The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
Title: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
Published: 1999
Page Count: 271
Format: Paperback
"Most marriages would be happy, life-long partnership is only couples knew how to correct the destructive behavior that leads to divorce. In this practical, easy-to-use guide, psychologist John Gottman reveals the simple truths behind happy marriages. Having scientifically analyzed the habits of married couples, he has established a tried and tested method of correcting problems... The Seven Principles will enable you and your partner to build a rewarding and long-lasting marriage."

If you have read about a researcher who is able predict if couples will divorce after listening to their conversations for five minutes, this is that guy. John Gottman has been researching relationships and what makes them tick since the 1970s. His predictions of divorce are greater than 90% correct, he says, which is backed by years of research with couples.

This beginning of this book tells about his research and yes, he is a little egotistical but he has every right to be. The rest of this book lays out how we relate to one another in marriage, good and bad. He uses concrete examples  and provides practical exercises for couples. His focus is on how we relate to each other and how we speak to each other. Gottman shows how influencing one another is a good thing, why marital friendship is key, and what wives and husbands can learn from each other. Arguing is normal but what we argue about and how we do so is what is important.

Here are some quotes from the book:

  • Keep working on your unresolvable conflicts. Couple who are demanding of their marriage are more likely to have deeply satisfying unions than those who lower their expectations.
  • Turning toward your spouse in the little ways is the key to long-lasting romance.
  • I have found that couples who have remained happily married for many years enjoy each other–foibles and all–because of the strength of their fondness and admiration.
  • One good indicator that you’re wrestling with a hidden dream is that you see your spouse as being the sole source of the marital problem.
  • There are few gifts that a couple can give each other greater than the joy that comes from feeling known and understood.

You MUST read this book if you are in a long-term partnership. If you are into workbooks, there are accompanying materials available on his website.

I have been recommending this book to friends, family, people in the grocery store–whoever will listen to me. Of all the books about sex, love and marriage I have read to date, this has been my favorite. This book is a classic and several new versions have been released. I think I may read it again!

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