Navigating the Gottmans' Four Horsemen

Discussion questions:

  1. What emotions did today's topic stir up for you?
  2. Where have you experienced one of the four horsemen recently?
  3. What new insight from today will make a difference in your life and context?
  4. What is one thing you want to put into practice this week?


On Wednesday, May 18, we welcomed The Rev. Sara Cutter, Senior Director for Operational Effectiveness in the Christian Community and Leadership Home Area of the ELCA’s churchwide organization. In this role, she manages the operations of a variety of ministries engaged with supporting and nurturing ELCA congregations and their leaders. Prior to serving in this role, she led three different parishes of varying sizes and locations. In Pastor Sara’s earlier professional days, she worked as an engineer and during that time earned an MBA. She is married to another pastor, the Reverend Todd Cutter, who serves as the University Pastor and Director of Spiritual Life at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Together they have a delightful daughter (Amelia) and a persnickety dog (Belle).

From the work of psychologists Drs. John & Julie Gottman we explored the concept of the Four Horsemen, first published in the book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Even though this research is directed at intimate relationships, there is much to be learned and applied in our personal and professional lives that the Gottmans offer with these four documented characteristics that tear down our relationships. With their research, they have also discovered four antidotes to keep the Four Horsemen at bay so that we can spend more time connecting and working toward a common goal.

We are mixing things up in 2022 as we continue to experiment and learn. You are invited to join us WEEKLY on Wednesdays at 1pm Central to hear from a variety of leaders. We will continue with our theme of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP. We have invited various ministries to host these gatherings through this year, so it will be different each week. There will usually be time for small groups in breakout rooms so that leaders across the church can learn from each other and leave each gathering with at least one action step.

We are inviting you to bring a spirit of curiosity to these gatherings and to all aspects of your life. What are you noticing? Where is Spirit moving? How are you being invited to participate?