getting drinks, going on long drives or simply making out exclusive phone conversation time for them should be your first sign that you are having an affair. Social media, whatsapp etc. has made it much easier for individuals to connect with their exes triggering intimacy in a flash for the undisciplined emotion. I chose the word ”Undisciplined Emotion” because Mark Zuckerberg did not ask you to send that message or respond to the one that was sent to you. You decided because you wanted to. So impulsive and reckless men and women have sunk their marriages themselves.

2. The ”How About Your Partner” Dilemma

The moment you cannot answer this question freely with this new person in your life, then you are really in trouble. Many individuals have told me how their affairs begun from them trying to help a friend navigate turbulent emotional times in their life. They simply asked ‘How about your wife/husband?” and things just went too fast from that point. They were in too deep before they could realize something had gone wrong.

For you making the moves, If you begin to talk to your new crush about your main relationship that is a serious no-no. Secondly if you begin to tell this person how your partner pees on the toilet without raising the toilet seat or inform them on how not-so-caring he is then you are almost full circle into the affair. Any conversation with this person that leaves you emotionally vulnerable is an invitation to have them fill up some emotional space. However, do not think that talking business with them either is safe, especially if you know deep down that you like this person. All you may be trying to do is keep them around you by any means necessary. It’s one thing to say these things to this new person in your life about your partner but my ultimate litmus test is this.


Telling this new person about a lack between yourself and your partner that you haven’t even spoken to your partner about is treachery. A sell-out.

3. You’re Hiding and Lying About YOUR ACTIVITIES

Going to hang out with your female best friend is one thing but lying about it simply means you felt some measure of guilt. Anything that makes you lie to your spouse or hide certain activities from them is a red flag.

Please do not tell me you are protecting your spouse and saving their insecure soul the torture of suspicion because now you will be lying to me as well. If your partner is insecure validate them and not further re-in force it. Even extremely insecure people can be helped.

If you find yourself waiting to leave the house to communicate, deleting chats, refusing to tell your partner about them or just feeling conflicted about the whole situation then you are most likely having an affair. One of the toughest things I struggled with at the onset of my career 12 years ago was learning to allow people their full session of ‘Falsification’ without interrupting. Clients most times know they are having affairs but yet deny it themselves even after being caught or confronted by a partner. If it’s a friendly outing then your partner needs to know.

4. You Suddenly Feel ‘DESIRED’ and ‘POWERFUL’

When you begin to contemplate an affair while married it simply means that your relationship has gone sour. If there was ever a thing as the benefits of having an affair, I would list the opportunity to sincerely fix your relationship with your spouse or an opportunity to love again. When you do not build your relationship it dies. An affair has such a powerful pull because it makes you feel both desirable and powerful all at once. The two things you lose when your relationship settles into a comfortable crawl.  Rather than work towards correcting this, many individuals would rather seek thrills outside of their marriage or relationship.


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5. You Start Avoiding REAL Intimacy With your Partner

When you start having an emotional affair, one of the things you lose is the intimate connection you once had with your partner. No deep conversations, moments or emotions are shared anymore.  Most times the affair becomes the real avoidance mechanism for shying away from intimacy with a partner. At this point a partner cannot have deep conversations or share their feelings with you but rather would discuss it with an outsider just to maintain that distance between you and them. At this time, it would also be important to note this. especially with the up rise in the number of men and women attracted to married folk or people in committed relationships.

An attraction to a married person or someone in a committed relationship over 82% of the time points towards feeling unworthy and undeserving of a complete loving relationship that includes a give and take – both emotionally and physically.

6. The state of complete Obsession

Like a high-school kid in love, this person takes over your thoughts. Your routine and schedule now gets tinkered with to accommodate this person. Feelings begin to intensify and deepen at this stage. When you do not receive their messages you become very anxious regardless of who is watching. You start to take out your aggression on your partner, kids or anyone else who you consciously or unconsciously perceive to be a deterrent towards making this new relationship a lot more convenient for you.


This is the point where things begin to get dangerous because they have finally gained full control of your mental space. This means that at this point, they can be right there in the bedroom with you and your spouse even if not physically. At this point clients begin to build up libido with mental images of this person. After all, the aim is to satisfy your spouse RIGHT? Your sex life with you and your partner suddenly seems boring because there is a secret craving to sleep with this other person rather than your partner. Now the real problems begin.

