0

The Research: Predicting Divorce from an Oral History Interview Part II

Both husbands’ and wives’ presence or lack of “we-ness” during an oral history interview is a strong indicator of whether a couple will divorce or not.

Share this post:

In “Predicting Divorce from the Oral History Interview” (1992), Dr. John Gottman and his colleagues found that the Marital Disappointment/Disillusionment dimension was the most powerful single predictor of divorce. This dimension attempts to capture how depressed, hopeless, or defeated a spouse may sound when talking about his or her marriage (or about marriage in general). In the interview, people who scored high in Disappointment/Disillusionment sometimes said that they didn’t know what makes a marriage work because all they only experienced bad ones.

While other couples were less blunt about their disappointment with marriage, they instead sounded disappointed or sad about specific aspects of their relationship. Some couples mentioned that they had unrealistic expectations about what marriage would be like. A number of participants in the study actually attempted to advise the interviewer about marriage, revealing their regret and displeasure with their own union.

Both husbands’ and wives’ presence or lack of “we-ness” during an oral history interview is a strong indicator of whether a couple will divorce or not. The husbands and wives who are low on this dimension may not feel connected or intimate with their spouses. These couples are probably living parallel lives, in the same home, but never really deeply joining together any more. In extreme cases, spouses may blame each other for problems in their marriage to escape responsibility or to avoid talking about the problem as a couple.

Many of those couples who score low in the “we-ness” dimension also admit to not being able to communicate with their spouse about their problems because they have such different viewpoints or perceptions. Many of these spouses will appear lonely or isolated because they are not able to receive support from their partners or from others (or feel that way). Sometimes one member of the couple being interviewed will score higher on “we-ness,” while the other emphasizes differences and separation—a state of affairs implying lack of communication and mutual understanding dangerous to the future of the relationship.

At one time or another, everyone experiences phases in their relationships where they feel disappointed or disillusioned. This is normal. The key to addressing these feelings is communication and a mutual desire to make an effort to manage these problems, as well as the knowledge necessary to address the problems in a healthy, productive way.


Share this post:

Ellie Lisitsa is a former staff writer at The Gottman Institute. She holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Recommended products

Original price was: $250.00.Current price is: $189.00.

The World’s First Proven Solution to Assess and Improve Relationships

The Gottman Relationship Adviser is a complete approach to relationship wellness. Measure your relationship health with the research-based Gottman Assessment, analyze five key areas of your partnership to identify your strengths and weaknesses, then start a tailored, step-by-step digital program proven to heal and strengthen your connection—all on your schedule and from anywhere.

The Adviser uses the legendary scientific Gottman Method to help you understand what’s really going on in your relationship—and gives you exactly what you need to improve it.

Original price was: $119.00.Current price is: $79.00.

Research-based Foundations for a Lifetime of Love.  The Gottman Relationship Coach is an inspiring and educational multimedia experience designed to enhance the well-being of relationships. Participants will be guided through research-based tools and communication skills that can transform relationships—all based on the popular Gottman Method. The first program, “How to Make Your Relationship Work”, is now available and includes:

  • The Gottman Method and How to Make Your Relationship Work
  • How do we predict the future of a relationship?
  • How to build a Sound Relationship House
  • What to do when the destructive Four Horsemen enter your relationship

“Buy Now” will take you to GOTTMAN CONNECT to purchase and view this product.

Original price was: $599.00.Current price is: $480.00.

Created by “the Einstein of Love” (Psychology Today), this two-day workshop is grounded on what actually works in relationships that are happy and stable. See for yourself why millions of couples worldwide have benefited from the Gottman Method.

Quote from participant in most recent Live Virtual Workshop:

The Art and Science of Love workshop- where do I begin? It was an absolute stellar workshop. We were looking forward to this for weeks, and it exceeded our expectations! It was well-structured, and well-organized, and provided a wealth of information with real-time demonstrations of how to work through specific scenarios. The outstanding support that was provided throughout the exercises with therapists on standby- WOW! Priceless!

Includes the Art & Science of Love box set.  Please allow time for shipping.  Please Note: This is a live online event. To attend, you will need a reliable internet connection. Our staff will reach out to you with your personal registration and access information.

$30.00

Improve your relationship in 30 days! Backed by over 50 years of research, the 30 Days to a Better Relationship challenge will help you reconnect with your partner and bring more positivity into your relationship. The tools and exercises, delivered once a day for 30 days by email, build on one another and take five minutes or less to complete.

 

Related posts

Two Good Reasons to Save Your Marriage

The Gottman Institute

You'd be surprised what a good relationship can do for you ...

Read More

The Research: Linkages Between Parent-Child Interaction and Conversations of Friends Part II

Ellie Lisitsa

Children who were more negative with a peer had fathers who were more intrusive and less engaged, and mothers who used ...

Read More

A photo of an African-American father sitting with his son in his lap. He is talking to his son, who looks away from his father.

The Research: Linkages Between Parent-Child Interaction and Conversations of Friends

Ellie Lisitsa

Children whose parents were disengaged and used derisive humor were more likely to have negative peer play with their friends. ...

Read More

marital conflict

The Research: Patterns of Marital Conflict Predict Children’s Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors Part II

Ellie Lisitsa

It is not the child’s temperament that predicts marital conflict, but rather the type of marital conflict that predicts a child’s ...

Read More

marital conflict

The Research: Patterns of Marital Conflict Predict Children’s Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors

Ellie Lisitsa

Parents whose conflicts are characterized by mutual hostility often produce children who are unable to wait their turn. ...

Read More

physiological arousal

The Research: Physiological and Affective Predictors of Change in Relationship Satisfaction Part II

Ellie Lisitsa

In relationships that are working well, the couple's interaction style is constructive, affirming, and enjoyable. 

...

Read More

Subscribe to Gottman Love Notes

Sign up and start your relationship transformation. Subscribe and get the latest on relationships, therapy, and much more from the experts. Includes a free download and access to special pricing on Gottman products every month