Making Relationships Work | Part 1 | Dr. John Gottman

DR. JOHN GOTTMAN: Is this good… a good distance from the microphone? Well, 35 years ago,
I started doing some research with my best friend, Bob Levenson… who also wound up being best man at our wedding. And 35 years ago, Bob and I got together because
our relationships with women weren’t working very well. [audience laughs] So unlike the self-appointed gurus you’ll see
on afternoon television we really didn’t know anything about
how to get along with women. And so we started this research really hoping that eventually we’d learn something that would help us in our relationships. And we really had no hypotheses. I always think about Isaac Newton — the great physicist — who once said, “Non fingo hypotheses.” “I do not feign hypotheses.” So I thought that was pretty good as a start. And so Bob and I really brought to the field
of the study of relationships a colossal ignorance and awareness of our ignorance. So we started doing research by building a laboratory where couples could come at the end of the day and just talk about how their day went after they’d been apart for about eight hours. While they were talking to each other Bob Levenson had a computer that …in the 1970s, was able to synchronize the video timecode to the
physiological data we collected. So as couples talked to each other we were measuring, simultaneously, their heart rates… …their blood velocity at various parts of their body… …how much they were sweating from
the palms of their hands… …we even put a little meter under their chairs
called the “Jiggle-O-Meter” [audience laughs] to measure how much they jiggled around. And why did we do these things? We had no idea. We just thought it’d be kinda fun. [audience laughs] We had couples talk about an area of
continuing disagreement — a conflict that they had — and then a positive topic. Then we showed them their video tapes
and asked them to turn a dial that told us what they were feeling. And we interviewed them about specific moments that we didn’t understand at the time. Asking them what they were thinking and feeling
during these moments and when I came to the University of Washington
about 23 years ago I built an apartment laboratory which was sort of like
a bed-and-breakfast getaway setting on the medical school campus and it’s on the Montlake Cut where all these beautiful boats were going by. We tried to make it as much as we could
like a bed-and-breakfast getaway. Except there were three cameras bolted to the wall [audience laughs] and the couples wore two-channels — a Holter monitor — measuring two channels of electrocardiogram. And when they urinated we took a urine sample to measure stress hormones and we took blood from them to look
at the immune system and people were coding their facial expressions
in the control room. But aside from that, it was a very relaxed… [audience laughs] …bed-and-breakfast kind of setting. And, uh… you know, about 20 years into this research, my friend, Bob, came to the
University of Washington to give a talk and a professor I was collaborating with asked a question. He was a researcher — Neil Jacobsen — who did research on couples therapy And he said, “Well how can all this research help couples?” And Bob said, “I’m proud to say in the 20 years that
John and I have been working together we’ve never helped anybody.” [audience laughs] And that was true, we were really getting paid
to watch couples deteriorate [audience laughs] and making a living at it. [audience laughs] So we really did a series of research studies trying to look at the “masters” of relationships the ones who really stayed together,
didn’t get divorced, and were pretty happy, more or less. And the “disasters” of relationships — the ones that broke apart — and the ones that stayed together
and weren’t happy as well. Bob and I also studied gay and lesbian committed relationships for a dozen years in this 35 year period. We really were able to study couples across
the whole life course. In fact, we’re just completing a study
in the Bay Area now that we started 20 years ago with two groups of couples, a group of couples in their 40s and a group of couples in their 60s. And our oldest subjects are now in their late 80s. So we’re just finishing this. Across the whole life course we’ve looked at transitions to becoming parents, what happens when a baby arrives in the relationship, how does it affect the relationship? How do relationships affect babies? Can we predict anything about child development? And we found, to our great surprise, that we could predict as we followed couples over many, many years with over 90% accuracy, what would
happen to a marriage by just observing couples in our laboratory. And I think nobody was as surprised
