Most romantics would argue that science and love should not keep company. But John Gottman and his wife founded the Gottman Institute in Seattle on the very premise that scientific methods could and should be applied to the study of relationships. Since 1972, Dr. Gottman and his colleagues have been particularly interested in a question many have wrestled with: What determines whether a marriage will last?
In the 1990s, Gottman invited 50 married heterosexual couples to spend a night in his Love Lab — a space equipped with two-way mirrors and recording equipment. Researchers observed the couples, from newlyweds to long marrieds, interacting while also monitoring their physiological responses (including heart rate, blood pressure, and immune function). After the couples left the lab, researchers followed them over several years to track the state of their marriages.
The results are compiled in this book, which made waves after Gottman, armed with its findings, claimed he could predict the chances that a couple would last after observing them for just five minutes. Whether or not he’s a true “divorce prophet,” the book, published in 1998, outlines what Gottman believes successful relationships look like and outlines the seven key components to building a strong marriage.