You’ve been together for a while now. Feels like the bad days outnumber the good. Maybe you’re living more like roommates than lovers and the spark you once had is fading. In your mind, you gave it your best shot. Perhaps you’ve even contemplated what it might be like to start over with someone new.
Before you call it quits, consider this.
In their bestselling book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” Drs. John and Julie Gottman wrote that it’s sad when a good relationship dies because it did not get the nurturing and respect that it needs to survive. Divorce and breakups don’t have to be an inevitable part of life. In fact, there are many good reasons to stay together.
NOTE: The following does not apply to situations involving abuse. Read our research on domestic violence and connect with these resources, if you need help.
Happier marriages lead to longer life
Research out of the University of Michigan found that people in unhappy marriages were more likely to get sick and had a shorter life span by roughly four to eight years. The Gottmans believe this is because constant conflict and neglect eventually impact your health in a negative way. In fact, in research done at the Gottman Love Lab, the team similarly found more white blood cells (protectors of the immune system) in those with happier relationships.
Happy marriage, happier kids
Dr. John Gottman also studied children to see how they fared against the health of their parents’ marriages. In research conducted with 63 kids followed from preschool to 15 years of age, the results showed higher instances of truancy, depression, and aggression in children whose parents displayed marital hostility. These children had elevated stress levels that affected their peer relationships and their performance in school. Even the hostility that lingers after the parents separate affects children.
How to Know if You’re Happy
Let’s say your marriage doesn’t seem particularly “high conflict” with the obvious warning signs of a relationship in trouble. How can you know you’re in a happy relationship that’s both good for your health and everyone around you? Can such a thing be measured?
The NEW Gottman Relationship Adviser takes the guesswork out of improving your relationship. Measure your relationship health with a research-based self-assessment, then receive a tailored digital relationship plan proven to heal and strengthen your connection.
For an in-depth analysis of your relationship health check out the Gottman Assessment, a virtual relationship evaluation tool for couples.
Check out the free relationship quiz for couples.