The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert Paperback – May 16 2000
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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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
If you're struggling in your relationship, this book may be able to help you. If you, like us, are (were) constantly fighting, you are probably undergoing lots of unnecessary... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Hannah
Bought a bunch of these for friends over the years. All new married couples at our church get a copy. Read morePublished 5 months ago by R. Freeman
Book was first edition and not up to date. Also took over 2 weeks to arrivePublished 8 months ago by Hazel S. Zemel
Great little overview. We enjoyed working through it but it is quite basic and common sense. Essentially if you are interested in and pay attention to your spouse all is well.Published 9 months ago by Didi
I love this book, I have referred to it many times. It has great information, I would definitely recommend it.Published 11 months ago by Brittany