The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert

by John M. Gottman , Nan Silver

Number of pages: 271

Publisher: Harmony

BBB Library: Parenting

ISBN: 978-0609805794

About the Authors

John M. Gottman : John Mordecai Gottman is a professor emeritus in psychology known for


Nan Silver : Nan Silver is a journalist, blogger and New York Times best-selling


Editorial Review

When we sat down to write the first edition of this book, we were excited to share the results of laboratory research into relationships but we knew we'd face some skepticism. Could scientific study of something as intangible, idiosyncratic, and personal as marriage relations deliver useful advice to couples in the real world? Our goal was nothing more ambitious than to uncover the truth about marriage–to finally answer the questions that have puzzled people for so long: Why is marriage so tough at times? Why do some lifelong relationships click, while others just tick away like a time bomb? And how can you prevent a marriage from going bad, or rescue one that is already in trouble? Thanks to decades of research, these questions can finally be answered.

Book Reviews

"The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work is the definitive guide for anyone who wants their relationship to attain its highest potential." — Happy Sonship

"Whether your relationship is already strong or on the brink of collapse, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is a worthy read. It's a practical marriage workshop tucked inside the cover of a book." — Web Psychology

"Gottman includes a helpful activity to remind couples of the partner they fell in love with called “I appreciate.” He suggests readers list three or more of their partner’s positive characteristics along with an incident that illustrates each quality. Then read your lists to each other." — Psych Central

"It is my favorite book to lend to couples because it outlines in very easy to understand and specific ways to improve a marriage." — Megan Torrey Payne

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Wisdom to Share

Emotionally intelligent couples are intimately familiar with each other's world.

Without such a love map, you can't really know your spouse. And if you don't really know someone, how can you truly love them?

For all of their power, love maps are only a first step. Happily married couples don't "just" know each other. They build on and enhance this knowledge in many important ways.

The best test of whether a couple still have a functioning fondness and admiration system is usually how they view their past.

How often do you think happily about your partner when you're apart?

This active focusing on your partner's merits allows you to nurture gratefulness for what you have instead of resenting what is missing.

Moreover, sometimes couples resist searching for and expressing gratitude for their spouse's positive behavior because, they tell me, doing so feels phony to them.

When the husband and wife read or listen to the news together, or chat while they eat lunch, or engage in lots of such interaction, they tend to remain happy.

Avoid queries that start with "Why?" People who come from a problem-solving orientation tend to love this word. But in a discussion about what your partner is feeling, "Why?" will almost always sound like criticism.

Sometimes people speak in metaphors, sort of like poetry. If you pick up on this when your partner is upset, and reflect it back as part of your response, you convey that you are fully aware of what he or she is experiencing.

Statistically speaking, when a man is not willing to share power with his partner there is an 81 percent chance that his marriage will self-destruct.