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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert Paperback – May 5, 2015
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"An eminently practical guide to an emotionally intelligent -- and long-lasting -- marriage."
-- Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
"Gottman stays refreshingly down to earth, rather than on Mars and Venus."
-- Bill Marvel and Geoffrey Norman, American Way
"Gottman comes to this endeavor with the best of qualifications: he's got the spirit of a scientist and the soul of a romantic."
"Twenty-five years of landmark marital research."
-- USA Today
"Offers something every relationship can benefit from."
-- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Astonishing new research!"
-- Woman's World
"Debunks many myths about divorce . . . reveals surprising facts . . . enlightening!"
About the Author
JOHN GOTTMAN, a leading research scientist on marriage and family, is emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington; executive director of his laboratory, the Relationship Research Institute; and cofounder of the Gottman Institute. He held an NIMH research scientist career award for twenty years. Dr. Gottman is the author of more than two hundred professional journal articles and forty-two books, as well as the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his extensive contributions to marriage and family research.
NAN SILVER is a former editor in chief of Health magazine and coauthor, with Dr. Gottman, of What Makes Love Last: and Why Marriages Succeed or Fail.
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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.
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.