The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


What makes a marriage fail?

Research suggests that marriages of people in their early twenties or younger are more likely to fail than marriages between older partners. Further, overly hasty marriages, such as those that take place within six months after meeting, are less likely to succeed. Additionally, insecure financial status, distant or acrimonious relationships with the extended family, and the absence of positive marital examples in the extended family are associated with poor marital outcome. As described in a 1993 paper by John Gottman, marital failure can also be predicted by the quality of the interactions between a couple. Couples who displayed high levels of defensiveness, contempt, stonewalling, and criticism, as well as facial expressions of disgust were more likely to end up separated or divorced several years later.


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