by these findings as Bob and I were. Because at the time, psychologists really weren’t very good at predicting human behavior — individual behavior — and the people who were on our tenure and promotions committee really said to us, “If you can’t predict one person’s behavior, how can you predict two people?” “You’ll square the amount of uncertainty.” But it turns out that relationships have
an enormous amount of stability. So that, even from the first three minutes of a conflict discussion a couple is having, we can predict, 96% of the time, how the entire conversation will go. And from the conversation, we can predict with high accuracy, whether a couple will get divorced or not, how happy they’ll be, and, in fact, one of my graduate students,
Alyson Shapiro, who studied couples in their last trimester of pregnancy was able to predict the child’s temperament and the child’s neurological development and reduce 50% of the uncertainty in looking at the first three years of the baby’s life. Just by looking at how the parents argued
in the last trimester. So we found an enormous amount of predictability. And what I’d like to do in the short time I have available is to just go through giving you an idea
of what we learned and how we understand this. I think that Bob and I were kind of like the early astronomers who looked at the heavens and tried to see patterns in the motions
of stars and planets. And, indeed, there were patterns
that could be understood that the early astronomers looked at. And Ptolemy, of course, is known for over a thousand years, having been able
to predict lunar eclipses and very accurately predict the placement of stars and the planets and the moon. But he didn’t know why he didn’t understand why it worked that way. Except to say that as Aristotle said, “The heavenly planets must move in a perfect circle,” which turned out not to be true. It wasn’t until Isaac Newton that we started
really getting theory. So I want to take you through knowing our 35 years of research in which our first question was, “Could we find any patterns that discriminated the masters
from the disasters of relationships?” And second, “What theory could we develop
to understand those patterns?” And only when we developed that theory were we able to design interventions to help people. And so these are all scientifically-based interventions that my wife, Julie Gottman, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman and I designed together. She’s the one who’s really concerned
about helping people. So… that’s what led to The Gottman Institute. I’ve interviewed her about it to try to find out why that was so interesting to her. So let me tell you how we were able to discriminate the masters from the disasters of relationships. One of the basic things that when I was in graduate school there was a book that came out called,
“The Intimate Enemy.” It was written up by a guy named George Bach. And his idea for helping marriages was that the problem in marriages, he said, was that people didn’t air their resentments. So he had partners face one another and take turns telling one another what they resented about each other. He even designed these foam-rubber bats that he manufactured called, “batakas,” and they would take turns whacking each other
with one of the bats “I really resent you didn’t take out the garbage!” Whack! And then, “I really resent that we don’t have sex anymore!” Whack! And they’d go back and forth. And that was kind of the state of the art when I was in graduate school. [audience laughs] And… After hundreds of research studies we’ve now learned that when you do that, people leave more resentful than when they came in. [audience laughs] There is no catharsis effect for anger and resentment. And basically what Bob and I found was that what discriminated the disasters from the masters of relationships was that the masters were really very gentle
with one another. Even when they raised an issue. They raised as if it was kind of an invisible soccer ball that they were kicking around together. They took responsibility for even
a small part of the problem whereas the disasters really pointed
their finger at their partner and were critical. And their attitude was that they were kind of diagnosing their partner’s personality defects and wanted to be really appreciated
for that by their partner. And… [audience laughs] and they were hoping that their partner would respond by saying, “Thank you for pointing out all the ways in which I am failing as a human being.” [audience laughs] “Can we have lunch next Tuesday so we can talk about this some more?” “You are such a wise person, John.” You know, “Thank you so much.”

