The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Summary By John M. Gottman

Blog Title: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Summary By John M. Gottman
Name: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert
Author: John M. Gottman
Download Audio Book For Free at: AudioBooks
Book available in English at: Amazon, Flipkart
Book size: 288 pages


The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

Before Discussing today’s book summary “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”, let us first talk about book’s author John M. Gottman. He is a Professor Emeritus in Psychology, He is best known for his martial stability and relationship analysis through scientific observations, The lessons which derived from his work represents a partial bases for his relationship counseling movements that aim for relationships improvement and functioning and the avoidance of those behavior shown by Gottman and other researchers to harm Human relationships.

In The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, written with Nancy, Marriage researcher and Renowned clinical psychologist John Gottman, reveals what successful marriages look like and shows valuable activities to strengthen couples relationships. Gottman principles are research-based, he and his colleagues have researched more than 100 couples which includes newlyweds couple as well and long-term couples. Gottman and his colleagues have interviewed those couples and also made videotapes and also checked their heart rates, stress, blood pressure, immune system and also followed couples progress annually.

Gottman came to know that at the beginning of his workshop 27 percent of couples were at the high risk of divorce, and after three months only 6.7 percent were at risk but after six months the percentage was zero, Much more research was done by Gottman and his colleagues such as relapse rate etc.

Author has written The seven principles of making Marriage work with Nancy Silver, And this The seven principles of making Marriage work contains various chapters and principles.

Let’s begin with the summary of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work:

The seven principles of making Marriage work  Chapter 1 – Inside the Seattle love lab: The truth about unhappy marriages

This Chapter talks about how Gottman has made a loving lab, in this lab they had studied many couples how they monitored couples psychologically, Here author says that just by 5 minutes proper observation we can predict 91 percent of successful divorce, and these observations are based on Empirical studies. The author also says that couples therapy will not work long term because often, The essential ingredients are not tapped into, Author says that in emotionally intelligent marriages, dynamics is established where negative thoughts and feelings are kept from overwhelming the positive ones.

Author has also shared stats and Myths in this chapter

Author says that over 40 years period, 67 percent marriages end and half of which get divorced within 7 years of their marriage, people who stay in happy married life forever, they live 4 years longer and bad marriages lead to psychological and physiological problems, such as anxiety, stress blood pressure etc, Author also says That Happy Divorce in Better than disastrous and unhappy married life.

Author also talks about the myth which people have regarding marriages

Such as There is Myth that

1) Neurosis or personality problem ruins marriages, author says not that’s not true we all have quirks and it depends on how we handle them

2) Common interest keep people together, author says it may or may not be true- but it is all that “how” you do things together

3) Reciprocity keeps a good relationship, Author says this myth is Wrong, It is Reciprocity means keeping a tab on things, the author says that it is bad for relationships, Author says happy couple just do things because they feel good about Their relationship.

There are many more myths which Author has shared in this chapter such as man are not biologically built for marriages and etc, to understand each myth in more detail kind go through this book in detail, to buy this book here’s the link.

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 2 – How he Predict Divorce

While doing a research in his love lab, Gottman has asked couples to fight, argue and then resolve, here Gottman came to know that the issue is not that they argue but issue was How they argue, how makes the difference in the relationships

And in this chapter author also given the 4 signs of possible relational problems/divorce

Harsh startup-  it means how argument or discussion starts, harsh startup discussions starts usually with criticism and sarcasm, which are forms of contempt.
Four horsemen of the apocalypse- the author says that criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling are the most dangerous or toxic for a relationship.
Author has shared many more reasons which lead to marriage or relationship to problems such as flooding, bod language, bad memories etc

For better understanding to buy its free  audio book or can buy this book as well here is the link

Author says the reason which leads to divorce are

  • You see your marital problems are severe
  • Talking things over seems useless- you solve problems by your own
  • You start leading parallel life
  • Loneliness sets in

From chapter three onwards Author starts an Explanation of  7 principle which helps in making a relationship work.

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 3 – Principle 1 – Enhance Your Love map

Here author says, that the more you know your love partner the more intimacy happens, and hence it is known as or called as love map of your partner, here you need to know your partner very well, happy couples are very much familiar to each other they know each other very well,  here you know everything about your partner from small till big things.

Author has shared tools to improve love map such as

Love map questionnaire
Means self – assessment, to see how much the person really know his/her partner

Author has shared Exercises in this book such as
“LOVE MAP 20 QUESTION GAME” Here you need to ask your partner 20 things which is important to you
Make your own love maps: here you need to prepare your own question and has to fill your partner info such as what are the recent events going on in your partner’s life friends in partners life etc
Who am I: self-exploration exercise which allows you and your partner to build better love maps.

