Monday, February 18, 2008

The Secret Ingredient for a Successful Marriage

In the book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell sheds some light on the scientific methods used by University of Washington professor Dr. John Gottman regarding his insightful in predictions of successful marriages. Amazingly, in about five minute’s time, Gottman can predict the future success or failure of a marriage with an accuracy rate over 90 percent.

Gottman’s ideas are followed up again in the book I’m currently reading in the chapter titled: The Secret Ingredient in Every Satisfying Marriage. Here is a quick excerpt that makes complete sense, but probably overlooked by many couples:

“You’re undoubtedly thinking, How does he do it? Dr. Gottman has identified specific behaviors that are marriage destroyers and others that are marriage protectors. Far and away, the most significant marriage protector boils down to one word (are you ready to be underwhelmed?): friendship. Not money, not exotic getaways, not creative romantic rendezvous. No, merely friendship.”

After years of research, Gottman arrives at this conclusion:

“The determining factor in whether wives feel satisfied with sex, romance, and passion in their marriage is, by 70 percent, the quality of the couple’s friendship. For men, the determining factor is, by the same 70 percent, the quality of the couple’s friendship. So men and women come from the same planet after all….Friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best protection against feeling adversarial towards your spouse.”

This simple concept came as a little bit of a shocker to me. I expected something more elaborate—something more elusive. Especially when you think that we all have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be a good friend. It isn’t some magical combination of profound acts that create great marriages. In fact, they all stem from friendship. We have learned over time how to be good friends. Now take these basic principles and apply them to your marriage—make your spouse your best friend first.

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