Before You Say "I Do"

Essay by azgirlCollege, UndergraduateA-, July 2005

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If a person were in the market for a new car he would do research and find out which car had better gas mileage. He would study safety reports to determine which car would give him the most protection. He would compare interest rates and prices. Finally after conducting all of this research, he would go and purchase the car that he found to be best. It is too bad that we can't do research before we are married. What makes a marriage last? Are there skills we could learn that would help us have a marriage that lasts? How would a person research the most intimate of all relationships.JohnGottman, psychologist at the University of Washington's Family Research Laboratory on the Seattle campus asked these same questions? He came up with some answers that just might help us all have happier marriages.

This is how the story of marriage goes.

Somewhere out there in this big world there exists your perfect sole mate. He or she is out there just waiting until the moment when the two of you meet. Instantly something clicks. You fall in love, get married, have children, a boy and a girl and live in a state of happiness for ever and ever. Apparently someone has changed the ending of this lovely story. One out of every two marriages ends in divorce. So what is it that holds people together? What causes some to break apart?

In his research at the Family Research Center nicknamed (the love lab) Gottman tries to research intangible things such as joy, contempt, and tension. One might wonder just what sort of tools a researcher would use to study tension in a marriage. The offices are equipped with video cameras and pulse, sweat and movement monitors that help read just...