John Gottman is one of the leading experts on what factors sustain and promote a good marriage. His research spans almost three decades on couple interactions that lead to healthy relationships and those that lead to marriage destruction. Gottman is responsible for important findings on the communication patterns that promote marriage stability and those that signal a marriage is near its end, which he dubbed the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”.
John Gottman, Ph.D., is a pioneer in interpersonal relationships . His research spans 27 years with personal interviews conducted with approximately 700 couples . A great majority of Gottman’s research took place in what he dubbed as the “Love Lab”, an apartment equipped with video cameras and sensors . Gottman serves as co-director of the Seattle Marital and Family Institute with his wife, a fellow psychologist and as a psychology professor at the University of Washington.
Gottman’s research on the interpersonal relationships in marriages is detailed in his books, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” and “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail” . According to Gottman, “happy marriages are based on deep friendship…and mutual respect for each others company” . Other factors that promote harmony in the marriage include an “intimate knowledge of each other’s quirks, likes and dislikes”.
Unlike many marriage researchers, Gottman believes that frequent fighting is not a sign of a bad marriage . Some type of conflict is virtually impossible whenever two people interact for a period of time . Gottman maintains that arguing is a normal factor in marriage as long as it does not involve physical abuse or other unfair fighting methods . Couples who have a marriage based in part on a strong friendship have what it takes to use argumentation effectively given that the relationship is based on mutual respect. Because happily married couples understand each other, they engage in activities during an argument that keeps anger from spiraling out of control.