There are four predictors of divorce described in the New Testament. According to John Gottman, a famous therapist of couples, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse represents each attitude to destroy a mutual relationship: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling.
PREDICTING DIVORCE – JOHN GOTTMAN
The Gottman Institute Relationship Blog: The Four Horsemen: Recognizing Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling
In the original stories, four horsemen bring conquest, war, famine, and death. Compared to them, the four attitudes seem not be so desperate. Nonetheless, each of them is enough to make you drop into a vicious circle of blaming each other.
Gottman states that to identify these patterns is essential to make changes of your relationship. Then, you can avoid usual reactions when you are struck with complaints by your partner.
Interestingly, criticism should be distinguished from critique of complaint, as Gottman said. The difference is that criticism is attacking someone's personality, whereas the latter only point out one behavior which is harmful. As far as I know there are possible criticisms somehow beneficial. I think his definition of the words should be carefully interpreted.
By the way, we are easy to defend ourselves. We can fabricate hundreds of excuses to protect us. This fact must be recognized indeed, in terms of that it may injure our partner.