Tapestry of Faith: Principled Commitment: An Adult Program on Building Strong Relationships

Activity 4: Communication Pitfalls

Activity time: 45 minutes

Materials for Activity

Newsprint sheet with prepared list (see Preparation)

  • Easel

Preparation for Activity

  • Study Leader Resource 3, Gottman and the Four Horsemen, so that you can present the material to participants in your own words.
  • Create a newsprint sheet listing the names of Gottman's "four horsemen": Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling.

Description of Activity

Present the material from Leader Resource 3, Gottman and the Four Horsemen. During your presentation, display the newsprint you have prepared with the "four horsemen" listed.

Invite participants to discuss these concepts:

  • Have you seen these behaviors at play in relationships you are familiar with? If so, what was their effect?
  • What makes these behaviors hard to respond to?
  • How can these behaviors be related to partner abuse, both emotional and physical?
  • How might a healthy Unitarian Universalist humility serve as an antidote to these behaviors?
  • What healthy practices have helped you deal with conflict in your own relationships?