“The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”, a Book Review

John Gottman was a long term member of the faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle.  Now retired from university teaching, he is head of the Gottman Institute, along with his wife Julie Gottman, Ph.D.  He has spent his entire career studying and researching what the attributes are of healthy and successful couples.  He is considered a pre-eminent authority on this topic.  This book draws together the main concepts of his research and is presented for the individual or couple interested in improving their marriage.   It is not a technical or clinical book.

Gottman presents concepts for improved communication styles, viewpoints on various conflict styles, and solutions for differences of opinion on significant issues.  He offers options to work with all of theses. In his research he studied physiological responses to love and conflict and presents measurable suggestions for couples whose conflict has become “flooded”—and how to resolve these situations.  The book itself can be read by an individual, or a couple can work through it together.  Each chapter has discussion topics at the end which can guide couples in closer relationships.

One of the hallmarks of Gottman’s work is what he calls “Love Maps”, which means he believes the more a couple really knows about each other, the more grace they can extend and the more compassion they can offer each other.  The chapters are laid out so that couples can improve their Love Maps and be in closer harmony.  This book is considered a classic and is highly recommended for couples seeking to improve their relationship.

by Rev. Dr. Jack Ragland, Clinical Director