Eye-Rolling, Marriage, and Divorce
ohn Gottman, a renowned marriage and family therapist, claims that he can predict whether a couple’s marriage will succeed or fail from watching and listening to them for just 5 minutes (Gottman,
1999) . And 91% of the time, he’s right.
Gottman and his colleagues believe that in order for marriages to succeed, they need to be "emotionally intelligent." They find ways for couples to keep the negative thoughts about each other from overtaking their positive ones. Strong marriages have a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions; and, when this ratio starts to drop, a cou
ple is headed for divorce. Gottman has also found that certain facial expressions during communication are also important. For example, eye-rolling after a spouse’s comments can be a strong predictor for divorce (Parker-Pope, 2002b).
Gottman holds workshops all over the United States for couples who want to improve their relationships. He has recently started offering workshops for gay and lesbian couples as well. He has found that same-sex couples tend to manage relationship conflict in more positive than negative ways. However, not all gay and lesbian couples can maintain these strengths.