An excerpt from Laurie Abraham's The Husbands and Wives Club. By Laurie AbrahamPosted Monday, March 8, 2010, at 10:01 AM ET "My goal is to be like the guy who invented Velcro," marriage researcher John Gottman once told an interviewer. "Nobody remembers his name, but everybody uses Velcro." Gottman's own road to Velcro-level fame started with a 1998 article in the Journal of Marriage and the Family. He and his colleagues at the University of Washington had videotaped newlywed couples discussing a contentious topic for 15 minutes to measure precisely how they fought over it: Did they criticize? Were they defensive? Did either spouse curl his or her lip in contempt? Then, three to six years later, Gottman's team checked on the same couples' marital status and announced that based on the coding of the tapes, they could predict with 83 percent accuracy which ones were divorced. Soon reporters had dubbed Gottman's research facility the "love lab," and his powers of prognostication had increased: In another published report, he said he could pick out future divorcees 91 percent of the time based on coding a mere five-minutes of tape. Over the next decade, Gottman's narrow, bald head, fringed by a neat, gray beard and topped by a discreet yarmulke, began to appear everywhereon 20/20 and The Today Show, in the New York Times Magazine and the Atlantic, and in hundreds of newspapers across the country. Malcolm Gladwell devoted most of a chapter to him in his huge best-seller [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316010669?ie=UTF8&tag=dblx-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0316010669"]Blink[/ame]. In a 2007 survey asking psychotherapists to elect the 10 most influential members of their profession over the last quarter-century, Gottman was only one of four who made the cut who wasn't deceased. "Many in the field now believe that most of what we know about marriage and divorce comes from his work," states an article accompanying the Top 10 list. As Gottman's acclaim has grown, I've many times thought that if we were brave enough, all of us marrieds and, most importantly, would-be marrieds, would take a trip to the love lab. We'd sit facing each other, video running, pulse sensors attached to our fingertips, discuss a problem for 15 minutes or so, and come away knowing the awful or joyful truth. We'd know whether to marry orno matter how good the relationship seemed at the presentwhether to pull away and save ourselves (and any children, for God's sake) the future heartbreak. I imagined a chain of love labs around the country, scanning couples' marital chances as mammograms screen for breast cancer.