32 thoughts on “Making Relationships Work | Part 1 | Dr. John Gottman

  1. I think my wife is a master while Im a disaster. But I honestly think my wife has issues, so why shouldn't I point them out when she confronts me? I rarely try to be upset enough with something to start an argument. She on the other hand is driven by her friends opinions and I get blind sided ever so often with some friends opinion of what i did or didn't do. She searches my phone and email and though I have never cheated, I do keep in contact with my ex's and she nags and nags about it.

  2. @xvzktry
    My ex came running back to me after 3 weeks. You just need the right technique. If you want to learn, watch this –>

  3. @emhycwl i agree there is soo many products and techniques its hard to know which one to choose, lets just say ive spent alot! i dont regret a moment because i now have an awesome mentor and making enough to quit my job. if you take it seriously you can have an income in days read this =>

  4. This video is so excellent, I can only imagine there aren't too many comments because everyone is so intrigued and interested in what Dr. Gottman has to say!

  5. Discriminating masters from the disasters in relationships: How to air resentments! How can you be gentle when you're feeling unappreciated? This is a MUST SEE video series!!! #human #relationships @damnitstrue #love #women #men #help #science

  6. @jacksonVile
    Couldnt agree with you more girl! That program
    offered by the site:
    is really awesome! I used it and suddenly my
    ex boyfriend is calling me, begging me to go
    out with him again. I might make him beg a lil
    more though. hehe..

  7. Gottman is a such a great scientist. His research is fantastic and he's so good at talking about it and explaining it.

  8. Ummm…I've just checked out this and this dude wants money…pffft! What a load of claptrap………as usual just another lot of gabbing on, then wants you to 'PAY' so he can tell you about txts you can send your ex to get him back. RUBBISH!!

  9. Karen-it is garbage. Gottman isn't selling that, it's spam. J. Gottman's work is highly researched and respected. Just thought you'd like to know…

  10. Hello, I think quality relationships are as well about longevity because they are good enough for lasting… if you have a relationship that does not work after 6 months, for example, might be that it was not that good after all. But this is just what I think is not that I think it is written in stone.

  11. Karen, that's an *unrelated* advertisement, which you happen to be seeing on youtube's webpage — it has nothing to do with this video, nor w/ Gottman.

  12. I wish there were more videos, I re-
    watch these videos and I learn something new every time, he is a great teacher.. I cant wait to get all of his books.. Please post more videos..!

  13. John Gottman's research has made a significant contribution to bringing the field of study of relationships and marriage so much closer to the teachings of the Baha'i Faith making the art of unity, creating harmony, compromise, loving consultation, using a kindly manner in communication, realizing that a kindly tongue is the loadstone of the hearts of men, etc important in making relationship work and be stable.. I deeply appreciate him proving how science and true religion are in harmony.

  14. He says one squared equals two?
    1 squared is still 1, not 2.

    At 5 minutes and 28 seconds into the video.

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  16. Good stuff here but I had an unfortunate experience with a marriage therapist that used the Gottman method. It came up that my husband tested positive for herpes. She says, "herpes isn't a big deal these days". My jaw hit the floor! It most seriously is a big deal if you don't have it. Who
    in their right mind says, "Herpes? Not a problem. Sign me up for oozing sore breakouts for the rest of my life! I'm sure any future partner I might have will be totally cool with it too!" I really should have reported her. Also, you have to keep in mind that you are made to sign a contract that gives them permision to video tape your sessions.You may not want your private life floating around like that. It's basically signing away your HIPPA rights.

  17. I am fortunate to have been happily married to the love of my life for over twenty-five years. We've had the kind of relationship that others envy and many people who know us well are amazed at how well we get along. I bought your book Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work to see how your research compared to what we have in our marriage and I found it compared favourably. After reading it, I realized that my husband and I would probably be called Masters by your definition. In fact, we would probably rank in the very top of the Master class. I'm so happy that you have been able to make this information available to so many people and sincerely hope that they will apply it to their relationships.

  18. After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: [email protected] or call him +2348164728160 you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

  19. Masters” vs the “ Disaters”
    1) The masters were very gentle with one another even when their was an issues. They treated the issues like an invisible soccer ball they were kicking around together. They were taking responsibility even for a small part of the problem.
    The “ Disasters” point their fingers at their partner’s and were critical, their attitude was like they were diagnosing their partner’s personality defects, and they wanted to be appreciate for that by their partner’s.

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