Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage : America's Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship
In 1994, Dr. John Gottman and his colleagues at the University of Washingto- made a startling announcement: Through scientific observation and mathematical analysis, they could predict-with more than 90 percent accuracy-whether a marriage would succeed or fail. The only thing they did not yet know was how to turn a failing marriage into a successful one, so Gottman teamed up with his clinical psychologist wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, to develop intervention methods. Now the Gottmans, together with the Love Lab research facility, have put these ideas into practice. In Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, the Gottmans share this vital information so that couples can develop the skills to turn their relationship problems around and create strong, lasting unions. What emerged from the Gottmans' collaboration and decades of research is a body of advice that's based on two surprisingly simple truths: Happily married couples behave like good friends, and they handle their conflicts in gentle, positive ways. The authors offer an intimate look at ten couples who have learned to work through potentially destructive problems-extramarital affairs, workaholism, parenthood adjustments, serious illnesses, lack of intimacy-and examine what they've done to improve communication and get their marriages back on track.
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May 16, 2006
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Excerpt from Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage by Joan DeClaire
From Predicting Divorce to Preventing It: An Introductory Message from John and Julie Gottman
It's been more than a decade since John and his colleagues at the University of Washington (UW) first announced their discovery: Through the power of careful observation and mathematical analysis, the team had learned to predict with more than 90 percent accuracy whether a married couple would stay together or eventually divorce. This discovery captured the imagination of many. If research psychologists could now pinpoint specific behaviors that lead to divorce, then perhaps people in troubled relationships could change those behaviors and save their marriages.But as any weatherman can tell you, the ability to predict trouble is not the same as the ability to prevent it. It's one thing to detect a storm brewing on radar; it's quite another to make those storm clouds disappear.
And yet that's the kind of work we at the Gottman Institute have been doing. Since 1994 we've been developing tools to help couples identify problems that are proven to destroy relationships--and to turn those problems around. By experimenting with various forms of therapy, we've been learning how to help husbands and wives improve their marriages and prevent divorce.
Through our workshops, therapy sessions, and books, couples are gaining the tools they need to build stronger friendships and manage their conflicts. As a result, they are learning to work through a whole host of problems common to marriage--problems such as these:
*the stress of caring for a new baby
*exhaustion from working too hard
*loss of interest in sex and romance
*recovering from an extramarital affair
*struggles with depression
*arguments over housework and finances
*changes that come with retirement
*the loss of a job, an identity, or a lifelong dream
And once again we're achieving some exciting results. Our studies show that 86 percent of people who complete our marriage workshops say they make significant progress on conflicts that once felt "gridlocked." And after one year, 75 percent of husbands and 56 percent of wives who attend our workshops and therapy sessions feel their marriages move from a broken state to a functional one. Even simply reading our books can make a difference. One study showed that 63 percent of husbands and wives who read John's 1999 bestseller, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, reported that their marriages had changed for the better and were still improved a year later.