The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

I have a man crush on John Gottman and I actually have no idea what he looks like. Hold on, I’m going to go and google his image. John Gottman’s research and writings have changed the way I counsel, they’ve changed the way I am a husband to my wife. Having said that, a lot of his writings are dry. This book is no exception. His seven principles are not earth shattering, although I’d encourage to google his 5:1 ratio or use it in all of your relationships.

Gottman’s seven principles in this book are fairly straightforward (my thoughts are in parenthesis:

1. Enhance your love maps
2. Nurture your fondness and admiration
3. Turn toward each other instead of Away
4. Let your partner influence you

-The two kinds of marital conflict (this isn’t actually a principle but understanding this is important

5. Solve your solvable problems (does that mean there are unsolvable problems?)
6. Overcome gridlock
7. Create shared meaning

All in all, I think everyone will find this book to be a satisfying read and for almost everyone there will be at least one “ah-ha” moment where it speaks directly to something going on in their relationship. Even if you are thinking that your relationship is on solid footing I encourage you to read this book.

Marriages are something we do and something we have. As something we have, they are fragile and need constant attention and care.



Filed under Marriage and Family, Mental Health

7 responses to “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

  1. Hi! I’m Carol, the Director of Professional Development at The Gottman Relationship Institute. Just wanted to invite you to check out our program in training counselors and clinicians like you in The Gottman Method. You can train to become a Certified Gottman Therapist, or simply to bring some of John’s method to your practice.

    More here:


    • Joe

      Hi Carol,
      Thanks for stopping by. I am excited to consider the opportunity to attend one of the workshops or to do a training DVD.

  2. Joe,

    Really? Only seven?



  3. I’m not ‘railing’ against anything. I just find it amazing that anything can be narrowed down to a beautiful seven. I’ve been married 19+ years now and nothing is as simple as seven. Sorry.

    I’m sure it’s a great book…sort of a seven habits of highly effective marriages kind of thing…but marriage is far more complex than any seven will ever satisfy.

    • Joe

      Tone is hard to “read”. Your “A -freaking-mazing” seemed to be pretty smart ass railing to me and a little snarky. Sorry to have misread. As for being narrowed down to a beautiful seven. I don’t think anyone or at least not the author of this book has done that. This book is a good place to start.
      I’ll be looking forward to reviewing your book, “The One Hundred Million Principles of Making Marriage work” by Jerry Hillyer. Of course, there could be 1 hundred and 1 million. When you preached, did you cover the whole Bible every Sunday or did you offer 1 or 2 principles? The Bible and how to apply it to life is a pretty complex thing but the job of the preacher is to distill it down into manageable chunks. What exactly do you find to be wrong with this type of book? Should the author attempt to cover every principle of marriage? Should no one write about marriage since we would never be able to cover all of it in one book?
      You are right there is way more to marriage than these 7 principles but it would be pretty hard to have these seven principles working and not have a good marriage.

  4. Joe,

    The title of the book is: THE Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work.

    ‘THE’ threw me off. It’s like when I went to the West Side Market yesterday and the sign at one of the counters said: “ALL chicken wings 4 lbs for $10.” When I inquired, I was told that “ALL” means “Only the ones without flavoring”. I told the butcher the word ‘ALL’ threw me off a bit and I declined to buy the wings.


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