Gottman wanted to know more about how the masters created that culture of love and intimacy, and how the disasters squashed it. Worried about the impact these divorces would have on the children of the broken marriages, psychologists decided to cast their scientific net on couples, bringing them into the lab to observe them and determine what the ingredients of a healthy, lasting relationship were. For the past four decades, he has studied thousands of couples in a quest to figure out what makes relationships work.
Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship.
With a team of researchers, they hooked the couples up to electrodes and asked the couples to speak about their relationship, like how they met, a major conflict they were facing together, and a positive memory they had.


When the researchers analyzed the data they gathered on the couples, they saw clear differences between the masters and disasters. The disasters looked calm during the interviews, but their physiology, measured by the electrodes, told a different story. Even when they were talking about pleasant or mundane facets of their relationships, they were prepared to attack and be attacked. And people who treat their partners with contempt and criticize them not only kill the love in the relationship, but they also kill their partner's ability to fight off viruses and cancers. Being mean is the death knell of relationships.Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together.


From the research of the Gottmans, we know that disasters see negativity in their relationship even when it is not there. One of the telltale signs of the disaster couples Gottman studied was their inability to connect over each other’s good news. But research shows that being there for each other when things go right is actually more important for relationship quality.



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