Relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman has spent over 40 years researching what influences the health and longevity of marriage. After observing thousands of couples, he determined that four key negative behaviors can predict divorce with 90% accuracy. The problematic behaviors are:
Contempt for your partner (demonstrated by expressions of disgust, eye-rolling, etc.)
Stonewalling (the silent treatment)
Couples who frequently display these behaviors have a significantly higher chance of getting divorced than those who don’t. Stress was found to be the most influential predictor of how negatively couples would interact with each other. The higher the level of stress, the more frequently these behaviors were displayed.
So what does make a marriage last? In essence, it’s respect and friendship. Warmth. The ability to tackle conflicts as a team with the goal of problem-solving, not beating each other up. People in lasting marriages have the ability to support without smothering, celebrate their partner’s successes, and frequently use humor to break the tension.
Successful marriages are made up of mature adults who genuinely adore each other, embrace life with grace and the ability to laugh, and realize that their relationship must be continuously nurtured to remain strong.