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 4 – Principle 2 – Nurture your fondness and Admiration

Here author says for the long term and happy relationship or for happy marriage it is really very important that couples admire and respect each other, the author says these two elements are really very important for any long-term relationship if its missing then love is missing. The author says Fondness and admiration prevent the four horsemen such as criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.

Author has also given a tool to improve fondness and admiration

Prepare Fondness and Admiration questionnaire, self- assessment to describe the current state of fondness and assessment
Exercise in the book.

I appreciate- here you need to write what all things you appreciate about your partner and then read out to them
The history and philosophy or your marriage- here you need to write down things or past positive incidents which have brought you both together.

Seven-week course in fondness and admiration-here you need to rehearse daily positive thoughts and related task positively.

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 5 – Principle 3 – Turn towards each other and not away

Here author want us to understand, that romance is not an expensive gifts or meals, but staying connected to each other in small interactions build romance and staying connected to each other that too positively build connection, Romance is doing small things for each other, doing small daily things gets added to emotional bank account, according to Author, Real life romance is kept alive each time you show your love (spouse) that how much you love and care for them even in the busy schedule.

Doing small things daily for your partner will help to keep your relationship long lasting such as a small voicemail at the bad time, Author says that To show your love listen to your partner, listen to what they always want to say and share, instead of saying you’ll listen later or don’t have time, sit with them and listen what they really what to share, you can show your romance by showing them your love and care on a daily basis, it’s not necessary to do big things always but small things daily creates more impact.

Exercise for this principle

Is your marriage primed for romance; self-assessment to see the level of romance towards the partner
Author has shared many more exercises in this book such as The emotional bank account, the stress-reducing conversation and what to do when your spouse does not turn to you?

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 6 – Principle 4 – Let your Partner Influence you

Letting your partner influence isn’t about having one person hold the reins or only one person dominates or only one person will make the decision but it means that happy couples are a team, that always considers each other point of view, perspective and feelings,  happy couple are those who always make decision together, they respect each other point of view and comes to a common ground, Let your partner influence you means to honor and respect each other and this understanding will help you to make a successful and happy relationship.


Accepting influence Questionnaire – True or false questions which assess how much a person is accepting his her influence.
Few more exercises author has shared in this chapter kindly read this book for more proper understanding.

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 7 – The two Kinds of Martial conflict

Before going to Principle 5 Author has explained about two kinds of marital conflict, first is solvable and other is unsolvable.

Solvable problems are like not too harsh startup they are usually soft, effective use to repair attempts, learn how to compromise, helps to become more tolerant of each other’s imperfection etc.

Author has explained This concept in detail, do read this chapter for detail understanding.

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 8 – Principle 5 – Solve your Solvable problems.

Here Author has explained that there is two kind of marital conflicts, one which is solvable means can get solved and another one is unsolvable means perpetual problems that can’t get solved.

Hence it becomes important for couples to understand which one are which. The author also says that determining difference can be tricky sometimes, according to Gottman, solvable kind of conflicts are soft and not too harsh startup as compared to perpetual and solvable are not too painful also, the author says solvable is situational and there’s no underlying conflict.

Author also says, that if couple disagreement is deemed solvable that couple should try something different that unresolved argument, screaming, yelling and angry silences, and author says the best example for improving communication or suggestion can be “ partner should try to put themselves in other partner shoes or situation”

Author has shared five-step model for resolving these conflicts

Soften your startup; this step simply means you need to start your conversation without getting too harsh or without using four horsemen such as criticism, contempt, defensiveness’ and stonewalling.

Learn to make and receive Repair Attempts: here author says to learn any action or statement which helps to repair or decrease the tension of that argument.

Soothe yourself and each other: here author is trying to explain, when you see your self-getting irritated in any argument, tell your partner that you are getting frustrated or stressed and then take few minutes break, calm yourself your brain, close your eyes and relax your mind and body, ones you feel relaxed calm and peaceful then try to make your partner feel good and do something which comforts both of you.

Compromise: author says negotiation is nice, gottman says when argument arises its important for partners to understand each other perscpective,  hence author gives valuavle advice and exercise at this point, he says partner to come to one common ground, authors suggest that each partner to draw to circle one big circle and one small circle under that big circle,  he further ask to write down nonnegotiable points under small circle and to write things which you can compromise in that big circle and then share your written tgings with your partner, and then start looking for common grounds, and you both need to understand each other feelings and need to come up with common ground. Partners must think as per other partner perspectives as well.
Be tolerant to each other’s faults: here author says you will not able to compromise unless and until you do not understand your partner and their flaws and until and unless you don’t get over if onlies.

These were the 5 principles out of 7 and this book contains other chapters as well, I will make part 2 of this book The Seven principles for making your Marriage work.

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 9 – Coping with Typical Solvable Problems

In this chapter author Gottman says that there are several hot topics of disagreements in every marriage, and author says that one must go beyond lip service to the notion that a marriage takes work, author says once the issue in marriages seems isn’t solvable or has become deemed to be a solvable issue, then couple must actually get to effective coping with it.

