From psychology professor (Univ. of Washington) and marriage researcher Gottman: an upbeat, easy-to-follow manual based on research into the dynamics of married couples. Gottman describes his studies as being akin to a CAT scan of a living relationship and asserts that he's been able to predict the future of marriages with an accuracy rate of over 90 percent. In 1983 and 1986, his research team monitored more than a hundred married couples in Indiana and Illinois with electrodes, video cameras, and microphones as they attempted to work out real conflicts. Using the information derived from these sessions, Gottman concludes here that a lasting relationship results from a couple's ability to resolve conflicts through any of the three styles of problem-solving that are found in healthy marriages- -validating, conflict-avoiding, and volatile. Numerous self-quizzes help couples determine the style that best suits them. Gottman points out, however, that couples whose interactions are marked by four characteristics—criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and withdrawal—are in trouble, and he includes self-tests for diagnosing these destructive tactics, as well as steps for countering them. Interestingly, Gottman asserts that the basis of a stable marriage can be expressed mathematically: the ratio of positive to negative moments must be at least 5:1—and he offers a four-step program for breaking through negativity and allowing one's natural communication and problem-solving abilities to flourish. Mathematics and science aside, there's plenty of old- fashioned, helpful, and worthwhile advice here about gender differences, realistic expectations, love, and respect—advice that may appeal especially to those who enjoy taking quizzes and analyzing relationships.
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