John Gottman, Ph.D. has studied marriage relationships with more scientific rigor than just about anyone. If you and your spouse sit in his lab and have a conversation about a disagreement in your marriage, he can tell whether the marriage will last another 5 years with 90% accuracy in just 15 minutes (80% accuracy in five minutes!).

He has identified what he calls the four horsemen (taken from the four horsemen of the apocalypse found in the book of Revelation in the Bible). When any of these are habitually present in your marriage, you cannot continue your current relationship patterns and reasonably expect to keep your marriage/family together.

The four horsemen are:

  • Criticism
  • Contempt (this, btw, is the baddest of the bad guys)
  • Defensiveness
  • Stonewalling
The good news is that you are not stuck even if you regularly see one or more of the four horsemen galloping around your relationship.
Dr. Gottman has written some of the best books on marriage that I have read. I plan on reading more. I am currently listening to Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, and How You Can Make Yours Last and I am reading 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work (I can barely put it down).
You can visit his web site at
You’ll hear a few more things on this blog about Gottman’s research before long. His work is fascinating.