In this chapter, the author has discussed 6 martial problems and stressors and also discussed it coping solutions.

a. Stress and more stress

Here the author has given a task which says make your marriage a place of peace.

And also shares the issue which doesn’t allow marriage to be peaceful such as bringing work stress at home, wife getting angry on husband for not helping her in her groceries or husband coming home with negative mood, etc.

The solution for this is,  to have regular discussion about things which need to be sorted, removing time for each other between home and work etc.

b. Relation with the in-laws

The task which author has shared here is, that Couple needs to establish We-ness or must have unity among them.

Issues which comes here which doesn’t allow couple to establish we-ness or unity is , is the conflict and loyalty between family-of –origin member,  example family member, and spouse want to be more, they want their importance to be more so they start competing with each other, each side with think parents or spouse that the person doesn’t love them more and this creates problem and loyalty conflict.

The author says the best solution for this is that the person or partner who is being Fought over establishing the fact that she/he is now an adult and had established his own family, which has nothing to do with more or less loving.

c. Money, money, Money

The task given by the author is balancing freedom and empowerment money represents the security and trust also symbolizes.

Issues which comes for balancing pleasure and security, the author says if disagreement over money handling goes beyond newlywed couples stages of marriages, thus this issue is the sigh on an unsolvable problem, and bad negotiation, as underlying are the deeply held values of each of the partner.

The author also shares solution that couple needs to prepare budget together and also be firm regarding the items which you must consider non-negotiable. Such as managing expenses, manage everyday finance, income assets etc.

Author has shared three more coping solutions in this chapter kindly go through this book for detail understanding. Here’s the link

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 10 – Principle 6 – Overcoming Gridlock

In this chapter, the author says that Gridlock appears when People’s Life dream, aspirations, hopes, wishes are not respected by the other partner or by each other. Author has also mentioned deep dreams such as Sense of freedom, an experience of peace, unity with nature, justice, honor, healing etc.

The author says when Dreams are respected, Couples feel happy in their relationship, And also realizes that marriage is supposed to support each other for their dreams not to manipulate the other one to not to achieve their goals, marriage is about supporting and understanding each other goals and dreams.

When Dreams are hidden, author says that hidden dreams are only likely to emerge after the marriage is felt as safe 0 i:e First Three Gottman Principle (mentioned first three principles)

Here author says a problem arises when one person gets exposes to their dream and their dream becomes opposition’s to the other’s dream.

But author has shared its process as well,

Step 1 Become a dream detective

Step 2 Works on the Gridlock

Under it level Come’s Listening Financial support and Taking part

Step 3 Soothe Each other

Step 4 Ends the Gridlock

Step 5 Say Thank You

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 1 – Principle 7 – Creating Shared Meaning

In this chapter author says That Marriage is not only about raising children’s, splitting chores or making love but it also has a spiritual Dimension that has to do with creating inner life togetherness – A culture rich with Rituals, and the appreciation for your roles and goals that links you, that will make you understand that what it means to be a part of the family you have become.

Happy couples create a family by involving both of their dreams, and also they become open to each other’s opinion and perspective, happy couple naturally come close to each other.

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Chapter 12 (Last Chapter) – Afterword: what’s now?

In this chapter, the author shares 5 magic hours activities which you can use daily to improve your relationships.

  1. Parting: the author says before saying goodbyes in the morning you need to find out one thing which is happening in the partner’s life that day.
  2. Reunions: here you need to have stress-reducing conversation daily at the end of the day
  3. Admiration and appreciation:  you need to find out a reason every day to show your affection and appreciation towards your spouse.
  4. Affection: Kiss, hold hands, hug when you both are together.
  5. Weekly date:  This could be a relaxing low-pressure way to stay connected. Go out for a date, stay connected talk about each other problems etc.

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These are the 6 principles and 12 chapters of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is not only beneficial for Married couples but also for those who are in a relationship and wants to bring their relationship to the next level.

Download The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Audiobook For Free at: AudioBooks
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Book available in English at: Amazon, Flipkart


All The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

1. Enhancing love maps
2. Nurturing fondness and admiration
3. Turning toward each other
4. Accepting influence
5. Solving solvable problems
6. Overcoming gridlock
7. Creating shared meaning

All The 12 Chapters of Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

1. Inside the Seattle love lab: The truth about unhappy marriages
2. How he Predict Divorce
3. Enhance Your Love map
4. Nurture your fondness and Admiration
5. Turn towards each other and not away
6. Let your Partner Influence you
7. The two Kinds of Martial conflict
8. Solve your Solvable problems
9. Coping with Typical Solvable Problems
10. Overcoming Gridlock
11. Creating Shared Meaning
12. Afterword: what’s now?

Download The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Audiobook For Free at: AudioBooks
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Book available in English at: Amazon, Flipkart

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