Rules for a Happy Marriage


The Marriage Box


Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financiallyhappy_couple2

by Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher

Married women are 30% more likely to rate their health as excellent or very good compared to single women, and 40% less likely to rate their health as only fair or poor compared to single women. Based on life expectancies, nine of ten married men and women alive at age 48 are alive at 65, while only six of ten single men and eight of ten single women make it to 65. Married men may have better immune systems as well, either from… Continue reading

86492748-617x416Married people live longer. 

Single men have mortality rates that are 250% higher than married men. Single women have mortality rates that are 50% higher than married women (Ross et all, 1990). Having a spouse can decrease your risk for dying from cancer as much as knocking ten years off your life. Single people spend longer in the hospital, and have a greater risk of dying after surgery. (Goodwin et al, 1987)

01forgiveValidate Your Partner’s Feelings

“I understand what you mean. 
You know, that really does make sense.”

 The process of “validating” one another’s feelings and experiences is incredibly important in a marital relationship.  All of us appreciate being on the receiving end of a statement that tells us that another person knows where we are coming from.  How often do you make statements to your partner, such as those comments offered above, to let your husband or wife know that you are making a sincere effort to understand?

 John Gottman, Ph.D

The U-curve of marital satisfaction

There are several studies done over many years which confirm the decline in marital quality and/or satisfaction. The sharpest decline is during the first ten years. There is of course the “highs” of the “honeymoon” years, then the sharp drop in the middle years and then once more an increase in the post-parental years. This is known as the U-curve of marital satisfaction.

The annualized divorce rate also reflects this trend in marital quality, particularly during the first decade. Although 50% of marriages end by the 7th year, there is an increase in quality… Continue reading

Women & Men & Relationships

malefemalePerhaps the most consistent finding concerning the state of marriage/relationships is its association with greater positive well-being and reduced negative outcomes for both men and women. The effects associated with marriage/relationships and positive well-being are happiness, life satisfaction, and the occurrence of positive as well as negative emotions (Bradburn, 1969; Gove, 1972)

Women’s greater involvement in marriage/relationships is apparent from findings that happiness with marriage/relationships is a more important predictor of global happiness for women than for men (Glenn, 1975; Glenn & Weaver, 1981; Gove et al., 1983).

Women’s top four rankings concerned aspects of… Continue reading

Resolving Attachment Injuries in Couples

uitveeAs humans we want to be close in relationships and be attached to someone we love. As so often happens, we get our most hurtful experiences from people who serve as our main attachment figure.

Our attachment patterns get disrupted when attachment injuries occur and the emotional discomfort causes us feelings of insecurity and the erosion of trust. In couples suffering from an attachment injury, trust is violated by their attachment figure and this indicates to the injured partner that the other can no longer be counted on for caring and support when needed (Johnson,… Continue reading

The Four Horsemen

World-renowned researcher on marriage and relationships, Dr. John Gottman, discussed the four negative patterns that often sound familiar to fighting couples. According to him, these four elements predict divorce, and he called it “the four horsemen of the apocalypse.”


1.  Criticism: Gottman says criticism is “really a way of fueling the attack, so you state your complaint as an attack on the other person.” He noted, “It’s not constructive, it winds up leading to an escalation of the conflict.”


2.  Contempt: “Not only is contempt the best predictor of divorce, because it’s really… Continue reading

How to Keep Love Going Strong

Why is marriage so tough at times? MarriedWhy do some lifelong relationships click, while others just tick away like a time bomb? And how can you prevent a marriage from going bad—or rescue one that already has?

After years of research, we can answer these questions. In fact, we are now able to predict whether a couple will stay happily together after listening for as little as three hours to a conflict conversation and other interactions in our Love Lab. Our accuracy rate averages 91 percent. Gay and lesbian relationships operate on essentially the… Continue reading