Today I wrote about John Gottman’s remarkable book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work for the website Quora.com in response to the question: “What Does Psychology Say About Relationship Building?“.
Briefly, his seven principles are:
- Enhance your love maps. Deepen your friendship and acquaintance with your partner.
- Nurture your fondness and admiration. One good way to do this is to revisit your memories of how the two of you came together.
- Turn toward each other instead of away. Be helpful, cooperative, mutually supportive. Resolve conflicts rather than allow emotional distance to build up.
- Let your partner influence you. Recognize that your partner is an asset and a resource. Two heads are better than one!
- Solve your solvable problems. Take a pragmatic approach to problem-solving. Focus on one thing at a time. Solve the easy ones first, to build your confidence.
- Overcome gridlock. When you’re stuck, keep talking. Don’t give up. Look more deeply into how the conflict you’re experiencing highlights how you feel misunderstood and undervalued. Talk together about your dreams and your deepest values. Then revisit the problem.
- Create shared meaning. This is the lifelong task of relationship. Build an inner life together, rich with symbols and rituals and shared meaning.
Gottman’s approach is founded on his recognition that intimate relationships work best as highly attuned and evolved friendships, with mutual respect, honor, and admiration.
This is a classic book. I strongly recommend it as a useful resource for growing your intimate relationship.
For more recommended books on strengthening intimate relationships, visit the section on Relationship Advice at The Guide to Self Help Books.