Before You Say "I Do" Essay

1847 words - 7 pages

If a person were in the market for a new car he would do research and find out which car had better gas mileage. He would study safety reports to determine which car would give him the most protection. He would compare interest rates and prices. Finally after conducting all of this research, he would go and purchase the car that he found to be best. It is too bad that we can't do research before we are married. What makes a marriage last? Are there skills we could learn that would help us have a marriage that lasts? How would a person research the most intimate of all relationships.JohnGottman, psychologist at the University of Washington's Family Research Laboratory on the Seattle campus asked these same questions? He came up with some answers that just might help us all have happier marriages.This is how the story of marriage goes. Somewhere out there in this big world there exists your perfect sole mate. He or she is out there just waiting until the moment when the two of you meet. Instantly something clicks. You fall in love, get married, have children, a boy and a girl and live in a state of happiness for ever and ever. Apparently someone has changed the ending of this lovely story. One out of every two marriages ends in divorce. So what is it that holds people together? What causes some to break apart?In his research at the Family Research Center nicknamed (the love lab) Gottman tries to research intangible things such as joy, contempt, and tension. One might wonder just what sort of tools a researcher would use to study tension in a marriage. The offices are equipped with video cameras and pulse, sweat and movement monitors that help read just what is going on inside of a marriage. Volunteers open up their life to the researchers, describing everything from how often they have sex to who does the dishes. With his new found results Goodman wrote a book" The Seven Principles for making Marriage Work,". He hopes to help spouses develop a map for happiness. He concluded that anger is not the most destructive emotion present in a marriage. Because all couples fight sometimes, happy couples, and miserable ones as well. Earlier therapies tried to defuse the anger between spouses. There are "four horsemen of the Apocalypse" as Gootman calls them that can seriously damage and even cause a marriage to end. These four things are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. There is good news however; Gootman says that to keep these destructive monsters under control a spouse needs to develop a "love map" of their partner's dreams and fears. The happiest couples had such an understanding of their partner that they could navigate around critical roadblocks with out creating crash.Goodman's research does not agree with the Mars Venus theory that holds that women came from one planet and men from another. Gender differences can contribute to problems in marriage but they are not the main cause of discord. Most spouses said that the quality of the...

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