7. The COMPLAINTS stage

All of a sudden you will come to realize that your spouse is not meeting up to most of your expectations. In fact you are really disappointed with them. Rather than reaching out to your former support structures of friends, siblings, in-laws etc. You would rather call on this one person who understands you more than everybody else in the world right now.

If you happen to be at this stage currently in your marriage or relationship, it’s the perfect time to seek out other healthy support systems you may require asides from your spouse. You could register for an online class, join a book club, schedule hang-out sessions with friends or simply connect via call with your family a lot more. This could help you not rely on your partners attention or lack of it.

8. Now you are LYING about the other person

It’s already bad enough that you are hiding a potential emotional affair from your spouse but having to lie about it is another level of deceit. Lying to someone who is supposed to rely on you 100 percent is your first step towards actual physical infidelity. The only two ways to stop this is by either speaking to your spouse about your struggle or simply speaking to someone else who you and your spouse trusts, holds in high esteem and relies upon.

The general idea is to become accountable and improve on your marriage again.

9. Requiring Support and Celebrating Successes with the other person

At this point it’s important to take note of who you run to when amazing things happen to you. Once this person isn’t your spouse,  then you might have a much bigger problem on your hands than anticipated at the beginning of this article.  Couples in healthy marriages turn to each other to celebrate happy times and also get support during bleak times. ONCE YOU ARE NOT RELYING ON YOUR PARTNER FOR THIS,  you may have just replaced them emotionallyIf this is the current state of affairs in your marriage then it’s time to work on your marriage and a good place to start is by asking your spouse for support. If they struggle with this, then it’s time to talk about it and get help from a professional near you.




Firstly, if you still do not think you are having an emotional affair and none of the points I mentioned resonate, then its a good time to go do something else and wait for my next article. However, if you know you were definitely having an emotional affair and have no plans of breaking up with your partner then you have taken the first step which is admitting that you were having an affair.

I wish I could tell you to go back to your crush and request that both of you remain business partners or friends. Unfortunately my usual advice is that you completely cut off ties with them. Most professionals are still divided on IF you should tell your partner that you had been embroiled in an emotional affair especially if there was no physical intimacy. I believe that this is the true test of honesty and friendship between partners and should be discussed. Other therapists may advice that you keep it under wraps and save your partner the emotional torture since nothing happened and all has been handled with ties cut.

My opinion is that the best marriages are the ones where both partners are mature and vulnerable enough to clean out their closets, communicate healthily and rebuild trust after it has been shaken. Whatever you try to hide, OWNS YOU. – Temple Obike

Couples therapy could help you and your partner rebuild intimacy and connect on a much deeper level than before. i would love to leave you with one piece of information. Your partner will NEVER be the most attractive person in every room or place and as long as you are constantly searching for a distraction, you will always find one. If you constantly find yourself in situations where you are looking, the real solution is to opt in for therapy and find out WHY you are doing this after which you can then understand how to stop.

This is a good place to end today’s piece and don’t forget that an emotional affair nipped at the bud is an opportunity to strengthen a union and make it better.

Written by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 70,000 in-counseling minutes (1,000+ hours) accrued in practice. He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services. His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials.  Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores. Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit our website for more info!

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I Caught My Partner Cheating : 4 Powerful Walk Through Guides



I Caught My Partner Cheating : A Walk Through Guide is an article many require to help them navigate murky relationship waters. It isn’t strange to receive those random messages from individuals torn apart by the fact that their partner was cheating. They just caught their partner right at this very moment cheating. WHAT DO I DO NEXT? As a case study, we will use one that was really touching because it was enough to lose hope in humanity.


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4 Powerful Ways to Stop The Four Horsemen That Predicts Divorce



Today I will be discussing the four horsemen which predicts divorce in a marriage. Its raining woofs and meows this awesome Sunday morning and it looks like a quiet indoor worship day for myself and the family. For some strange reason, i remembered Sunday school and how I looked forward to reciting bible verses memorized from the week before and then getting new ones to memorize.

