Having a happy and meaningful relationship with other people is something that almost all individuals pursue in their everyday lives. Especially it concerns those who are the closest to us – our partners. However, although everybody wants to be loved and cared for and loved and cared for back, only some possess the necessary skills and knowledge that would help to build successful and long-lasting relations. Still, it is not self-evident what those most important qualities are, and many people throughout history have believed that love is a mystery and therefore, those who live happily with partners are simply lucky. To contest that view, John Gottman and his followers decided to examine the factors that determine good relationships with a special emphasis on married couples using a scientific approach (Santrock, 2018). Their findings indicated that science can indeed increase people’s understanding of love and what elements constitute happy marriage.
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Yet, to answer that question, Dr. Gottman and colleagues had to collect numerous data and apply a variety of research methods. They include self-reported questionnaires, interviews, experiments, and physiological measures such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, electrodermal activity, and voice tone and facial expression analysis, to name a few most important ones (TEDx Talks, 2018). Additionally, the researchers used mathematical and statistical methods to interpret the raw data and make prognoses about the future (TEDx Talks, 2018). Consequently, such a rigorous approach to collecting and analyzing information has allowed Gottman to successfully predict whether the marriage would result in divorce or stability and happiness in over 90% of the cases. Moreover, the study was successfully replicated more than six times which is quite rare in the modern social sciences.
As for the findings, there are three aspects of Gottman’s research that I find particularly useful. First of all, the scholar determined that for couples, it is very easy to enter and be stuck in a state of negative feelings towards each other (TEDx Talks, 2018). Furthermore, it is difficult to exit that state to restore positive sentiments. Secondly, the main clue to a happy relationship is enjoying mutual trust in each other so that partners are not “psychological strangers” to each other (Santrock, 2018, p. 462). Finally, being grateful to a partner for his or her place in one’s life serves as a crucial indicator of satisfaction with the marriage.
Santrock, J. W. (2018). A topical approach to development life-span (9th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
TEDx Talks. (2018). The science of love | John Gottman | TEDxVeniceBeach [Video]. Web.