22 March 2010

Gottman's 15 Minute Prediction

I want to start off by saying that John Gottman is truly inspirational to me. His work is outstanding and is what has interested me in the field of marital relationships.

However, I recently read a tweet by Benjamin Caldwell where he linked an article about Gottman's work. The article can be read in full here.

It got me thinking more about how Gottman can predict whether a marriage will last or not. I know I had a freak out when I read his 7 Principles book and discovered that my wife and I had a similar disagreement that was discussed in his book. We are still married. But I still at times hear the voice, of what I feel is Gottman going "Ummm, I don't think they will make it."

As such, this article points out the reverse way in which Gottman did his work. Not that he predicted before each trail, but that he looked at the outcomes, in particular failure of marriage, and traced it back to common characteristics. Those common characteristics, it seems, yes, do harm marriages if continued, but they can be tweaked.

Marriages can thrive, even if there are bumps. A marriage is not about never saying sorry because everything is so blissfully wonderful. It is about learning to love, and to grow with the person you love. To grow that love. Not to quit at the first sign of trouble.

I know I have seen marriages, unhealthy, that are full of criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling, but they still going on. So, in a sense they survived. However, it would be best to weed out those 4 horsemen so that the marriage can thrive and be healthy.

So, do I agree with the article. Yes. Do I think that John Gottman can predict within 15 minutes whether a marriage will succeed or fail. Yes. I think with all the knowledge he has worked up over the past several years, he is probably one of, if not the, most qualified person to do such predictions.

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Side note, keep on eye on the lookout, Locking Hearts Together will be launching a website in the near future.

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