Love and Respect in Marriage: Science Proves it Works!

May 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Posted in Marriage | 1 Comment

An article appeared in The Atlantic, June 2014 edition, that referred to studies done by Psychologist John Gottman and his wife Julie, who have researched thousands of couples over four decades “in a quest to figure out what makes relationships work.”  The Gottmans separated couples into two groups, the “masters,” those who are in happy, lasting relationships, and the “disasters,” those who are not. This insightful article says the difference between the two groups comes down to only two things.  The simple subtitle of the article explains it all, “Science says lasting relationships come down to — you guessed it — kindness and generosity.”

Though somewhat lengthy this is well worth the time to read.  It’s amazing to me that “science” is now discovering what the Bible has said for 2000 years.  What they call kindness and generosity is what the Bible, for centuries, has called love and respect.  Husbands, love your wives (Ephesians 5:25); Wives respect your husbands (5:33).  We might make this required reading for our premarital counseling couples.

Here is a quote from the article that summarizes one of the main ideas:

“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have,” Gottman explained in an interview, “which is this:  they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for.  They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully.  Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”

“It’s not just scanning environment,” chimed in Julie Gottman.  “It’s scanning the partner for what the partner is doing right or scanning him for what he’s doing wrong and criticizing versus respecting him and expressing appreciation.”

Not only is this a great article about marriage relationships, but, as my wife pointed out, it can teach us a lot about how we deal with others.  After nearly 30 years of full-time ministry, I’d say that most people can be put into the same categories: those who look for mistakes and criticize each other; those who look for what’s right and express appreciation to each other.

Love and respect; it works! Here’s a link to the article.

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