Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gottman & Silver: “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert”

I recently ran across an interesting empirical study of marriage, originally published in 1999.  The book is John M. Gottman & Nan Silver’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert.  Interestingly, Gottman (emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington & co-founder of The Gottman Institute) says that it only takes him 5 minutes to predict—with a whopping 91% accuracy—which couples will eventually divorce.  He developed this skill after studying hundreds of couples in his “love lab,” sharing his insight and lessons in the book.

Check out the book here on Amazon, or a blog interview with Gottman here.

Interesting tidbits from the blog interview linked above:

Another puzzle I'm working on is just what happens when a baby enters a relationship. Our study shows that the majority (67%) of couples have a precipitous drop in relationship happiness in the first 3 years of their first baby's life. That's tragic in terms of the climate of inter-parental hostility and depression that the baby grows up in.

….

Science comes into the study of families and relationships because a scientist always admits to profound ignorance, doesn't presume to know about these things, takes this ignorance and goes to the people and observes them in situations that are vitally important — when people are having dinner, when they meet at the end of the day, when they are in the bedrooms cuddling, when they're having sex, when they're interacting with their babies — in these very important moments, a scientist without preconceptions observes and tries to understand — interviews people, measures their physiology, and tries to get at their inner experience. And then creates mathematical models that provide theoretical understanding of all these processes.

….

So far I believe we're going to find that respect and affection are essential to all relationships working and contempt destroys them. It may differ from culture to culture how to communicate respect, and how to communicate affection, and how not to do it, but I think we'll find that those are universal things.

MR

Hat Tip: S.H.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2010/03/gottman-silver-the-seven-principles-for-making-marriage-work-a-practical-guide-from-the-countrys-for.html

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