Here's The Secret To A Lasting Marriage, According To A Relationship Expert

by Sheena Sharma

If you're scared to get married because you're afraid it might end up in divorce, listen to this doctor's theory on happy marriages.

World-renowned marriage expert Dr. John Gottman believes the 5:1 ratio, also referred to as "the balance theory," is the key to a happy marriage. What he means by this is, for every five positive interactions you have with your partner, you should have one negative interaction.

According to him, positive interactions can be anything from smiling and laughing with your partner to being inquisitive and saying, "I love you." Negative interactions, on the other hand, can mean arguing with your partner or criticizing him or her.

Gottman writes on his blog,

The bottom line: even though some level of negativity is necessary for a stable relationship, positivity is what nourishes your love.

Dr. Gottman has also written quite a few books on how to sustain a marriage, and he suggests one way to have more positive interactions is to practice more gratitude. The couples who don't stick to this ratio, he says, are more likely to get divorced.

As much as I respect Gottman's theory, I'm not sure a happy marriage can be boiled down to such a simple formula. I think maybe people like Gottman come up with theories like the 5:1 ratio because in life, it's easier to have faith in something. And having some sort of order in the world helps us navigate abstract things.

Like, some of us believe in horoscopes. Some have religion they turn to for answers, and others are more spiritual. Gottman's 5:1 ratio might be a beacon of hope for couples on the verge, but that doesn't necessarily mean if you practice it, it will save your marriage.

Celebrity breakups might be a bad example to use here, but let's just take a look at Taylor Kinney and Lady Gaga. They were so happy and in love, and they were even engaged. But, they just recently called it all off.

Lady Gaga posted this Instagram of her and Taylor, citing "long distance" and "complicated schedules" as the main reasons for why they didn't work out. So, despite sending positivity and support to one another, they didn't last. Then again, I don't really know the day-to-day details of their relationship, so I can't be certain my claim is accurate.

That being said, I think couples should try Gottman's ratio out to see if it strengthens their marriage. But sometimes, no matter how much effort you put in, happiness in love just isn't in the cards.

And it has nothing to do with the way the people treat each other, and everything to do with outside forces.

Citations: The secret to a happy marriage is the '5:1 ratio', expert reveals... so do you do this in your relationship? (Daily Mail), The Positive Perspective: Dr. Gottman's Magic Ratio! (The Gotten Institute)