Happiness/Have a Happy Relationship/The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is the title of a guide to emotionally intelligent and long-lasting marriage, written by John Gottman. The foundation of Gottman's approach is to strengthen the friendship that is at the heart of any marriage. (p. 46)

Interrelations among the principles[edit]

The seven principles form a feedback loop that ensures that as the couple works on each principle, it becomes easier to work on the others. (p. 246)

Principle 1: Enhance your love maps[edit]

Is made easier by practicing:

  • Principle 4: When a husband accepts his wife's influence, his open attitude also heightens the positive in his relationship by strengthening his friendship with his wife. This makes it far easier for him to deepen his love map, bolster fondness and admiration, and turn toward his wife as a matter of course. This occurs not just because the absence of frequent power struggles makes the marriage more pleasurable, but because such a husband is open to learning from his wife. (p. 163)
  • Principle 7: Finding shared meaning makes the relationship deeper, richer, and more rewarding, and strengthens the marital friendship (as emphasized in the first three principles of a happy marriage), which in turn makes it easier to cope with any conflicts that crop up. (p. 246)

Makes it easier to practice:

  • Principle 2: Spouses who enhance their love maps are able to use them to express fondness and admiration for each other. (p. 60)
  • Principle 4: Accepting influence is an attitude, but it's also a skill that one can hone if one pays attention to how one relates with one's spouse. In one's day-to-day life, this means working on the first three principles. (p. 114)
  • Principle 6: Uncovering a hidden dream is a challenge. The dream is unlikely to emerge until one feels that one's marriage is a safe place to talk about it. That's why it's important to begin by working on the first three principles in order to strengthen one's friendship with one's mate. (p. 224)

Principle 2: Nurture your fondness and admiration[edit]

Is made easier by practicing:

  • Principle 1: Spouses who enhance their love maps are able to use them to express fondness and admiration for each other. (p. 60)
  • Principle 4: When a husband accepts his wife's influence, his open attitude also heightens the positive in his relationship by strengthening his friendship with his wife. This makes it far easier for him to deepen his love map, bolster fondness and admiration, and turn toward his wife as a matter of course. This occurs not just because the absence of frequent power struggles makes the marriage more pleasurable, but because such a husband is open to learning from his wife. (p. 163)
  • Principle 7: Finding shared meaning makes the relationship deeper, richer, and more rewarding, and strengthens the marital friendship (as emphasized in the first three principles of a happy marriage), which in turn makes it easier to cope with any conflicts that crop up. (p. 246)

Makes it easier to practice:

  • Principle 3: Respect and affection can be used as the foundation for revamping or reviving the marriage's sense of romance, as the spouses turn toward each other instead of away. (p. 77)
  • Principle 4: Accepting influence is an attitude, but it's also a skill that one can hone if one pays attention to how one relates with one's spouse. In one's day-to-day life, this means working on the first three principles. (p. 114)
  • Principle 6: Uncovering a hidden dream is a challenge. The dream is unlikely to emerge until one feels that one's marriage is a safe place to talk about it. That's why it's important to begin by working on the first three principles in order to strengthen one's friendship with one's mate. (p. 224)

Principle 3: Turn toward each other instead of away[edit]

Is made easier by practicing:

  • Principle 2: Respect and affection can be used as the foundation for revamping or reviving the marriage's sense of romance, as the spouses turn toward each other instead of away. (p. 77)
  • Principle 4: When a husband accepts his wife's influence, his open attitude also heightens the positive in his relationship by strengthening his friendship with his wife. This makes it far easier for him to deepen his love map, bolster fondness and admiration, and turn toward his wife as a matter of course. This occurs not just because the absence of frequent power struggles makes the marriage more pleasurable, but because such a husband is open to learning from his wife. (p. 163)
  • Principle 7: Finding shared meaning makes the relationship deeper, richer, and more rewarding, and strengthens the marital friendship (as emphasized in the first three principles of a happy marriage), which in turn makes it easier to cope with any conflicts that crop up. (p. 246)

Makes it easier to practice:

