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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert [Paperback]

John Gottman Ph.D.
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 16 2000
John Gottman has revolutionized the study of marriage by using rigorous scientific procedures to observe the habits of married couples in unprecedented detail over many years. Here is the culmination of his life's work: the seven principles that guide couples on the path toward a harmonious and long-lasting relationship. Packed with practical questionnaires and exercises, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is the definitive guide for anyone who wants their relationship to attain its highest potential.

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert + The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships + Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
Price For All Three: CDN$ 45.54

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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 the Hardcover edition.


"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 MP3 CD edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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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
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Debunks a million myths, offers sound advice Jan. 22 2003
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gottman Crafts Highly Readable, Practical Guide April 13 2004
By A Customer
A friend of mine lent me a copy of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and said: "What do you think of this?" I read it and thought I would share my answer which is - it's a "fun read". Any author who calls his university's marital research laboratory a "love lab" has to have a sense of humor! And while this is true, this book is by no means frivolous.
John M. Gottman has crafted a highly readable, practical guide for "making marriages work" that is based on over sixteen years of extensive academic research. Based on what he has learned, he debunks the myths most commonly articulated as causes for failed marriages, talks about six warning signs he uses to predict divorce with an accuracy of 91% and then suggests seven principles he finds have been useful for couples interested in strengthening their commitment and their marriage.
Interestingly, Mr. Gottman discredits the notion of many traditional marriage counselors (a group to which he confesses to have been a member at an earlier stage of his career) who are quick to suggest that "an enduring, happy marriage" is all about good communications and "learning to resolve your conflicts." The problem, Gottman says, is that this approach just doesn't work.
Mr. Gottman says the simple truth, based on his research, is that "happy marriages are based on a deep friendship" - mutual respect, enjoyment of each other's company. This deep friendship is something he says can be developed and he provides many, many exercises related to each of his principles for couples to use as a framework for doing so.
As I was reading this book, I thought of another book I have read recently that might also be of interest to those looking for magic in their relationships.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Started a new chapter of my life! May 21 2004
By A Customer
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Bull. Just Research and Experience April 30 2004
By Sarah
Gottman debunks the pop-psychology theories and goes for the facts. His books are GREAT for those of us too cynical to swallow the latest relationsip fad, or for those too rational to believe we're all born into a box we can't get out of.
Gottman's approach is practical, sensible, and open to all types of people and all types of relationships. You don't have to give up who you are or try to make your marriage look like someone else's. Just start with simple steps to do more of what works to help your relationship, and begin to recognize what you might want to do less.
Best of all, it's all backed by science! Gottman doesn't just preach his assumptions and opinions. He's actually studied real people for three decades, and he has great examples of how similar signs of hope or problems show up in situations and people that may seem very different.
Even my husband, phobic of psychology, was willing to talk about the ideas in this book. There is no higher praise.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The book is very practical in it's approach.
Published 1 month ago by hanne
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very helpful and practical.
Published 1 month ago by James Faw
5.0 out of 5 stars solid and evidence based
I love sending my clients off to read Gottman or look up his videos. Marital counselling is challenging at the best of times for both therapists and clients. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Richard Schwindt
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Perfect not only for when you're relationship is in trouble but a great tool to keep it from getting there. We use it as a tool to keep dialogue open before there are any problems!
Published 2 months ago by Jessica Budynski
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I love the exercises in each chapter. The book is written based on research and I loved that the concepts did not focus on using the more traditional therapy communication styles... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lisa Giroux
5.0 out of 5 stars Must for all couples
If you cherish your marriage, this is the cheapest investment with potentially the biggest long-term impact in your marriage or your life. Read more
Published 4 months ago by ray
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
The book was very helpful and made a lot of sense. It was easy to read and didn't take long to get through.
Published 10 months ago by Andrea C Berge
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
I still have not read this entire book, but what I have read I liked and could apply the content to my own life and relationship. It was good.
Published 12 months ago by Miss Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Marriage handbook
Anyone looking for fixing their marriage with out counselling, highly recommend this book. It has some great tips. Good luck!
Published 18 months ago by Kirsten Charlebois
4.0 out of 5 stars Some good advice
I felt that this book was an easy and interesting read, and is likely valuable for most couples, whether you're married or not, or whether or not you're having troubles. Read more
Published on April 30 2012 by Dr. T
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