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Would you pre-screen your marriage? Should you?

What if there were a way to predetermine which marriages would go the distance before taking that walk down the aisle? It certainly could set the wedding industry on its ear.

But is such a concept even possible? According to one marital therapist, professor and researcher, it's not only possible but has already occurred. In his more than four decades of research into the science of predicting divorce and studies of marital stability, Dr. John Gottman boasts a rate of accuracy of 94% when predicting the couples' likelihood of remaining married for the next three years.

What are the factors?

The researcher found seven variables that accurately indicated whether marriages were on the right track to succeed or headed for failure:

  • Affection toward partner
  • Attitude toward gender stereotypes and traditional roles
  • Level of expressiveness with partner
  • Marital disappointment or disillusionment
  • Negativity expressed toward spouse
  • Degree of acting as a unit versus separate entities
  • Level of volatility of each partner during conflicts

Other factors

Interviewers also asked about the couples' courtships and what led them to marry, how they met and other pertinent questions about their unions.

Then, the researchers directed the couples to broach a marital hot button topic to see how each approached conflict.

It's how you say it

Couples who eventually headed for divorce court spoke sarcastically and/or often were contemptuous of one another. After only observing their bickering for three minutes, the researcher could determine if they would stay the marital course.

"The Four Horsemen"

Similar to the negative influences of the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the following chronological kinds of negativity are considered to be fatal relationship flaws:

  • Contempt
  • Criticism
  • Defensiveness
  • Stonewalling

If the above tactics are part of your marital repertoire, you may want to rethink your approach to problem-solving.

The study's role in the divorce rate

It would certainly be handy to have the results of such an evaluation before taking the plunge, but would it really be a deterrent? Many couples could simply decline to participate and proceed blindly toward making it or breaking up. Still others may be undeterred and disregard the conclusions that predict their unions as likely to fail.

Done willingly and with an open mind, such evaluations might make it easier to spot early fault lines in the marriage before the facade shatters irreparably.

Protect your interests in divorce

If you are already married and are struggling to hold your marriage together, it's important to fully understand the ramifications of the decisions that must be made in order to end your marriage. A Charleston family law attorney can review your case and provide direction and clarity.

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Moncks Corner, SC 29461

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