BY JOHN GOTTMAN, PH.D. In the Gottman scientific research program there were three phases. Phase 1: The Discovery of Reliable Patterns of Interaction Discriminating the “Masters” From the “Disasters” of RelationshipsThe first phase of our research was devoted to the discovery of reliable patterns in observational data. In the research with couples, we needed to see if there were indeed patterns of behavior, or sequences of interactions that could discriminate happy from unhappy couples. It was not at all clear that these patterns existed. Roger Bakeman and I (using Jim Sackett’s ideas) began developing the math for sequential analysis, which now is a well developed methodology. We began discovering consistent sequences that differentiated happily married from unhappily married couples. I wrote about this work in a book called Marital Interactions: Experimental Investigations (Academic Press, 1979).Research on couples had begun in 1938 with the publication of a book by Louis Terman. They had interviewed couples and given them questionnaires, but systematic observation of couples only started in the 1970s in my lab and a few others around the USA. Psychology at that time was having a great deal of difficulty establishing reliable patterns in the personality of one individual. State of the art advice was that psychologists