Question 7

Rubber Band: 

Gottman: predictors of divorce; 5 hour/week program to improve marriage


(from the Gottman email and class notes)

Gottman said, "Just give me 15 minutes. . ."

He will talk to them about how they met (are there warm memories there or not?)

He will look for conflict discussion; and watch for

heart rate


blood pressure

videotape their 'facial expressions'

Your browser may not support display of this image. If flooding happens then 20 minutes of 'time out'

If the 4 Horsemen (comes from the Bible) rear their head then the couple is in trouble!!!

* In fact, the 4 Horseman are so bad that Gottman will cut-off couples immediately when they do one of them, and then confront them with how harmful this behavior is.
* Every couple engages in negative communication patterns some of the time, distressed couples do them more, and couples who do them a lot are on the fast track to divorce!

1. criticism: finding fault

2. contempt: harboring ill feelings [this is the worse one]

3. defense: turning things around; "It's not MY fault, it's their fault"

4. stonewalling: where you withdraw; shutting down (men are more likely to

do this or do flooding)

Gottman said a couple would be in trouble if he either saw

1) the 4 Horseman or 2) Nothing (or also called ‘disengagement’)


Divorce can peak at 5.6 years because of the 4 horseman

Divorce can peak at 14 years because of nothing

Divorce can peak after the kids are gone


Predicting divorce or stability in marriage is a ratio of positive 5 to 1 negative

The negative has a lot more ability to inflict harm.

Negative comments just about equal positive ones with the 5 to1 ratio.


5 Hours a week marriage program

o Give equal time to your spouse
o Parts: leave with knowing one interesting thing about your spouse’s day
o The 6 second kiss
o Active listening: talk about one another’s dreams along with what has happened during the day
o Affection, appreciation (a fondness and admiration system): tell one another what you admire and are thankful for in each other. Also, be physical and playful –kiss before going to sleep
o Love Maps: or a good knowledge of the partner’s world (work, family, self) and then show an interest in it during non-conflict times
o DATE NIGHT (let there be at least 2 hours a week that is just for the two of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

You can improve your marriage by improving the positive ratio.

If we could just correct one thing in our marriages, we could make a huge difference!

Seligmen: “We know we are not going to make huge changes . . .let’s just take baby steps.”

The Secret: “Keep doing the small things!”