Dr John Gottman can predict with 91% accuracy whether or not a couple will divorce. With a track record like this, it is worth listening to what he has to say about marriage and how to make it work. Gottman has devoted his life to observing what takes place in relationships, what makes them work and what makes them fall apart. He has identified 7 key principles as outlined below:
1. Enhance Your Love Maps
Gottman encourages couples to know each other well. Asking questions is a way to build up your information stores about one another and to update them as your partner grows and changes.
2. Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration
Spouses need to think positively about one another. By focusing on each other’s admirable traits, you build respect for one another, and it’s easier to see past the characteristics that irritate you.
3. Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away
This principle teaches that little things add up. By engaging in the daily stuff of life together, couples connect with each other.
4. Let Your Partner Influence You
You don’t have to be right all the time. Part of loving and respecting one another is being willing to listen to what the other has to say and to bend in response.
5. Solve Your Solvable Problems
Conflict is normal in a relationship, but sometimes a solution can be found just by making changes to the way things are done in your house. A respectful discussion can help you solve the problem, and Gottman offers tips for having such a conversation.
6. Overcome Gridlock
While solutions for some of a couple’s conflict can be solved through making adjustments, a good portion of it will be related more to your fundamental personalities, rather than your schedules. A couple involves two different people with their own ways of seeing life. Finding ways to work through these differences is key to a healthy marriage.
7. Create Shared Meaning
This is your family culture, where your traditions, rituals and rites of passage are found. There is a spiritual element to this principle, and it’s the one that bonds your family together.
The book is full of easy to follow examples as well as exercises you can complete as a couple to enhance your relationship
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.