Summary of Why Marriages Succeed or Fail

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




  • Applicable


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.

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."



"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? Extensive research into this question showed that most ordinary marital advice is based on a combination of speculation and intuition, and that conventional wisdom, even among marriage therapists, is wrong. A study of hundreds of couples over the course of more than 20 years identified several specific behaviors and interactions that signal the future of a marriage. By becoming aware of these patterns, you can alter the course of your relationship.

So, what makes a marriage work? To build your marriage, find a way to resolve conflicts productively. Avoid the four calamities of "criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling." And, try to follow a simple mathematical equation: Married couples must share five positive moments for each negative experience for the relationship to remain strong and stable.

Marriage Styles

A solid marriage "results from a couple's ability to resolve the...

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

Global Gay
Startup Life
Fair Play
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The Good Fight
Girl, Wash Your Face

Related Channels

Comment on this summary