Principles for Making Marriage Work

The “7 Principles for Making Marriage Work” was written by the psychologist John Gottman. This blog will be a summary of those 7 principles.

Enhance your love maps. 

Love centers around being great friends, the first skill that’s required is an understanding of what’s important to your partner. Thinking about the details of the activities and relationships in which your loved one is involved creates a map in your mind of what’s going on in their world. This understanding enables you to know what they’re thinking and feeling.

Nurture fondness and admiration

Showing respect and appreciation of one another’s good qualities is essential for maintaining a positive view of each other. Happy couples can and do easily recall why they fell in love with each other, which continually fosters feelings of fondness and admiration. If these feelings cannot be remembered, the marriage will almost certainly fail.

Turn toward each other.

Happy couples develop the habit of turning toward each other in their daily interactions in order to accomplish acts of kindness. Rather than relying on occasional romantic getaways or expensive gifts, they pay attention to each other every day by doing things for and with each other. Examples include text messages to check-in and phone calls to listen to each other’s stories. These small acts build a couple’s emotional bank account, which helps prevent turning against or away from one another during times of conflict.

Let you partner influence you.

The happiest and most stable marriages are those in which partners listen to and respect each other’s point of view when disagreements arise. Carefully considering each other’s perspective allows partners to find compromises that provide each person some degree of satisfaction. Over 80% of marriages fail if one partner refuses to be influenced.

Solve your solvable problems.

Happily married couples bring up issues without using a harsh tone. They recognize when they or their partner have become emotionally overwhelmed, and offer their spouse soothing messages. When the conversation devolves into criticism or takes a nasty tone, they make and accept attempts to repair the relationship by apologizing or asking to take a 20-minute break until they can each discuss the issue calmly. During that time they take deep breaths to calm themselves so they can recall their partner’s positive attributes (rather than focus on their faults). Only then do they return to seeking a win-win solution.

Overcome gridlock.

Perpetual problems keep arising because one or both partners have unfulfilled dreams. Happy couples understand the importance of helping each partner realize their dreams. They keep talking until they discover what their dreams are and work together to enable there realization.

Create shared meaning.

Marriage is about more than raising kids and splitting up chores. Over the years happily-married couples create a positive family culture based on roles, traditions, memories, and a spiritual connection. The healthiest and happiest relationships develop a unique identity that defines what’s special about being a part of their family.

Great marriages do not just happen, they take effort. The Center is here to support you in making your marriage the best it can be.  Let us know if we can help. If you would like to learn more about the Center’s use of the Gottman method for marriage therapy please click on the link below.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.