His conclusion was that the most important thing successfully long marriages have in common-among men and women-is the quality of the friendship the couple shares.
Before you move in together, and particularly before you get married, there are four areas to consider and talk about together.
Talking about these beforehand can make your transition into co-habitation much smoother and more fun because it eliminates assumptions and unpleasant surprises.
The four areas are: Romance, Social Life, Work and Money. Gottman has created a pack of cards to help make the process of these conversations easier. It's called 52 Questions Before Marriage or Moving In.
Here's an example of the questions from one card in each of the four categories to discuss with your beloved.
Social Life: How strong are your feelings about visiting relatives on holidays and other occasions? Whose will you visit, and how often? How will you each keep up family traditions, obligations, and social niceties?
Work: How will you decide who is responsible for which chores? When the workload gets lopsided, how will you address the issue? Are you willing or able to hire an outside person to help?
We often assume that our partner will see these issues exactly as we do, since we love each other so much. It can be quite a surprise to discover that we differ in important ways.
The discovery of differences is an opening to deepening together. Both people will need to yield in some areas and be yielded to in others. Sometimes you will agree –how delightful!
When you don't agree, you will enter together into a realm of discovery and growth. This is one of the opportunities an intimate relationship offers us uniquely, and one we can be grateful for even as it stretches us.