Relationship expert Dr. Gottman is good at predicting divorce. He performed a six-year longitudinal study with University of Washington researcher Sybil Carrère to test a hypothesis that the first few minutes of a marital conflict discussion can serve as a predictor of divorce.

Dr. Gottman and Dr. Carrere coded the marital discussions of 124 couples who had been married for less than six months using the Specific Affect Coding System. After dividing the data, they found it was possible to predict divorce over a six-year period using data from the first three minutes of the conversation.

What they found was that every relationship headed toward divorce within six years started conflict discussions with greater displays of negative emotion than couples that remained together. How couples start a conflict discussion is key. Couples who were gentler in their start-up fared far better than the couples who had a harsh start-up approach.

Couples therapists all over the world are indebted to the research that Dr. John Gottman has done with couples over his long career. You’ll find other blog posts on this site that present Dr. Gottman’s research: ie., Dr. Gottman’s Magic Ratio.


Read the full article here: Predicting Divorce Among Newlyweds from the First Three Minutes of a Marital Conflict Discussion