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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert Paperback – May 16 2000

76 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (May 16 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609805797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609805794
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Gottman comes to this endeavor with the best of qualifications: he's got the spirit of a scientist and the soul of a romantic." ---Newsweek --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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It's a surprisingly cloudless Seattle morning as newlyweds Mark and Janice Gordon sit down to breakfast. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Bob Fancher on Jan. 22 2003
Format: Paperback
I practiced psychotherapy in New York City for fourteen years. Though I had training as a marriage counselor in addition to my main training as a psychotherapist, I turned away more couples than I accepted. Most years, I didn't take on more than one or two couples, if that.
There were many reasons for this, but fundamentally it was that marriage counseling rarely works. (About thirty-five to forty percent of the time, and half of those relapse, according to the best research.) I had made a vow when I went into training that I would never take on patients that I did not honestly believe I could help. (I can't say that I kept that vow sterling, being human--but I tried.) Most couples, I believed, could not be helped, so I didn't want to take their money or waste their time.
In hard, cold truth, most of what most marriage counselors teach is just made up. Concocted. Without any sound research base. That's just a fact. When I was in training, I was utterly shocked at this. I was appalled at the simple-minded dogmatism of marriage-counseling orthodoxy.
Most mental health care has a flimsier basis in research than its proponents admit (or even know, often), but in marriage counseling, the paucity of good research was almost total. (This evaluation of the low scientific basis of mental health care is not some private crackpot theory of mine; I wrote it up in my book "Cultures of Healing," which was published by the book-publishing arm of Scientific American in 1995 and will be republished, under a different title--"Health and Suffering in America: The Context and Content of Mental Health Care"--next year by Transaction Publishers/Rutgers.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21 2004
Format: Paperback
A few years ago, my marriage was going down the drain. I had no idea what was going on or what I could do about it. I felt helpless, hopeless and unhappy. Until then, I was very skeptical about these types of books so I never read them. But became so desperate that I opened this book in a store like a drowning person reaching for a straw. That was the beginning of the end. This book forced me to see my marriage from a completely objective point of view and helped me realize how I was part of the problem. Bad habits die hard but I kept making an effort to change. After a month or two, my spouse noticed this change and became curious about the book as well. We became even more interested in these things and read another book called "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato (I'd highly recommend this fabulous book too if you are ready to take one more positive step in your relationships). Now we appreciate each other. Now we talk about meaningful and interesting things in life. Even though this may sound very cheesy, in many ways we could say that our marriage is in a renaissance period. We still have a long way to go but there already is a newfound calmness in our lives that was never there before.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Csiki on Feb. 26 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked this up because it was on display on a Valentine's stand and started thumbing through it out of curiosity. Ended up purchasing it because it looked interesting. I'm not even married but it definitely applies to any couple. And why not get advice on making a marriage last before you're married rather than when it's in trouble?! The authors have some great views on communication and the dynamics of a relationship. Furthermore, the book doesn't just give opinions and advice; it's very hands on and gives interesting assignments for you and your partner to get to know each other at the deepest levels. Plus it's a super easy read! I would totally recommend this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Jan. 12 2004
Format: Paperback
Actually, I'm not sure *what* I expected. I guess I figured I'd hear more of the same ~ that a failing marriage is all about communication. I feared the advice in this book would be vague at best, but I gave it a shot (thanks Amazon reviewers), and now I'm grateful to have found it.
His first two chapters explain his findings after studying real life couples and how they interact. I found reading about other couples' arguments eye opening, as I sometimes saw myself in them. Being the objective observer in these cases allowed me to consider my own approach to arguments with my husband and instantly see how I unintentionally made things worse. The chapter "How I Predict Divorce" is especially helpfull. Our approach to an argument makes all the difference in the world, and it's so much more than "I understand what you're saying, but..." Gottman points out specific mistakes we all make that, over time, will chip away at the foundation of the relationship.
Gottman reminds us, though, that learning how to fight isn't going to single handedly save the marriage. The rest of the book is dedicated to how couples behave when they aren't fighting. Are you really, truly friends? Do you honestly know what's important to one another? Do you influence each other in a positive way? Questions like these force us to examine our relationship in depth. He includes exercises in each chapter (I haven't done these personally...right now, I'm the only one who's reading up on marriage and conflict) to hammer home the point. Honestly, I liked this book so much, I'd be interested in doing some of the exercises, but I'm not so sure my husband would. Let me put it this way...we aren't in the same place yet.
I highly recommend this book. I love the fact that Gottman can take his findings and share them with the reader in plain English. His approach is just right: informative and to the point.
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