I’m sure it’s obvious by now that I’m a christian (something many colleagues have warned me to stay away from if i wanted a practice that would not be termed a “christian therapy center”). C’mmon, really? Anyone who would not have a session with me based on my faith must really need to get themselves checked (especially if i didn’t ask that we pray first before commencing).
Back to my story. The book of revelations will always be one of my favorites owing to it’s post-apocalyptic horror themed outline. It’s like a prophecy movie detailed to the dots and tittles. One of the scariest prophecies ever written about human-kind (which has begun anyways) is on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
4 Powerful Ways to Stop The Four Horsemen That Predicts Divorce

The four horsemen of the apocalypse

A concept Dr. John Gottman used in analyzing what happens in a marriage first before it ends. This metaphor depicted the end of times in the Book of Revelations (last book of the New Testament and the bible in general). The four horsemen were conquest (white horse), wars (red horse), famine (black horse), and death (pale horse) respectively.
4 Powerful Ways to Stop The Four Horsemen That Predicts Divorce

Dr Gottman, PHD,  Statistics.

Meet the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Marriages?

After putting in  over 40 years of research, Dr. John Gottman, Ph.D. showed that there were certain patterns that once introduced in a marriage could prove destructive to love and at the end destroy the love in the marriage. Research shows that these four interactions; criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt are very damaging to a marriage. When you learn to identify these horsemen in a marriage, you must be able to immediately help couples turn them around. Let’s quickly delve into the notorious four horsemen.


First Horseman – Criticism

I believe that a marriage that does not have conflicts is a marriage that may not grow. The same way tough times make us aspire for more and become better as individuals, conflict in marriages make us communicate with our partner and build better marriages. Criticism happens when you constantly blame your partner and makes them feel like something is fundamentally wrong with them.

If you discover that you or your partner constantly puts each other down by pointing out flaws, this horseman is already present in your marriage.

When you criticize someone its about them, when you complain, it’s usually about the topic or behavior. I’ll give you a really quick example.


You get to the kitchen after a hard day of cleaning and scrubbing only to discover that your partner had used the sink and didn’t clean it.

CRITICISM: What is wrong with you? Can’t you just learn for once and do the needful. Its so simple, clean up after washing.


COMPLAINT: Please lets clean up after using the sink like i’ve always said. It attracts ants if not cleaned.


Second Horseman – Defensiveness

It is human to defend yourself when under you feel criticized. The attack could be physical, emotional or mental but regardless of the kind, you will defend yourself when attacked. It’s important to know that there are times we need to draw a fine line between “feeling criticized”‘ and actually “being criticized” . This is hugely dependent on how your partner has been handling related issues or how much you personalize what is being said to you. When defending yourself from a perceived attack, you either retaliate with a counter-attack or simple adopt a victim stance.

If you truly want to excel in marriage, Never be the one who denies all charges. Accept what is true and change what can be changed in the moment.

Using our first scenario about the kitchen sink, This is what a defensive stance looks like

Defensive Stance: I have not even washed anything today, Why are you accusing me of pouring water all over the sink if i haven’t even been there?

Healthy Stance: Oh shoot! i know you keep asking me to clean up, Thing is i haven’t been in there today. I’ll clean up when next i use. Thanks for the heads up.


When you truly accept some responsibility for whatever must have happened, you exterminate Defensiveness. This way you are looking for something you agree with and not what you can bite on to. I see couples who due to defensiveness trigger their partners who react so badly that things get out of hand quickly.

Lastly, there is such a thing as understandable defensiveness when you are just being attacked by a partner for simply breathing in oxygen. Now you have to hold your breath around them to a point where you feel like it’s all not worth it.


 Third Horseman: Stonewalling

Now, this is where things really get serious because from this stage, you decide to shut out your partner even if the both of you are in the same room. If they cannot take care of my emotional, mental or physical well-being, i might as well shut them out. At this point, the tell-tale signs begin to creep in.

The Signs;

A) Defiance Stance: When you notice that you’d rather be doing something else while your partner is talking to you, then you are definitely stonewalling them.

B) Little or No Eye-contact: In sessions, i see couples who cannot maintain eye contact. This is such a telling sign that a lot of damage has been done. At a recent event where i had the opportunity to speak to over 300 couples i played a little game where i asked couples to maintain eye contact for 10 seconds without making funny faces, saying anything, laughing or doing anything to take away from the seriousness of the moment. by a show of hands, It was obvious that only about 20% of the couples could complete this successfuly. The reason i understand is very simple.


