Once polar opposites, love and science have finally been united in these three tests. So what do they say about your relationship?
Scientist John Gottman has been analysing relationships and marital stability for more than two decades — and as a result, he can listen to a couple interacting for just five minutes and determine whether they’ll divorce with 91 percent accuracy (or so he claims).
Dr Gottman’s studies are so precise that he can even determine, on average, how many years a couple will last after marriage.
Curious to see how long your marriage will last? Here are three factors that supposedly lead to a divorce.
1. Are you noticing these behaviours?
Your relationship may be in trouble if you’ve noticed a combination of the following:
1. Criticism. Complaining with blaming, or issuing harsh verbal attacks.
2. Defensiveness. Where you’re likely to counter-attack or act like a victim to make your partner feel bad.
3. Contempt. Dr Gottman believes this is the best predictor of the likelihood of divorce, because it displays disgust. Treating your partner with disrespect, mocking them with sarcasm or rolling your eyes are forms of contempt.
4. Stonewalling. This is measured by the absence of ‘listener cues’ — things like eye contact, open body, nodding head, moving facial muscles, brief vocalisations such as ‘uh-huh’, ‘wow’, ‘yeah’, ‘oh’).
Dr Gottman calls these four destructive behaviors “the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” — because when they’re present, the end is never far away.
Couples displaying combinations of the four Horsemen tend to divorce an average of 5.6 years after marriage. So if they’re present in your partnership? Watch out, you might not even make it to the next Olympics.
2. Are you sad, angry, detached and disengaged?
Even if the Four Horsemen are nowhere in sight — and indeed, even if there’s no hostility present in your relationship at all– you could be in trouble if you’re sad, angry, detached and disengaged. Couples with no positive emotions in their relationship, who don’t pay attention to each other’s expression of painful emotion, also tend to divorce.