- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (March 16, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0609601040
- ISBN-13: 978-0609601044
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Customer Reviews: 2,460 customer ratings
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#142,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1102 in Marriage
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert Hardcover – March 16, 1999
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According to most relationship books, the key to a solid marriage is communication, communication, communication. Phooey, says John Gottman, Ph.D., author of the much-lauded Why Marriages Succeed or Fail. There's much more to a solid, "emotionally intelligent" marriage than sharing every feeling and thought, he points out--though most couples therapists ineffectively (and expensively) harp on these concepts.
Gottman, the director of the Gottman Institute, has found through studying hundreds of couples in his "love lab" that it only takes five minutes for him to predict--with 91 percent accuracy--which couples will eventually divorce. He shares the four not-so-obvious signs of a troubled relationship that he looks for, using sometimes amusing passages from his sessions with married couples. (One standout is Rory, the pediatrician who didn't know the name of the family dog because he spent so much time at work.)
Gottman debunks many myths about divorce (primary among them that affairs are at the root of most splits). He also reveals surprising facts about couples who stay together. They do engage in screaming matches. And they certainly don't resolve every problem. "Take Allan and Betty," he writes. "When Allan gets annoyed at Betty, he turns on ESPN. When Betty is upset with him, she heads for the mall. Then they regroup and go on as if nothing's happened. Never in forty-five years of marriage have they sat down to have a 'dialogue' about their relationship." While this may sound like a couple in trouble, Gottman found that they pass the love-lab tests and say honestly that "they are both very satisfied with their relationship and they love each other deeply."
Through a series of in-depth quizzes, checklists, and exercises, similar to the ones he uses in his workshops, Gottman provides the framework for coping with differences and strengthening your marriage. His profiles of troubled couples rescued from the brink of divorce (including that of Rory, the out-of-touch doctor) and those of still-happy couples who reinvigorate their relationships are equally enlightening. --Erica Jorgensen
From the Inside Flap
ers and Johnson were pioneers in the study of human sexuality, so Dr. John Gottman has revolutionized the study of marriage. As a professor of psychology at the University of Washington and the founder and director of the Seattle Marital and Family Institute, he has studied the habits of married couples in unprecedented detail over the course of many years. His findings, and his heavily attended workshops, have already turned around thousands of faltering marriages.
This book is the culmination of his life's work: the seven principles that guide couples on the path toward a harmonious and long-lasting relationship. Straightforward in their approach, yet profound in their effect, these principles teach partners new and startling strategies for making their marriage work. Gottman helps couples focus on each other, on paying attention to the small day-to-day moments that, strung together, make up the heart and soul of any relationship. Being th
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Sadly, then I read the chapter on "why couples don't make it." Shoot...they mostly apply to us. I analyze and nag too much, my husband is critical and snide all the time and we've let our friendship dwindle to low ebb. We've been married for over 2 decades and it's hard to see us change enough and in enough time to avoid divorce. We're both that miserable.
The beauty of the book is that it provides excellent analysis and descriptions of both success and failure in marriage: literally, the author and all professionals who apply these principles can predict whether or not a couple will be able to resolve their conflicts successfully or not within a very short period of time based on how they treat each other. Certainly, the marriages that can seem destined to failed can be turned around if both spouses embrace the process and are willing to work on THEMSELVES and not so much try to "fix" their spouses. So clearly explained, all problems (and ALL marriages encounter problems...you newlyweds are kidding yourselves if you don't believe this) can be divided into the Solvable and Unsolvable.
Obviously, by definition, most Solvable Problems can be solved. And it doesn't have to be that Unsolvable Problems lead inevitably to divorce. Sometimes the problem can't be changed by either party such as one becoming ill with cancer or diabetes and the other can't abide having a spouse who is ill. But even having a "mixed marriage" such as 2 conflicting religions can be worked out if they ignore their families' and friends' condemnation and agree to adhere to either or both religions--together or separately--and doing the same for children.
Even couples who can't agree on whether or not to have children or cannot procreate themselves to the sorrow of either or both spouses can be resolved well enough to stay together and be happy. If nothing else, Unsolvable Problems can make the marriage stronger if the parties turn to each other in love and for support instead of turning away from each other in anger or sorrow.
It's all a matter if you require to get your own way on every issue or allow yourself to build up ginormous resentment by always being the one who caves in to your spouse's demands, supposedly just to keep the peace. That's not a peaceful existence.
Right now, I'm not sanguine that it'll work but my husband and I will both give it the ol' college try. I'll keep you posted.
1) Learning to enhance one's love maps
2) Nurturing fondness and admiration for each other
3) Turning toward each other instead of away from
4) Letting One's Partner Influence You
5) Solve the Solvable problems
6) Overcoming gridlock over unsolvable ones
7) Creating shared meaning
Filled with plenty of tips and advice, the authors know that marriage has far more complications in real life. In fact, one criticism of the first edition of this book is the heavy dependence on data and scientific analysis, just like a book having lots of theory but little practice. This second edition tries to correct this imbalance by putting their findings to work through the Gottmann Institute. Using direct support for couples, marital therapies, and training sessions, they have accumulated more statistics on the Seven Principles. They claim that couples who read the book without additional professional assistance "were significantly happier in their relationship." Not only that, the helpfulness continued even after a year. Updated for more diverse groups, the book now includes findings for same-sex couples, new parents, and mixed marriages. The questionnaires are updated. The statistics are refreshed. The numbers are crunched with consistent results.
Let me offer three thoughts on this book. First, this book speaks deeply into the issues of marriage. The way the authors have written show how much they understood couples and the marital struggles. Many of the examples given have struck a chord in readers deeply. The love maps questionnaire for instance, force individuals to dig a little deeper into their hearts prior to answering the simple Yes/No questions. It is not easy to simply tick off an answer thoughtlessly. They show us that marriage is not about "knowing" each other mentally, it is a lot more about connecting with one another at every level. While reading a book alone may not necessarily heal a marriage, it can certainly orientate any marriage more constructively. Second, this book is high on implementation. In other words, many of the suggestions are easy to understand and implement. While there are lots of scientific work and data analysis, one may accuse the authors of analysis till paralysis. That is not true, especially in this new and updated edition. The chapter on "Coping with Typical Solvable Problems" is a case in point. The authors take a break between Principles 5 and 6 to include some modern distractions like the electronic additions, relations with in-laws, money matters, housework expectations, sex, and the ubiquitous nuisance: Stress. Third, this book contains many packages of helpful tips. Those who like to have ready to remember strategies will appreciate them. Some of the more notable ones are:
Six Signs of Failing Marriage
Seven Week Course in Fondness and Admiration
Stress Reducing Conversations
Seven Tips for Listening to Fears and Sadness
Two Kinds of Marital Conflicts: Perpetual and Solvable
Seven Steps to Dealing with Emotional Injuries
Signs of Gridlocks
Four Pillars of Shared Meaning
The Magic Five Hours
Even if readers do not agree with all of the principles, I am convinced that at some point in the book, they would be touched. I have read this book more than twice and are still amazed at the dynamism and wisdom of the teachings. This book remains my favourite book for marriages of all types.
Rating: 5 stars of 5.
This book is provided to me courtesy of Harmony Books, a division of Random House Book Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
Top international reviews
Wish I had known some of this sooner.
Certainly helped me get closer to wifey and identify things I do which really aren't helpful to our marriage. Recommended by me.
This is in my top 3 of well-research self-help books.
If you're married: get it.
If you aren't: get it.
Will change your mind about a lot of things and will help you in many ways.
I recommend for all married couples and especially Christians.
The author is gifted and experienced.