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'The Four Horsemen': Why Marriages Fail

The second installment of the Day to Day series on marriage education examines the 20 years of research providing the intellectual underpinning of a federally-backed marriage education curriculum.

Psychologists have identified four key problems that lead to divorce: criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling. And the worst of these? Contempt for a partner. But identifying the root cause of a problem in a marriage is only half the battle.

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Alix Spiegel has worked on NPR's Science Desk for 10 years covering psychology and human behavior, and has reported on everything from what it's like to kill another person, to the psychology behind our use of function words like "and", "I", and "so." She began her career in 1995 as one of the founding producers of the public radio program This American Life. While there, Spiegel produced her first psychology story, which ultimately led to her focus on human behavior. It was a piece called 81 Words, and it examined the history behind the removal of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
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