Summary of Why Marriages Succeed or Fail

And How You Can Make Yours Last

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Why Marriages Succeed or Fail book summary
Marriages often fail due to unresolved conflict. To strengthen yours, thwart negativity, be calm, argue constructively.


8 Overall

9 Applicability

6 Innovation

7 Style


If you and your spouse are screaming at each other over what color to paint the downstairs bathroom, it might be a sign that your marriage is in danger – but then again, it might not. The fact that you argue is not the issue. Problems, conflicts and disagreements are inevitable and unavoidable in life and in a marriage. The key to a stable, healthy marriage is the way you air and resolve conflict. Dr. John Gottman studied hundreds of couples for more than 20 years to identify what, if anything, healthy and failing marriages have in common. Based on his research, the most innovative part of the book, he believes that he can predict with 94% accuracy which couples will stay together and which ones will fall apart. Failing marriages tend to follow the same downward spiral, a path that leads to loneliness, anger, negativity and, eventually, dissolution. Recognizing these destructive communication patterns is the first step back to a healthy relationship. Gottman's research, conclusions and recommendations hold up surprisingly well. getAbstract recommends his timeless advice to couples who want to avoid – or address – marital pitfalls.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the way a couple communicates and resolves conflict is the key to a solid marriage
  • What four forces can corrode the foundation of your marriage
  • How to argue constructively, communicate effectively and combat negativity in your relationship


"Why Marriages Succeed or Fail"
You walk down the aisle planning to stay married "until death do you part." Yet, the reality is that more than half of first marriages fail and the statistics for second marriages are even worse. Why do so many marriages end up in divorce...
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About the Author

Marriage and relationship researcher John Gottman, Ph.D., conducted the breakthrough study cited in this book. It is partially responsible for modern relationship counseling that emphasizes behavioral modifications. His other books include The Relationship Cure and The Marriage Clinic. He is a psychology professor emeritus at the University of Washington, where he founded the "love lab."

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