The Marriage Myth

A fascinating article in the Washington Post. People in marriages that last aren’t necessarily better matched than people in marriages that end. The big difference is in how couples manage their differences. The article goes on about how marriage education…….NOT THERAPY, might be saving marriages. These classes teach people techniques for managing disagreements that will not go away. At the root of it is letting the other person know that you listened, letting the other person know that you cared and not being toxic during the disagreement.

What Markman, Gottman and the others were finding undermined the basic principle driving romantic relationships in America: “That it’s about finding the right person. That if you find your soulmate, everything will be fine,” Sollee says. “That’s the big myth.”

It’s important to choose a spouse wisely, these scientists would say, but it’s equally important to be skilled in the convoluted art of conducting a marriage.

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More than 40 percent of first marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate for second marriages is above 60 percent, and it’s higher than 70 percent for folks making their third walk down the aisle.

snip ….

A few years later, in 1989, she sat at a conference listening to Gottman talk about the results of a decades-long study of couples at his “Love Lab” in Seattle. Gottman found that all couples — those who are happily married into their rocking-chair years and those who divorce before they hit their fifth anniversary — disagree more or less the same amount. He found that they all argue about the same subjects — money, kids, time and sex chief among them — and that for the average couple, 69 percent of those disagreements will be irreconcilable. A morning bird and a night owl won’t ever fully eliminate their differences; nor will a spendthrift and a penny pincher. What distinguished satisfied couples from the miserable ones, he found, was how creatively and constructively they managed those differences.

Full Article

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3 thoughts on “The Marriage Myth”

  1. Yep, once we started marrying for a “soul mate,” we lost our bearings on what marriage is about.

    I love Gottman’s research, and I’ve seen evidence of what he says among people I know.

    That toxicity, whew — a lot of around nowadays. Thus the rise in reality TV shows that fuel it. I’m dropping out …

  2. I’m with you Kat.

    I grew up in household where everyone went from zero to histrionic with disagreements. I will not have it.

    I remember as a child hearing my mother ask my father why he couldn’t be as congenial with his own family as he was with his clients. That question sunk into my brain. That is how it has to be. Your family and friends come first with regards to your best treatment.

    I have strong mixed feelings about the article stating how this kind of bad behavior is common after all.

  3. Maya Angelou once said, “If you only have one smile in you give it to the people you love.” It’s so true that people will smile at strangers and make pleasant conversation but then be grumpy towards their family. I always try to keep this in mind. Sucks for strangers but, hey, at least my family is happier.

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