How We Built This
Though all relationships look different, research has confirmed that there is a scientific 🔬 pattern to building long-term marriage health. That means any couple can build and sustain a healthy marriage—it just requires the right knowledge, skills, and effort.
That's where Lasting comes in.
We've distilled decades of research into accessible, 5-minute 📲 sessions designed to give you the right tools for building a healthy marriage.
In total, we used 126 different research studies conducted by 202 different researchers in the creation of our app-based program.
Every session is composed of original content ✏️ from the Lasting team and based on actual research and longitudinal marriage studies from the field.
A few of our research heroes include: Dr. John Gottman, Dr. Sue Johnson, Dr. Lesley Verhofstadt, Dr. Ted L. Huston, Dr. Renate M. Houts, Dr. Robert Levenson, Dr. Clifford Notarius, Dr. Howard Markman, Dr. Thomas Bradbury, and Dr. Frank Fincham. We have many more heroes, but not enough space!
Thank you for your amazing contributions to marriage. 👏
Core Program Principles
We’ve created hundreds of proactive, marriage-health-building sessions, but the “roots” 🌲 of Lasting, if you will, can be boiled down into the following 3 research-based principles.
1. Emotional Connection is the foundation of a healthy, lifelong marriage.
Many different researchers have identified this principle, and we agree with them. The emotional connection you share with your partner is the single strongest predictor 🔮 of long-term marital stability and satisfaction. Therefore, scientifically, the chief goal in marriage is keeping your emotional connection strong. We turn to 4 key researchers:
Dr. John Gottman, the nation’s foremost marriage researcher, found that couples in healthy relationships are highly emotionally intelligent. In fact, he pinpointed that healthy couples respond to 86% of one another’s attempts to connect with one another, while those who get divorced only responded to 33% of one another’s attempts. He found that responding to these “bids” from your partner is a strong predictor of marital success. View his study here.
Dr. Sue Johnson, the creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy (the most successful method of couple's therapy), has found that healthy relationships require a healthy emotional connection, wherein both partners are emotionally accessible, responsive, and engaged. She teaches that these key traits are predictive of long-term marital satisfaction and can revitalize distressed couples, too. ☔️ Another study conducted by her even suggests a direct link between the emotional bond we share with our partners and our physiological state, especially with regard to our level of stress. Strong emotional bonds help us regulate our emotions during stressful events. View her general EFT study here and her physiology study here.
Dr. Ted Hutton, a brilliant marriage researcher, found that it wasn’t an increasing amount of negativity and conflict that led to marriage failure, but instead a lessening of positive emotional interactions. 💑 His work corresponds with Gottman and Johnson. View his key study here.
Lastly, no conversation about emotional connection and attachment would be complete without giving credit to John Bowlby, whose landmark work in human bonding and attachment laid the groundwork for much of our study of emotional connection in adult relationships. View his work here.
2. Your “inner world” is the foundation of healthy marriage communication.
Contrary to popular opinion, the basis of great communication is not tips and tricks for how to talk to one another; rather, it's a curiosity and a habit of learning more about your partner’s “inner world." 🌎 This is because every person and spouse has a unique, subjective reality, which is different from yours—and it's changing every day. Therefore, learning about your partner's evolving inner world is the starting point of all healthy communication. We turn to another 7 researchers:
Your spouse's brain is a remarkable thing: during childhood years, 👶 it built a foundation (that's different than yours), but it also continues to evolve every single day, with every new experience, making it even more different than yours. 3 researchers have done incredible work in understanding these biological processes:
Dr. Adrienne Tierney, a remarkable researcher on human development at Harvard, suggests that the development of the brain is a lifelong process, but it's important to take note of the changes that occur during the early years because they are the foundation of what comes after. View Tierney’s study here.
Dr. Jay Giedd of the National Institute of Mental Health has tracked the brain development of nearly 4,000 people ranging in age from a few days to 96 years. 👵🏽 Every two years, Giedd invites his volunteers to the lab to scan their brains with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Giedd and his colleagues have learned that, contrary to neuroscientists' earliest assumptions, the brain continues to rewire itself even after puberty. View Giedd’s study here.
Dr. Jean Askenasy et al teaches us that the brain makes continuous changes at the synaptic level with every new experience, with every new process of learning, 🎓 memorizing, and/or mastering new and existing skills. Synapses are generated and dissolved, while others are preserved, in an ever-changing process of neuroplasticity. View Askenasy's study here.
Because the brain and therefore our partners are always changing, we must make it a goal to learn about our partner's world as much as we can. 2 researchers have helped us understand, empirically, why this is important:
Dr. Lesley Verhofstadt, a brilliant Belgian researcher, has shown that greater levels and insights of understanding your partner’s world (e.g. “empathic accuracy”) leads to greater satisfaction and overall emotional support. In a different study, Verhofstadt examined how support providers’ empathic dispositions (perspective-taking, empathy, and personal distress) as well as their situational empathic reactions (interaction-based perspective taking, empathic concern, and personal distress) relate to the feeling of being supported. In sum, it pays huge dividends to understand your partner's mind. View the first study here and the second here.
Additionally, Dr. Alyssa Shapiro, with Dr. John Gottman, has proven that learning about about your partner’s inner world and staying "up-to-date" on your knowledge of him/her is linked to high marital satisfaction—even throughout the transition to parenthood, which can be fraught with relationship stresses. In fact, it was this awareness and understanding that helped protect the new parents in the study. View that study here.
3. Selfless, “we-inspired” actions protect and enhance your marriage health.
Every day, you are confronted with decisions that can support your marriage (e.g. “Is this good for us?) or yourself (e.g. “Is this good for me?”). Making decisions that support your “team” 🙌 is one of the core foundations of long-term marital satisfaction and trust. We turn to another 3 researchers:
In a remarkable study, Dr. Jennifer Wieselquist suggests that individuals come to trust their partners when they perceive that their partners have enacted pro-relationship behaviors, departing from their direct self-interest for the good of the relationship. View the study here.
Dr. Scott Stanley et al discovered that attitudes about "sacrifice" in marriage and selfless actions are able to predict marital satisfaction over a long period of time. "Sacrifice attitudes" were also able to predict relationship adjustment in transitionary periods, like parenthood. View the study here.
Dr. Benjamin Seider, together with Dr. Robert Levenson, suggested that, in the midst of a conversation, when a couple uses more words denoting their “we-ness,” it’s correlated with more positive emotional behavior and less negative emotional behavior. It even has favorable physiological attributes, including lower cardiovascular arousal. The insight? It pays to think of your relationship as a "we," not a "me." View the study here.
If there was a 4th, it would be that learning how to deal with conflict is essential for a healthy, lifelong marriage (because all couples will have conflict). But, we find that, ultimately, the above 3 principles are the most important, because learning how to deal with conflict effectively stems from these 3: strong emotional connection, knowledge of your partner, and selfless decisions for the “we.” Regardless, we still believe that couples need to learn how to dialogue properly about conflict, and you can see all this and more in the Conflict series.
If you have any questions pertaining to our content and or our cited research, please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org