Whoever told you the eyes were the windows to the soul was absolutely correct because if you looked closely into your partners eyes, you would see everything you have deposited in there staring back at you. – Temple Obike

C) Passive Aggressive Behavior: When you start making faces or just making gestures that show you are not really listening to what a partner is saying or doing.

When you stonewall you think its because you are so cool and not allowing things get to you but i hate to be the one who breaks this to you.

Stonewalling happens when you are internally overwhelmed with everything that is happening in your marriage or relationship. You get anxious easily, you experience palpitations and sometimes if not handled swiftly, you could become depressed. Sorry.  – Temple Obike

For the stone-waller and the stone-walled (like the sound of this)

The moment you see yourself stonewalling your partner, you have given them reason to start fighting harder and trying even harder to be seen and heard. They will escalate whatever conflict you have with them because they feel you must not ignore them.

For the partner who has been constantly criticized and pushed to a point of overt defensiveness, their silence means they are reflecting on everything that has been said and if they have a vindictive bone in them, are most likely thinking of ninety-nine reasons they shouldn’t be letting your negative energy seep through them anymore.

Well, both parties are wrong and MUST re-engage conversations by calming down and conversing again. 85% of the time,, men do most of the stonewalling because 99.9% of the time women do the talking. Guys, one of the things you must first of all identify in therapy is why you stone wall your spouse and then you learn how to calm down. Ladies, for you it’s very important that you understand how your behavior negatively affects your partner thereby making him look disinterested. When the both of you learn to break these patterns, you will become immune.

Then it’s time to re-engage in conversation. It’s helpful also for the woman to understand that her behavior actually greatly impacts her partner, and he’s managing that impact by looking “disinterested.”

Fourth Horseman: Contempt

The final Horseman is contempt. Contempt is a thing that is born in marriages where resentment, toxicity, a lack of communication and more have been allowed to fester. Contempt always happens when the relationship has fully broken down. The moment you and your partner resort to threats, insulting each other, using derogatory terms on each other then you are here.


These traits mentioned are all a form of emotional abuse and they kill love. The state of being contemptuous is by itself an act that seeks to bring down, ridicule or make a partner look bad in an attempt to look better.

In many families before providing them with the required help, I noticed that the husband’s most times were willing to with-hold help from a wife in need just to make her firstly get hurt and then learn from that mistake.

The moment contempt has you in it’s clutch, you suddenly becomes a man or woman who always looks for negative things about your partner. When you do find this, you deliver the report to your partner with such intensity that’s geared to cause emotional and psychological damage. In extreme cases, research has linked contempt to the prevalence of certain infectious illnesses in the life of the person receiving this. This usually shows up in childhood and if not carefully handled can take over in adulthood with or without the presence of a toxic relationship.

The non-verbal ways of identifying contempt is with passive aggressiveness such as eye-rolling, or mimicry.

Killing Contempt

The quickest way to kill this demon is by becoming appreciative of your partner  Yes I called it that “a demon” and it has nothing to do with my Sunday mood. A state of mind that makes you want to literally see someone else get hurt is not purely a human action.

To fully eradicate contempt from your marriage is a long-term process but the very first thing you can do is to begin to talk about issues from your own perspective. Shed light on your feelings, anguish, desires and frustrations.

To fight the four horsemen, an attitudinal shift is required. See your partner in the light of the positive qualities they possess. Appreciate them when you see them doing good things.
For the Therapist

Lastly, for the therapist dealing with couple’s who come in for proper marriage counseling, the first exploratory session may be given to de-escalating and unpacking all the negatives but moving forward, real therapists take control of the room and quench the negative energy. From that moment onwards, it is now time to talk about your feelings and not about what is wrong with your partner. For couples who may be attempting to do this by themselves from home, this is my advice to you as well. Sit down as a couple and resist the urge to talk about your partner’s fault. Talk about your feelings for once as your partner listens and vice versa. This is how true change and positive energy gets introduced into your marriage.

If you and your partner are currently battling any of the mentioned issues, it would be a great time to begin using the proven tips i mentioned in the write-up or give us a call to begin marriage recovery therapy. You can have it online or come in for an exploratory session with any of our professional therapists.
Written by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 70,000 in-counseling minutes (1,000+ hours) accrued in practice. He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services.
His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials.  Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores.Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations.Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit our website for more info!


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