Why Marriages Succeed or Fail Book Summary - Why Marriages Succeed or Fail Book explained in key points
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Why Marriages Succeed or Fail summary

John Gottman

And How You Can Make Yours Last

4.7 (206 ratings)
22 mins
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    Why Marriages Succeed or Fail
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    What’s In It for me? Learn how to future-proof your relationship.

    Marriage. It usually starts out so well. None of the couples beaming in wedding photos think that they’ll be the ones to get divorced. But, statistically speaking, there’s a 50 percent chance that they will. Not that anyone actually says that in wedding speeches. When it comes to love, we’re eternal optimists.

    So what goes wrong? What happens between the time when the lovebirds are uttering sincere vows to always “love and cherish” each other and the moment they’re sitting in a lawyer’s office dividing up the marital property?

    That’s what psychologist John Gottman has dedicated his entire career to figuring out: what is it that determines which couples stay together, and which couples don’t. When he was starting out, in the 1970s, psychologists had an enormous range of theories, but no one had done sustained empirical research. Gottman changed that. He devised a special experiment, and invited hundreds of couples to his lab to participate.

    In the experiment, the couples are asked to pick something to argue about for 15 minutes. Each word, facial expression, and vocal inflection is filmed and then analyzed microsecond by microsecond by a team of researchers. The couple’s bodily reactions are also recorded. Does her breathing quicken when he mentions his affair? Does his heart start pounding when he gets defensive? Taken together, the 15 minutes are what Gottman describes as an X-ray of a marriage. Using that X-ray, Gottman and his team can predict which couples will divorce within the next three years. Astonishingly, they have a 94 percent accuracy rate!

    In these blinks, you’ll learn

    • the key signs of a troubled marriage;
    • practical strategies for improving the communication in your relationship; and
    • how to change negative dynamics, no matter how entrenched they are.
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    What is Why Marriages Succeed or Fail about?

    Why Marriages Succeed or Fail (1994) is an insightful guide to creating successful relationships. It describes the four red flags to look out for in your relationship, and how to repair negative patterns and rediscover what made you fall in love in the first place.

    Who should read Why Marriages Succeed or Fail?

    • Newlyweds wanting to future-proof their relationships
    • People in long-term relationships who want to improve their communication
    • Psychology buffs interested in the experiment that changed how we think about relationships

    About the Author

    John Gottman, PhD, is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington and is the holder of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Award. His other books include The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.

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