Being into marriage counseling, I cannot avoid reading relevant material when browsing the net. There’s quite a lot of marriage tips out there, coming in articles, books and forum discussions, and while some of this material may be fairly reasonable, most just doesn’t do the trick. Many of those tips are too general, and fast solutions, just like fast food, may look well but won’t do us no good. Recently, I stumbled upon some very favorable reviews of a book called “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”. The author of the book is Dr. John Gottman of Gottman Institute, who, after years of careful relationship research, decided to share his findings with the public. I admit I was interested by the enthusiastic reviews, and since the book wasn’t at all expensive, I decided to see what is was worth.
The first thing that impressed me was that, as I already said, it was based on serious research, mainly an experiment that involved observing the interaction of many couples. The purpose of this experiment was to understand what makes a long-lasting marriage and how can one predict a divorce by checking how partners treated each other. Well, it turns out that we can learn what you shouldn’t say in an argument with your spouse, what behavior might cause a divorce and how to make up. The book is a practical, down to earth guide that every marriage, even a happy one, can benefit from.
The thing that impressed me even more was the picture of a stable marriage as described by Dr. Gottman. It was quite different from the one we usually imagine or read in various marriage literature. Screaming matches and occasional bad sex happen, stresses Dr. Gottman, and it’s natural. You might think that that’s no big surprise, but these facts are generally overlooked in marriage tips, that usually concentrate on how to overcome those problems – smooth over arguments more quickly or better to avoid them, achieve great sex, etc. It’s not that I’d prefer bad sex to a good one, but we’re all human, and we all have our bad days. That alone will not cause a marriage to fail, and to my opinion, it’s important to legitimize those routine problems by pointing them out, so that some of us wouldn’t think they’re heading for divorce just because they occasionally fight with their spouse.