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To Predict Divorce, Ask 125 Questions - New York Times

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I'm probably unusual, but I'd rather not know, lest I be fearful that it won't work when it might actually work:

In their report, the researchers said they had predicted all seven of the divorces. They did, however, err in their prediction of the couples that would stay together: three couples that the team believed would divorce were in fact still married four years later. Still, the researchers said, their predictive success of 93.6 percent far exceeds any other method of detecting troubled marriages before the couples themselves are ready to call it quits.

Yes, I appreciate your telling me how you feel about this and why.  I do find it hard to understand how you wouldn't want to know that there is a 93% chance you and your future wife won't make it.  It is especially puzzling since it seems to me that you and your future fiance could use the information to greatly improve your relationship,  and thereby greatly lessen the chance that you'll end up a statistic!  I'm very curious to hear your response on this.

Knowing the chances could be in part a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Not knowing -- and doing everything I can to make it successful -- might make it more likely to be in that 7%!

Belief is a powerful thing.

Of course believe is a powerful thing, yet I see it very differently than you.  So what gives the motivation to to choose that person in the first place, and to keep going when times get rough?

what about another option of just enjoying the marriage while it lasts?

what are the questions?

I guess the 125 questions are proprietary?

And Jared, I agree, people should just enjoy the marriage while it lasts.

Tina, I believe it's best to go by feelings and intuition.

If feelings and intuition say to choose that person, I listen.

As far as keeping going when times get rough, there's no rule that works for all cases.

Just have to keep improving our listening skills and our communication skills.

I believe that the evidence is strong that there is more to it than just listening and communication, and to me, that's the genius of Gottman's findings.  The journalist made an error:  Gottman's  questions only total 11, but the answers are evaluated not just on content,but on HOW the couple answers each question with a live interviewer.  There is another questionnaire (not developed by Gottman) with 125 questions, but its predictive power is significantly lower.

while the reported success rate is impressive, without reading the questions it is hard to judge their value.  

Only 11 questions? Impressive!

I agree it's hard to assess value without reading the questions.

Here's the primary gist of those 11 questions:

The oral history interview, which was administered in the couples' homes, asked the husband and wife how they met, courted and decided to marry; their philosophy of what makes a marriage work, and how their marriage had changed over the years. The researchers were less interested in the actual answers to the questions than in how the couple expressed themselves.

So what do you think of THAT?

That sounds reasonable. Essentially you're looking for whether they are able to row together.

Row and grow!  Yes, I think that's it.  And then you could use other aspects of Gottman's model to grow and row together!  That's how I see it.  What do you think?

I like that: Row together and grow together!

LOL!  Yeah, when I first saw what you had written, I thought it was a typo.  It actually took me quite a few minutes to figure out that you actually meant what your wrote, so I decided to add mine to yours!  Thanks!

In other words, I thought you meant to type "grow"  !

Heh. I did mean to type "row together" because rowers who do not row together make less progress!

I understood the metaphor after I thought about it for a few minutes.  It's very nice.

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