Column: The science of marriage

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Commentary by Logan Everett

What if science could determine if your marriage would succeed or fail with over 90 percent accuracy? Skepticism would be welcomed, but let science speak for itself.

Dr. John Gottman started his research with couples more than 40 years ago when he invited couples to visit his bed and breakfast in Seattle. Couples would enjoy a spacious, apartment-like environment complete with full kitchen, living room, TVs, etc. Upon further inspection, couples would observe three cameras bolted to the wall that recorded their interactions from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., though never in the bathrooms. The couple would wear monitors that measured heart rates, blood pressure and sweat output. They had an instrument called the “jiggolometer” that measured how much they squirmed in their chairs during conflict. Researchers also took blood and urine samples to measure different levels of hormones in the body. Oh, and a team of researchers also coded facial expressions when couples interacted with each other during the weekend.

Other than that, it was a pretty nice B&B.

Gottman studied thousands of couples and, along with his wife, Dr. Julie Gottman, created the Gottman Method, a system of seven principles to make relationships work well. They include:

1. Build love maps.

2. Share fondness and admiration.

3. Turn towards instead of away.

4. Accept influence from each other.

5. Learn to dialogue about perpetual issues.

6. Physiologically self-soothe.

7. Create shared meaning.

No opinions, no self-glorifying models, no doubts – just science. Following these principles can create lasting results. It can lead to better and closer friendship, deeper intimacy and emotional connection, more fondness and admiration, and help in becoming a pro at managing conflict and allowing couples to truly make their life dreams come true and build something so great in their lives and families.

Couples everywhere can benefit from this incredible research. Regardless if you have been married for 50 years or just celebrated your engagement, pursue the marriage you deserve.

Logan Everett, MA, LMFTA is a marriage and family therapist associate and is level two trained in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy. He strives to educate couples all over the county to have healthy relationships. For more, contact him at (317) 572-7411 or email logan@newhopecounseling.com.

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