Gottman's Relationship Research
What are the Four Horsemen?
John Gottman, Ph.D.,
the world’s foremost researcher in the area of couple relationships and marriage, has studied couples for more than
35 years. He has identified specific behaviors and attitudes which he refers to as "The
Four Horsemen" (see below), that enable him to predict with 85% accuracy whether
or not a couple will divorce:
Criticizing or blaming your partner (using words like always,
never, anything, nothing when complaining or blaming)
Being defensive (defending your innocence by whining, “yes…but”, counter-complaining or attacking
Expressing contempt (implying that you are superior
to your partner through sarcasm, name calling, insults, mockery, being smug or rolling your eyes in disgust).
The single most powerful predictor of divorce!
Stonewalling (emotionally “checking out
of a discussion” and failing to give any indication that you are interested in your partner’s perspective or even
listening to them)
is repairing a discussion so important in preventing divorce?
is perfect and we all make mistakes in relationships. Repair attempts are
simply goodwill gestures to try and make things better between you and your partner or spouse when things are becoming negative.
Based on his research findings, Dr. John Gottman is able to predict divorce with 93-95% accuracy
based on the presence of the "Four Horsemen" and whether or not couples can repair their conflict discussions.
discovered that what determines whether or not repair attempts are effective in getting a discussion back on a constructive
path is the condition of your friendship with your partner or spouse—not how good you are at making repair
attempts. Take our Relationship Quizzes to assess how strong your friendship is in your relationship or marriage.
Worried about the Four Horsemen
in your relationship, or discouraged that you and your spouse cannot repair discussions?
You don't have to give up on your relationship just because you recognize the Four Horsemen in your interactions. A Certified Gottman Couples Therapist has the training and skills to teach you and your partner how to:
and Replace the Four Horsemen
Repair your conflict discussions