The Relationship Center of Jacksonville

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Gottman’s Relationship Research

Gottman’s Relationship & Marital Research

Much of the practice at The Relationship Center of Jacksonville is based on the relationship research of John Gottman, Ph.D. Dr. Gottman is recognized as the world's foremost researcher of marital stability and predictors of divorce, and has been studying couples for more than 40 years. His research allows him to predict divorce with better than 90% accuracy. Schedule an appointment in Jacksonville, Florida, and we'll help you bring life back to your relationship.


What Are the Four Horsemen

John Gottman identified specific behaviors and attitudes that he refers to as "The Four Horsemen." These enable him to predict with 85% accuracy whether or not a couple will divorce:

  • Criticizing or Blaming Your Partner (Using Words Like Always, Never, Anything, Nothing When Complaining or Blaming)
  • Being Defensive (Defending Your Innocence by Whining, "Yes...But," Counter-Complaining, or Attacking Your Partner)
  • Expressing Contempt (Implying That You Are Superior to Your Partner Through Sarcasm, Name Calling, Insults, Mockery, Being Smug, or Rolling Your Eyes in Disgust) — This Is the Single Most Powerful Predictor of Divorce
  • Stonewalling (Emotionally "Checking out of a Discussion" & Failing to Give Any Indication That You Are Interested in Your Partner's Perspective or Even Listening to Them)

Unhappy Couple

Avoid Divorce by Repairing the Discussion

No one is perfect and we all make mistakes in relationships. Repair attempts are simply goodwill gestures to try and make things better between you and your partner or spouse when things are becoming negative. Based on his relationship research, Dr. John Gottman is able to predict divorce with 93–95% accuracy based on the presence of the "Four Horsemen" and whether or not couples can repair their conflict discussions.

Gottman discovered that what determines whether or not repair attempts are effective in getting a discussion back on a constructive path is the condition of your friendship with your partner or spouse — not how good you are at making repair attempts. Take our Relationship Quizzes to assess how strong your friendship is in your relationship or marriage.

Are you worried about the Four Horsemen in your relationship, or discouraged that you and your spouse cannot repair discussions? You don't have to give up on your relationship just because you recognize the Four Horsemen in your interactions. A Certified Gottman Couples Therapist has the training and skills to teach you and your partner how to recognize and replace the Four Horsemen, and repair your conflict discussions. Learn more about Gottman's marriage research on our Resources page.