Seattle’s Love Lab: Can Marriage Education Prevent Divorce?

Posted on Jul 09, 2010
What would the world be like if we could accurately predict if a relationship would end in divorce? At the Gottman Relationship Institute in Seattle – also know as the Love Lab – scientists, psychologists, and therapists have been working for decades to answer that question.

Through years of observing couples – both couples in successful marriages and couples that end their relationship with divorce – John Gottman and his researchers say they can now predict whether or not a marriage will last with a 90 percent accuracy rate. He uses that information to help teach couples how to better communicate, both through workshops and books.

According to a recent article in the Washington Post, marriage education may be the next step for couples trying to make their relationships last. The government is even giving some couples – like those with one or more spouse in the armed services – free workshops to keep marriages strong. Much of the research shows that marriages don’t end because of stress, money, or other irreconcilable differences (they have found that all marriages include irreconcilable differences), marriages end because couples do not know how to properly argue with each other, which can lead to contempt and resentment.

Two suggestions Gottman has for all couples? Empathy – putting yourself in your partner’s shoes – and parroting – repeating how your partner feels about an issue back to your partner, and vice versa, until you both understand the other’s thoughts.

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