Dr. John Gottman’s Marriage Research Statistics

Dr. Gottman’s mathematical research on “masters” and “disasters” of marriage predicts divorce with 94% accuracy rate based on 3,000 couples in longitudinal studies.

Here are some key statistics below.

  • Half of all divorces occur in the first 7 years.

  • 67% of all married couples will divorce within 40 years.
  • For second marriages, the divorce rate is approximately 10% higher than for first marriages.
  • Often, only after a divorce do people realize the value of the marriage, and they regret divorcing.
  • The average couple waits 6 years before seeking counseling.
  • After an affair, 73% of marriages are saved with Gottman Couples Therapy Method.
  • Some people think they should stay in unhealthy marriages, but there are consequences:
  • There is an increase of contracting a serious illness by 35%.
  • People in unhealthy marriages shorten their life span by 4 years. Why? We are not certain. It may be due to chronic diffuse physiological arousal with associated physical and emotional stress that puts wear and tear on the body. Stress can contribute to heart disease, anxiety, depression, violence, psychosis, and substance abuse. In healthy marriages, people are more health conscious. They are more likely to keep after each other to have medical check ups.
  • 69% of all marital problems are perpetual. 31% are solvable.

The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse predict early divorcing. When the wisdom-of-crowds-control4 horsemen are present without an effective repair attempt, couples divorce an average of 5.6 years after the wedding.

Emotional withdrawal and anger predict later divorcing – an average of 16.2 years after the wedding.

  1. Criticism
  2. Defensiveness
  3. Contempt
  4. Stonewalling
  • Physiological flooding occurs when the heart beat is 100 bpm or greater. People cannot think clearly and are likely to do things and says things they later regret. Instead of continuing a discussion, take a break and self-soothe for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  • 85% of stonewallers are men. Men react with more signs of physiological stress than women during disagreements, and therefore, men are more likely to withdraw.
  • Stable marriages have 5 positives to every one negative interaction during conflicts.
  • Happy marriages have 20 positives to every 1 negative interaction during normal everyday conversations.
  • Unstable marriages have .8 positives to every 1 negative.

If you would like to know the strengths and challenge areas of your relationship according to Dr. Gottman’s research, ask me to register you for the Gottman Relationship Checkup.

Complete the contact page on this site.

Benita A. Esposito, MA, is a Licensed Professional Counselor who practices Gottman Method Couples Therapy. She is also a Gottman Educator, and has completed Level 3 of 3 Professional Training Programs.

Offices in Blairsville and Atlanta (Sandy Springs), Georgia  Website: www.Flourishing-Lives.com

This article was compiled with permission from The Gottman Institute.  Search YouTube for Dr. John Gottman’s marriage research statistics on “masters and disasters of marriage.”