The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert
by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver | Harmony © 1999 · 271 pages

Want to make your relationship work? Then you’d be wise to turn toward the world’s leading researcher on the science of what makes love work: John Gottman. This book has sold over 1 million copies and it’s easy to see why. Big Ideas we explore: How Gottman can predict divorce with 91% accuracy (in < 15 minutes), a quick look at the 7 principles, the power of cherishing your partner, turning toward (and not being a tech rat), how to solve the solvable problems and starting “I love you” with the “I.”

I often think that if fitness buffs spent just 10 percent of their weekly workout time—say, twenty minutes a day—working on their marriage instead of their bodies, they would get three times the health benefits they derive from exercise class or the treadmill.
John M. Gottman

“One of the strengths of The Seven Principles approach is its versatility in addressing all stages of a relationship. This book is for you if you’re single and looking to ‘road test’ your relationship before making a permanent commitment. It is also for you if you’ve already committed and want to bolster and protect what you have. If you and your partner are facing dramatic life changes or challenges, The Seven Principles will help you keep connected. Following the guidance in the pages ahead may also rescue a marriage that is already in deep danger.

Of course, no relationship guide can salvage every marriage, nor is it true that every match ‘should’ be saved. Sometimes negativity and betrayal so consume a relationship that it has really already died by the time the couple seek support. But the right form of assistance can repair far more relationships and offer a greater degree of hope than the divorce statistics would suggest. Anyone who works with or studies couples is left humbled and awed by the tenacity, resourcefulness, and grit of people who love each other and are determined to make their marriages work. We wrote this book to be a fitting companion for their journey.”

~ John M. Gottman from The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

John Gottman is the world’s leading researcher on the SCIENCE of what makes marriage work.

He’s been studying relationships in his University of Washington Love Lab for decades and has 42 years (!) of longitudinal data on what *really* makes love work. (We’ll touch on some of that wisdom in the Note. For now, hint: marital friendship.)

This book is truly fantastic. It’s easy to see why over 1 Million copies have been sold.

If you’re going to read just one book on how to optimize your marriage/relationship, make it this one. (Get a copy here.)

And, check out the Gottman Institute for more resources, workshops, etc. You can even find a Gottman-trained therapist in your area. (Search here and know that not all marriage therapists are created equal! :0)

The book is packed with a TON of super helpful mini-tests and exercises. It’s packed with wisdom and we’ll barely scratch the surface in this Note, but I’m excited to share a handful of my favorite Ideas. If you’re feelin’ it, I hope you explore further!

(Note: This is the revised and update 15-year anniversary version of the classic book: Much has changed in the fifteen-plus years since the arrival of the first edition of The Seven Principles, but one fact has held constant: a romantic and sexual long-term committed relationship with another human remains the greatest gift life can offer. We hope this new edition of The Seven Principles safeguards and strengthens your relationship—and helps you add purpose and meaning to the life you build together.”)

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About the authors


John M. Gottman

Renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction.

Nan Silver

NYT bestselling author and journalist specializing in parenting and psychology.