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A scientist in the book Blink claims he can predict likelihood of a couple's divorce with 95% accuracy by observing them.

How? Married couples are filmed while having a conversation on a topic of disagreement. They aren't arguing, but instead conversing about something that isn't a huge matter of contention. The book used the example of a couple talking about their new dog. The wife likes the dog; the husband doesn't care for the dog, but it's not an issue they're going to scream about.

The scientist then analyzes the film and painstakingly assigns a number to each and every facial expression each person makes during the conversation, and then the resulting number is a predictor of whether the couple will eventually divorce. It's supposed to be amazingly accurate.

This made me think of two things: First, I wish I could take this test to see how my husband and I would fare, and secondly I also wonder if there are just some couples that can't fix their marriage. In other words, if science can predict who will divorce, does this mean that there are simply some marriages that will not work out, no matter how hard the two people try to make it work?

My grandmother says that every marriage can be saved if only both people are able to commit to the marriage. I don't buy that, but I do think that there are some situations when a marriage can be saved. Does this research suggest that there are some marriages that aren't going to work, even if both people want it to?

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2 comments

  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 02 June 2009 19:56 posted by Guest

    Do the work then!: Your grandmother is right. How couldn't a marriage be saved if both partners both work at it?

    Are you working at it?

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 25 February 2009 10:58 posted by Guest

    I think you misunderstood the example a little: That's John Gottman's research, if I remember right. And in his studies, he has found that the best predictor of divorce was contempt on the part of one or both partners. If he can find body language and vocal signals that point to contempt, that partner has already begun to distance himself from the marriage. Which makes sense, because if you have contempt for someone, you no longer respect them as a person, and I don' t think you can really love a person as a romantic partner without respect.

    You don't need to take this test. Simply ask yourself how many times you have felt contempt for your husband, or thought he showed you contempt. If it's coming up regularly...you need to ask yourself some hard questions.