Researchers Predict Which Relationships Will Last, Based on This…

Feb 14, 2024

Happy Valentine's Day! Today I will share some of what my amazing wife, Nicole and I shared with a marriage class we taught at our church this past Sunday.

After all, wouldn’t you agree that truly successful living involves being wildly successful in our relationships?

There is story after story of people in their later years, who regretted not investing more effectively into the relationships that mattered most. Let’s not let that happen to us.

Are you married or want to be married someday, and want it to last? After studying many couples, researchers at The Gottman Institute were able to predict with 94% accuracy which couples would last and which would not,  based on this one thing.

How they handled conflict!

 Researchers put each couple in a studio apartment with two-way mirrors, microphones, etc, told them to resolve some sort of conflict, and observed how they handled the conflict. 

With 94% accuracy, they could predict which couples would last and which would not simply by the way they attempted to resolve their conflict.

How are you doing in this area?

Conflict is a part of all healthy relationships, and marriage is no exception. The goal of a healthy relationship is not a conflict-free marriage, but rather a marriage that handles conflict in a healthy and positive manner that strengthens and builds up the relationship rather than tearing it down.

Here are 5 tips to help you resolve conflict in a healthy and effective manner:

1. Understand the reason for conflict. We all have a selfish flesh (James 4:1,2).

2.Understand that men and women are very different. See this as a good thing, rather than a negative, because it is a good thing. God knew exactly what he was doing when He created men and women differently.  

According to the book, “His Needs, Her Needs”:

       A Woman’s Top Needs:

  1. Affection
  2. Conversation
  3. Honesty & Openness
  4. Financial Support 
  5. Family Commitment

      A Man’s Top Needs:

  1. Sexual Fulfillment 
  2. Recreational Companionship
  3. An Attractive Spouse
  4. Domestic Support
  5. Admiration (Respect)

3. View the objective of conflict resolution as “our way” (God’s way), not “my way” (win at all cost), “their way” (I won’t have an opinion), “half way” (it’s 50/50 baby), or “run away” (ignore/avoid problems). 

4. Establish ground rules for conflict. Certain things should be off limits (Eph. 4:31, 32) 


  1. Criticize 
  2. Use “always’ or “never”
  3. Ignore/cold shoulder
  4. Raise voice
  5. Call names
  6. Touch in unkindness
  7. Use the kids
  8. Fight in front of the kids
  9. Bring up the past
  10. Talk outside to others (ie - in-laws)
  11. Embarrass publicly
  12. WIthhold intimacy
  13. Just walk away
  14. Force a quiet mate to talk
  15. Demean or condescend
  16. Try to win
  17. Talk about divorce

5. Be intentional to set yourself up for success in handling conflict. Implement the following winning strategies.


  1. Pray before talking
  2. Remember who you’re talking to - the love of your life
  3. Think the best of each other
  4. Listen well (James 1:19)
  5. Seek to understand their perspective (Prov 18:13, 17)
  6. Don’t react or defend
  7. Take a planned time out, if needed, with a definite time to reconvene. 

I hope this is helpful. Nicole and I taught an hour long marriage class on this subject of conflict resolution and these are simply the abbreviated notes. 

To be notified when we offer another online marriage class on this topic, or other marriage topics, in the future, please email [email protected] and include “Marriage Workshop” in the subject line.
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Was this helpful? Have a suggestion for future content? I’d love to hear from you. Will you please consider reaching out by way of email, or even better, one of my favorite messaging platforms… Facebook Messenger or Instagram Messenger, letting me know how this may have impacted you and sharing any suggestions you may have for future topics that you’d like me to share on? With Much Appreciation, Allan