The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, A practical guide from the country’s foremost relationship expert by John M. Gottman, PH.D. and Nancy Silver


 The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, A practical guide from the country’s foremost relationship expert  by John M. Gottman, PH.D. and Nancy Silver

  1. Inside the Seattle lover lab: The truth about happy marriages
    1. Predicting divorce with 91 percent accuracy
    2. Emotionally intelligent marriages
      1. Happily married couples have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones- emotionally intelligent marriage p3
      2. The more in touch with emotions (emotional intelligence) and the better able a child is to understand and get along with others, the sunnier that child’s future, whatever his or her academic IQ. p3
    3. Why save your marriage
      1. Statistics p4-5
        1. Chance of divorce of a first time marriage ending in divorce over a 40 year period is 67 percent
        2. 50% of all divorces occur in the first 7 years
        3. Divorce rates for second marriages is 10% higher
        4. People in unhappy marriages are 35% more likely to get sick
        5. People that stay married live 4 years longer than people who don’t
        6. Editorial note: The more complicated and emotional the divorce, the more expensive it will be, according to several attorneys nationwide. Divorce is big business in the United States. According to maritalstatus.com, a Web site geared toward divorce and remarriage, divorce is a $28 billion-a-year industry with an average cost of about $20,000. Complicated one’s can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
        7. Marital hostility can lead to elevated levels of stress hormones in children which can result in their suffering from truancy, depression, peer rejection, behavioral problems, and low achievement at school.
      2. Innovative research, revolutionary findings
        1. Why most marriage therapy fails
          1. Conflict resolution: Active listening technique – using “I” does not work
            1. Forcing couples to see the other persons perspective is supposed to lead to resolution but it does not long term
          2. Even happily married couples can have screaming matches, just by learning to communicate more sensitively does not lead to happier marriages
          3. Successful conflict resolution isn’t what makes marriages successful
        2. Exploding more myths about marriage
          1. Neuroses or personality problems ruin marriages – NO
            1. Key is finding someone you mesh with
          2. Common interests will keep you together – NO
            1. More important how you interact pursuing those interests
          3. You scratch my back and …. – NO
            1. It is really in unhappy marriages where this quid pro quo operates, happy spouses do not keep score
          4. Avoiding conflict will ruin your marriage – NO
            1. Shoving things under the rug can work, most important that the style works for both people
          5. Affairs are the root cause of divorce – NO
            1. Problems in the marriage send one or both looking for intimacy outside the marriage
          6. Men are not biologically ” built” for marriage – NO
            1. As more women work, the number of women having affairs has skyrocketed
          7. Men and Women are not from different planets – NO
            1. The determining factor in whether wives feel satisfied with the sex, romance, and passion in their marriage is, by 70% the quality of the couple’s friendship. For me the determining factor is, by 70% the quality of the couple’s friendship.
          8. What does make Marriage work
            1. Friendship vs fighting
              1. Happy marriages are based on deep friendship and mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other’s company.
              2. Friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best protection against feeling adversarial toward your spouse. P20
  • Over time anger, irritation and resentment can build to the point that the friendship becomes more and more of an abstraction. Eventually they end up in “negative sentiment override.”
  1. A Happy Couple’s Secret Weapon
    1. Repair attempt- Any statement or action, silly or otherwise, that prevents negativity from escalating out of control.
    2. The success or failure of a couple’s repair attempt is one of the primary factors in whether their marriage flourishes or flounders. P23
  • Most arguments are about deeper hidden issues that fuel the superficial conficts and make them far more intense and hurtful than they need to be.
  1. The purpose of marriage
    1. In the strongest marriages couples share a deep sense of meaning and support each other’s hopes and aspirations and build a sense of purpose into their lives together.
    2. Most marital arguments cannot be resolved even though couples will spend years trying to change the other spouses mind. It will not happen.
  • Couples need to understand the bottom line difference that is causing the conflict, then learn to live with it by honoring and respecting each other
  1. How I predict divorce
    1. The first sign: Harsh Startup
      1. Spouse starts off discussion negative, accusatory, sarcastic, critical which dooms the discussion to failure.
    2. The second sign: The four horseman
      1. Criticism – difference between a complaint and criticism
      2. Contempt – fueled by long simmering negative thoughts about a partner
        1. Belligerence – a form of aggressive anger because it contains a threat or provocation
  • Defensiveness – really a way of blaming your partner
  1. Stonewalling – no feedback
    1. Very common among men
    2. Usually used because of:
  2. Flooding – spouses negativity (criticism, contempt) is so overwhelming and sudden that it leaves spouse shell shocked
  3. Body language