In today’s posting, we’d like to share with you an article that recently came to our attention. It was posted a few days ago in the Midland Daily News, and discusses Dr. Gottman’s research on bidding that we have been focusing on in recent weeks!
As you now know, Dr. Gottman has found that the ways in which you and your partner respond to each other’s emotional bids are the strongest predictors of your relationship’s eventual success or failure. The following article expands on Dr. Gottman’s research in this area, illuminating more of his research on handling difficult conversations before and after they occur:
What Makes Marriages Work, Fail?
By Rachael L. Vanderaa, MSW, LLMSW
According to Dr. John Gottman of the Gottman Relationship Institute, there are common causes that lead to both success and failure in a marriage. Dr. Gottman says that all couples fight, even happy ones. Apparently, the most successful couples can say that they had a fight within the last seven days. The number of fights that a couple has is not as important as how they fought during the fights.
Picture two couples, one that argues daily, but never feels personally attacked during the fights and compare them to a couple that never fights, but when they do, they say very hurtful things to their partner. Which couple do you think would be most likely to last? If you thought the first, then you are wrong. It could actually be both couples. The most important factor to a fight is how couples fix their relationship afterward.
Dr. Gottman says that there are factors that help couples become masters’ of their relationship. One factor in successful marriages says that when wives raise issues about the house, family or even the relationship they should do it gently. He also says that issues between the couple need to be talked about before they simmer and get out of control. When they are together, couples need to be calm and supportive during hard and stressful times. Often, in successful marriages, husbands will change things about them at the wives’ request.
Next, spouses who respond to attempts to get attention by their partner, 86 percent of the time are more likely to succeed.
The last factor to becoming a master in marriage is probably the hardest part of all. The last factor says that when couples argue that they make AT LEAST 5 positive comments for EACH negative comment, during a fight. Dr. Gottman also talks about the factors that can help your marriage fail.
Think about the six factors that help a marriage succeed and think opposite and that will help your marriage fail. When wives raise issues about home, family or the relationship in a mean way, the couple is more likely to fail. When husbands react angry or upset and do not calm down, this is another factor of failure. When wives say things like “you always do that” or “you never help,” these words will lead to marriage failure. Next, when the husband gives the silent treatment and does not react to anything the wife says, this is a silent and fast way to end a marriage.
Last, when a spouse only responds to their partner’s cries for attention 33 percent of the time, they are more likely to fail. Do you and your spouse use any of the six factors for success or the five factors for failure? Think about it!
So what makes a marriage work or fail? What is making your marriage work? What is making it fail? If you are succeeding, keep up the good work! If your marriage is not doing well, think about what you are doing to help it fail and try new things. Try adding five positive sentences to an argument and see how it goes. So next time you argue with your spouse, consider how you are doing it, how you fix things afterward, and finally, what you can do to make your marriage a success!
This segment was adapted from Dr. John Gottman’s book, “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last.”
You can see the article on The Midland Daily News site here.
Look forward to our blog posts next week, in which we will share ways you can use Dr. Gottman’s decades of research to your advantage. Learn how you can bid in order to get your partner to respond more positively to your bids in the future!