  • Principle 4: As the bond of camaraderie with one's spouse deepens, the more profound friendship helps balance the power between the spouses, since spouses who honor and respect each other are usually able to appreciate each other's point of view, even if they don't agree with it. Accepting influence is an attitude, but it's also a skill that one can hone if one pays attention to how one relates with one's spouse. In one's day-to-day life, this means working on the first three principles. (p. 96-97, 114)
  • Principle 6: Uncovering a hidden dream is a challenge. The dream is unlikely to emerge until one feels that one's marriage is a safe place to talk about it. That's why it's important to begin by working on the first three principles in order to strengthen one's friendship with one's mate. (p. 224)

Principle 4: Let your partner influence you[edit]

Is made easier by practicing:

  • Principles 1 and 2: Accepting influence is an attitude, but it's also a skill that one can hone if one pays attention to how one relates with one's spouse. In one's day-to-day life, this means working on the first three principles. (p. 114)
  • Principle 3: As the bond of camaraderie with one's spouse deepens, the more profound friendship helps balance the power between the spouses, since spouses who honor and respect each other are usually able to appreciate each other's point of view, even if they don't agree with it. (p. 96-97)

Makes it easier to practice:

  • Principles 1, 2, and 3: When a husband accepts his wife's influence, his open attitude also heightens the positive in his relationship by strengthening his friendship with his wife. This makes it far easier for him to deepen his love map, bolster fondness and admiration, and turn toward his wife as a matter of course. This occurs not just because the absence of frequent power struggles makes the marriage more pleasurable, but because such a husband is open to learning from his wife. (p. 163)
  • Principles 5 and 6: When you have a conflict, the key is to be willing to compromise. You do this by searching through your partner's request for something you can relinquish. A willingness to share power and to respect the other person's view is a prerequisite of compromising; for that reason, accepting influence from one's spouse is a cornerstone of success at coping better with marital conflict, whether that involves solving solvable problems or overcoming gridlock with regard to perpetual problems. (p. 114, 127)
  • Principle 7: If spouses are open to each other's perspectives, and can speak candidly and respectfully with each other, some coming together on the fundamentals of life, and sharing a deep sense of what is meaningful about their lives together is likely to occur naturally. (p. 245).

Principle 5: Solve your solvable problems[edit]

Is made easier by practicing:

  • Principle 4: When you have a conflict, the key is to be willing to compromise. You do this by searching through your partner's request for something you can relinquish. A willingness to share power and to respect the other person's view is a prerequisite of compromising; for that reason, accepting influence from one's spouse is a cornerstone of success at solving solvable problems. (p. 114, 127)
  • Principle 7: Finding shared meaning makes the relationship deeper, richer, and more rewarding, and strengthens the marital friendship (as emphasized in the first three principles of a happy marriage), which in turn makes it easier to cope with any conflicts that crop up. (p. 246)

Principle 6: Overcome gridlock[edit]

Is made easier by practicing:

  • Principles 1, 2, and 3: Uncovering a hidden dream is a challenge. The dream is unlikely to emerge until one feels that one's marriage is a safe place to talk about it. That's why it's important to begin by working on the first three principles in order to strengthen one's friendship with one's mate. (p. 224)
  • Principle 4: When you have a conflict, the key is to be willing to compromise. You do this by searching through your partner's request for something you can relinquish. A willingness to share power and to respect the other person's view is a prerequisite of compromising; for that reason, accepting influence from one's spouse is a cornerstone of success at solving solvable problems. (p. 114, 127)
  • Principle 7: Finding shared meaning makes the relationship deeper, richer, and more rewarding, and strengthens the marital friendship (as emphasized in the first three principles of a happy marriage), which in turn makes it easier to cope with any conflicts that crop up. (p. 246)

Principle 7: Create shared meaning[edit]

Is made easier by practicing:

  • Principle 4: If spouses are open to each other's perspectives, and can speak candidly and respectfully with each other, some coming together on the fundamentals of life, and sharing a deep sense of what is meaningful about their lives together is likely to occur naturally. (p. 245).

Makes it easier to practice:

  • Principles 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6: Finding shared meaning makes the relationship deeper, richer, and more rewarding, and strengthens the marital friendship (as emphasized in the first three principles of a happy marriage), which in turn makes it easier to cope with any conflicts that crop up. (p. 246)

Glossary[edit]

See the subpage for terminology used in the book.