Straightforward in its approach, yet profound in its effect, the principles outlined in this book teach partners new and startling strategies for making their marriage work. Gottman has scientifically analysed the habits of married couples and established a method of correcting the behaviour that puts thousands of marriages on the rocks. He helps couples focus on each other, on paying attention to the small day-to-day moments that, strung together, make up the heart and soul of any relationship. Packed with questionnaires and exercises whose effectiveness has been proven in Dr Gottman's workshops, this is the definitive guide for anyone who wants their relationship to attain its highest potential. 'An eminently practical guide to an emotionally intelligent – and long-lasting – marriage' Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Orion Paperbacks (October 5, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0752837265
- ISBN-13: 978-0752837260
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
Science and Marriage going together like a horse and carriag
Debunks a million myths, offers sound advice
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. My point here is not to plug my book so much as to tell you that I know whereof I speak, and to encourage you to take my recommendation here seriously.)
If I had known John Gottman’s work back then, I would have had an entirely different approach to treating couples, and I would have taken more of them on. (No one in my three years of training ever mentioned Gottman, and I went to a pretty respectable institute. Gottman is just so at odds with conventional wisdom in the field that he wasn’t even taken seriously.)
Gottman’s opinions–though he denies that they are opinions–are based on admirable, extensive, carefully analyzed research. While there is much to criticize methodologically about this research, and it certainly is nowhere near as conclusive as he says, at least he has done real work–not sat around making stuff up and pawning it off on students and patients. His is the best research of which I (now, many years later) know. Even if it isn’t knock-down-drag-out conclusive, it is much better to have opinions based on extensive research and attempts to understand it rigorously than on no research, wild speculation, wishful thinking, and wooly feelings. Gotttman’s opinions are very good, for the most part.
This book does a nice job of conveying the gist of his work, in clear, practical form.
In my experience, most marriage counselors do more harm than good and teach more made-up nonsense that practical wisdom. So unless you can find someone who trained with Gottman, I’d say DON’T go to a marriage counselor–buy this book.
If you ARE seeing a marriage counselor, read this book and discuss with your counselor where his or her views differ. Ask for the basis for what your counselor does differently. Maybe it will make sense. But if your counselor is not open to the possibility of modifying his or her approach based on what you find valuable here, at least for your therapy, fire him. Or her. Whatever. Just run.
Why only four stars? Two reasons: (1) Gottman does not allow that for some significant minority, the difficluties in marriage are much more complex and intractable. E.g., while he is right that ordinary neuroses themselves do not kill marriage–so long as you marry someone whose neuroses match up with yours, or who can tolerate yours–it is certainly the case that some mental illnesses, such as paranoia and borderline personality, make marriage extremely hard. (2) A little humility on Gottman’s part would make this book much easier to read and leave more room for the intelligent, wise reader to disagree, modify, and make it his or her own. Gottman is much too taken with himself, and while his research is more extensive and careful than most anything else done in the field, marriage counseling ain’t physics (or biology or even sociology), and it certainly should not be granted the authority Gottman claims for it.
This isn’t the final word on marriage, but it is about the best of the overly-many words that have heretofore been uttered.
Seriously consider "7" before all other books on this topic!
Good marriages don’t necessarily have less conflicts than bad ones. Gottman gets under the surface and digs into such deeper issues as the maintaining of HONOR and RESPECT for your partner in the heat of all-too-common battles. Along the way he punches holes in a lot of marriage-counseling paradigms. In short, this book can improve a good marriage (or any similiar commitment between two people), heal a salvagable one, or explain why a bad one got to or beyond the point of no return. Or even serve as a form of CRUCIAL pre-marital counseling.
My question, why isn’t there a mandatory course in marriage at the high school level that incorporates Gottman’s research? Wouldn’t the knowledge gained be of as much or more importance than any other accumulated as teenagers head into adulthood? I consider topics such as those raised by Gottman to be of enormous value for my daughters to read (and discuss!) when they reach their mid-teens…better too early than too late!
Finally, something that works! Saved our 27 yr. marriage
Filled with tools my wife & I use to strengthen our marriage
The first two chapters give you an insight into where the book is coming from. The information gleened from the Seattle Love Lab gives you hope for a successful marriage and identifies key warning signs for trouble in your relationship.
The next seven chapters cover the principles in depth with skill building exercises to enhance your proficiency in each area. First is building a foundation with “Love Maps.” Next is developing a compassion and caring with “Fondness and Admiration.” Chapter 5 focuses on creating an intimate relationship by looking to your partner for help, support, and answers. Giving a higher value and priority to your partner follows allowing you to be influenced by them. The next three chapters cover problems in the marriage and how to handle them. Work, money, in-laws, [physical attraction], housework, and a new baby are the big six areas of conflict. Some problems are solvable and some not. How you handle the conflict is key. Next the book covers”Overcoming Gridlock” or creating a dialogue and point of acceptance for unsolvable problems. The final chapter is really about creating a shared vision for the marriage and the future of it.
The benefits of marriage are well documented; longer life, more money, healthier children, and better [physical activity]. “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” gives you a practical guide for achieving those benefits, and more!
Way better than I expected.
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.
Couples’ Counseling using Gottman
There is one big warning. Chapter Two lists the signs of divorce. This list is dangerous to the relationship if one or both read it and get discouraged or scared. I recommend that any couselor who uses this book, take the time to discuss this chapter in depth and emphasize hope. LOTS of HOPE.
Gottman is correct when he says that most couples come into counseling with one foot out the door already. Chapter Two can give them the final ‘reason’ to bolt out of the relationship.
With that said, I highly recommend the use of this book as a guide to couples’ therapy.
Good Luck and Peace in our time, Gregg Max Psy.D.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR EVERY COUPLE
Schools teach us some very important elements, but two areas where they fall short is failing to teach money management, and failing to teach relationship values and communication. Unless you have zero money or an endless supply of it, everyone needs to manage money and most of us will, at some point in time, develop an intimate relationship with another individual. Schools teach us how to read, write and all that good stuff, but they do not teach us how to survive in the REAL WORLD! With the high divorce rate and relationship failures, there is clear evidence many couples can certainly use some help and advice in both these areas.
“The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” focuses on developing strong, positive meaningful relationships and how to keep that nurturing love and respect for each other. Regardless of whether your relationship is in deep trouble or you simply want to enhance the wonderful relationship you have, I highly recommend this excellent self-help book. It is one of the best books on this topic in the marketplace – sincere best wishes for your future happiness.
Practicing psychologist loves Dr. Gottman’s work
Valuable insights into relationships!
He is to be considered as THE leading marital psychologist and far outranks other authors, e.g. John Gray, by his meticulously applying research methods to relationships. This is the hallmark of the book: the advice given is rooted in his more than 30 years of clinical research about marriage problems. And: it clearly helps!
The book is fun to read as it combines practical advice with highly interesting exercises which you can either do on your own or with your partner. Real life examples supplement and clarify the basic principles.
One of the very few psychologists who can explain their findings in everyday language! I can also recommend his other books, e.g. the heart of parenting