In Marriage, Worse First Can Mean Better Later

Why facing stressful life events early in coupledom can lead to longevity

Russell Underwood / Corbis

Just a few months before John Gottman, a leading American marriage researcher and psychologist, was to be married, his father died, leaving Gottman to contend with overwhelming loss during what should have been one of the happiest times of his life. No one would have blamed him for putting the wedding on hold. But in the end, Gottman says, the strain of dealing with his grief made him that much more devoted to his future bride. "My wife helped me through it," he says. "I was able to cope with the loss, and it was really a bonding experience."


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