The Magic Success Ratio for Relationships

Those of you have gotten to know me are aware that I’ve been married quite awhile and have a bunch of kids. Along the way I’ve learned many secrets to maintaining a good relationship. But… is there actually a ratio for success in relationships?

John Gottman, Ph.D., is recognized for his work on relationships and divorce prediction, involving the study of emotions, physiology, and communication. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Washington, where he founded the Family Research Lab, also known as “The Love Lab.” He has earned several awards for his research on marriage and parenting, including four National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Awards.

Dr. Gottman has authored or co-authored 119 published academic articles and 37 books, including the New York Times bestseller, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. In it, he says there is more to a solid relationship than communicating and sharing every feeling and thought.

These are his seven principles for making a relationship work:

• Maintain awareness of your partner’s world.
• Foster fondness and admiration.
• Turn toward instead of away.
• Accept your partner’s influence.
• Solve solvable conflicts.
• Cope with unresolvable conflicts.
• Create shared meaning.

Watch Dr. Gottman speak in this video…

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21 Responses to “The Magic Success Ratio for Relationships”

  1. rebecca hernandez says:

    This is an amazing point. The challenge is identifying with it, and utilizing it at the critical point in the relationship.

  2. Gary says:

    Quite an informative piece in a world where divorce is rampant and one where people are unable to understand their partners. Continue to do your good work Doc. Heaven richly bless you.

  3. Monica Morong says:

    I’ve read Gottman’s book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” and loved it. I would recommend it to any couple needing professional help with their marriage but can’t afford the cost of hiring a counsellor or psychologist. While the video is a good glimpse of Gottman’s advice, one really needs to explore his theories and relationshi-building exercises to fully reap the benefits. Congrats Greg on your 24-year long marriage! That’s amazing.

  4. We have made our marriage work for almost 60 years. It works when you work at it every day.

  5. ZITA LIM says:


  6. Pete & Agnes Peeters says:

    We made it for 61 years and never heard of
    “The Magic Success Ratio” We have 5 adult children,
    12 Grandchildren & 6 Great-grandchildren.
    We both came from large Catholic families.
    Thought this a great oopportunity to boast a bit.

    Pete & Agnes

  7. J. Michael Smith, Sr. says:

    My wife and I were married for forty six years, four months and thirteen day’s when she passed away from a heart attack. We didn’t fight argue, and tyhe little spats we had we could get over just by talking. She’s been gone for almost two years and I miss her as much now as I did when she left. My desire is to go to Heaven where she is and do what I told her I would. That is,To love her forever.

  8. Derrick says:

    What he is saying is quite true but In my mind there are other influences that have to be dealt with first which cause a marriage to get so negative. Only when couples learn to deal with these issues can they really inject more positive vibrations into the relationship.

  9. geet says:

    See its ok…. but every principle need to be applied from both sides…. single person alone cannot make any relationship work….. plz help….

  10. Rajinder Kumar says:

    Expectations are the causes of miseries.
    Relationships work best when each one respects the others view and does not take him/her for granted. I have been married for thirty six years have had ups and downs its natural for a healthy relation.What counts in the end is both are happy with differences left behind.

  11. lakshmi says:

    one should evelop an attitude to zccept the other person as he is with his virtues as well as vices.No body on this earth is a paragon of virtues.develop patience and do not point out the foibles then marriage will work

  12. i was married for 30 years then my wife passed away with cancer we had the normal tiffs in life but always made up ive since met another wonderful woman that i love very dearly but i will never forget my late wife whoom i love so much i believe relationships will always work if both people love each other enough

  13. Louis Colaco says:

    We are married for 44 years and live in India. I like what Laura Sullivan and Pete & Agnes write. We have tried to work on the relationship almost on a daily basis sinc the last 44 years and have recommended it to young couples. I strongly feel that maths should not be part of the relationship as it will tend to be too calculating. Another factor that has kept us going and growing is our common pursuits in educating the economically disadvantaged and in pro-life work.

  14. Dilip says:

    Very useful tips for everyday real life relationship.

  15. Louis Colaco says:

    I would like to add “The relationship is to be based on unconditional giving to bring out the best in each other and expecting similar response from the other partner for mutual benefit. This becomes possible when God is at the center of our lives”

  16. Jane Jenkins says:

    My husband & I were married almost 51 years when he died due heart problems. Getting to know each other’s needs/desires is important. He always seemed to know when I was having a hard day & said you look like you need a hug. He realized this in spite of the painful day he was having due to arthritis. This was the result of working & learning all those years. It is never a 50/50 proposition. I tell our younger ones they will always be learning with God leading.

  17. rachel says: says:

    In a relationship, it would only be good when God is in the center of your relationship the rest will follow

  18. If a couple develops the attitude of giving the first place of their lives to the Lord God, and follow the principles of Love your neighbour as yourself all should be well. That is to place God in the center of our relationship.

  19. michael says:

    jesus came from the all mighty god himself, cause we have never listen to his fraith. so he gave his only son for us to decied if we believe in him and goodenns to all life that was giving. all we do is lies to know that we are giving for our sin. just how far you think you can take your sin and be with CHIRST if you belive in JESUS and GOD HIMSELF. why do we let ourself be of greed and not give back to all life and to said it is all right to slave any boby that we choose.

  20. pendo says:

    to maintain amarriage relationship both parties need to play their part,its all about work.its my prayer that we will value relationships as how God intended them to be…..its easier said than done…but all the same we need to work at it….God is and has always been faithful.

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