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Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last Paperback – June 1, 1995
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From the Back Cover
You'll also learn:
More sex doesn't necessarily improve a marriage
Frequent arguing will not lead to a divorce
Financial problems do not always spell trouble in a relationship
Wives who make sour facial expressions when their husbands talk are likely to be separated within four years
There is a reason husbands withdraw from arguments--and there's a way around it
Dr. Gottman tells you how to recognize attitudes that doom a marriage--contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling--and provides practical exercises, quizzes, tips, and techniques that will help you understand and make the most of your relationship. You can avoid patterns that lead to divorce, and Why Marriages Succeed or Fail will show you how.
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1) too much time is spent bragging to/assuring the reader that the research conducted at Gottman's lab was groundbreaking and amazing. The fact is, the vast majority of the couples Gottman studied were white, well-educated, and had economic advantages. He also exclusively studied heterosexual couples. If your demographics deviate from those of his core research participants, this book may be less helpful for you.
2) to an almost laughable degree, women are identified as the "problem starters" in the examples of couples in the book. Escalation in conflict is assumed to be because of physiological (so, basically, unchangeable) attributes of the man and behavioral (controllable) choices of the woman. We know now that the gendered behavior described in this book is far more learned and socialized than genetic and innate, and I believe that future editions of this book should be updated to reflect this evolving knowledge.
With that being said, if you are like the individuals in the couples Gottman studied- predominantly white, well-educated, and financially a-ok- you may find that much of this book rings true, and that you can identify yourself and your marriage amongst the marriage types, "4 horsemen of the apocalypse", and gendered behavior. His advice about how to categorize and navigate conflict is helpful in any conflict, not just marital conflict.
While this book can tend towards the academic at times in the earlier chapters,it comes into its own as a practical guide at around Chapter Seven with its "Four Keys to Improving Your Marriage' and continues to offer invaluable practical advice until the end.
I would recommend this book for anyone in a relationship and congratulate Dr. Gottman on his contribution to human understanding.
Top international reviews
It contains very insightful tips and many questionnaires you can do with your partner/alone to improve your relationship and grow as a couple.