Myths and Truths of Marital Dysfunction

John Gottman has been conducting marital therapy research for 25 years, and is a well-respected leader in the field. He has developed his own understanding of why some marriages last and some do not, as well as an effective model for marital therapy. Gottman has studied what he calls "masters" and "disasters" of marriage, and offers that there are a number of myths about why marriages actually fail that need to be cleared up.

  • Myth 1) Affairs cause divorces - 20-25% of mediation groups say an affair was a reason, but the reason given by 80% is deterioration of intimacy. Further, 70% of men and 40% of women had affairs in the 1970's but the numbers are now about equal, largely due to women moving into the work force and having greater access to partners.
  • Myth 2 Gender differences cause divorce - if this were so, the divorce rate would be 100% for heterosexual couples, and 0% for gay and lesbian couples
  • Myth 3 Communication problems cause marital conflict - actually, distressed people communicate quite clearly what they feel and mean
  • Myth 4 No quid pro quo makes for an unsuccessful marriage - the idea is that doing good things for your partner is contractual on getting good things back; research shows this is not the case for ailing couples, but neither is it the case for happy couples either
Read about John Gottman's Sound Marital House, and what 25 years of research has demonstrated to be true about relationships, the two states marriages can exist in, and the basic model of what counseling can help couples do.