The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work


“The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman and Nan Silver is a comprehensive guide to building and maintaining a successful and fulfilling marriage. Drawing from extensive research conducted by John Gottman, a renowned psychologist and relationship expert, the book offers practical principles and strategies to strengthen the bond between partners and navigate challenges effectively.

The seven principles outlined in the book are:

  1. Enhance Your Love Maps: Foster deep understanding by continuously learning about your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This strengthens emotional intimacy.
  2. Nurture Fondness and Admiration: Cultivate a positive perspective of your partner by focusing on their strengths and expressing genuine admiration and affection.
  3. Turn Toward Each Other: Build connection by responding positively to your partner’s bids for attention, affection, and support. These small interactions create a foundation of trust.
  4. Let Your Partner Influence You: Acknowledge your partner’s opinions and feelings, valuing their input and fostering a sense of equality in decision-making.
  5. Solve Solvable Problems: Develop effective problem-solving skills by discussing issues calmly and finding compromise. It’s important to address problems rather than avoiding them.
  6. Overcome Gridlock: Address long-standing issues with empathy, understanding, and compromise. Recognize the underlying emotional needs driving conflicts.
  7. Create Shared Meaning: Establish shared goals, values, and traditions that provide a sense of purpose and connection in the relationship.

The book provides practical exercises, examples, and insights from real couples to illustrate the principles in action. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining friendship, emotional connection, and effective communication as foundations for a lasting and fulfilling marriage. “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” offers couples tools to strengthen their relationship and navigate challenges, fostering a deep and enduring connection.

10 Key Takeaways from The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver:

  • Love Maps: Understanding your partner’s inner world, including their hopes, fears, and aspirations, strengthens emotional intimacy. By continuously updating your “love map” through open conversations, you remain attuned to each other’s changing feelings and experiences.
  • Fondness and Admiration: Cultivating a positive view of your partner’s qualities and expressing genuine affection fosters a nurturing atmosphere. This helps counterbalance any negative interactions that may arise.
  • Turning Toward Each Other: Responding positively to each other’s bids for attention, affection, or connection builds a foundation of trust and security. These everyday interactions contribute to a sense of being valued and heard.
  • Partner Influence: Acknowledging your partner’s opinions and considering their preferences in decision-making demonstrates respect and equality. This promotes a collaborative approach and avoids power struggles.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Developing effective conflict resolution techniques allows couples to address solvable problems constructively. Open communication, active listening, and finding compromises are key to resolving conflicts.
  • Navigating Gridlock: Recognizing that some issues may remain perpetual, the book suggests understanding the underlying emotions and values driving disagreements. By discussing these issues with empathy and seeking compromise, partners can navigate gridlock more effectively.
  • Shared Meaning: Creating shared goals, values, and traditions fosters a sense of purpose and unity. This shared sense of identity enhances the connection between partners and provides a deeper emotional bond.
  • Conflict Management: Identifying harmful communication patterns, such as criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling, is crucial. Replacing these patterns with healthy communication fosters a more respectful and productive conflict resolution process.
  • Emotional Bank Account: Regular deposits of positivity, kindness, and appreciation contribute to a healthy emotional bank account. This balance helps buffer the impact of occasional conflicts and stressful times.
  • Daily Rituals of Connection: Establishing small, meaningful rituals that connect you and your partner on a regular basis fosters ongoing emotional closeness. These rituals can range from daily check-ins to shared activities.


“The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” concludes with a resounding message: successful marriages are built on understanding, respect, effective communication, and continuous effort. John Gottman and Nan Silver underscore that nurturing emotional intimacy, valuing each other’s opinions, and practicing constructive conflict resolution are vital for a lasting and fulfilling partnership. By applying these principles, couples can forge a resilient bond that not only weathers challenges but thrives on mutual appreciation, shared goals, and unwavering emotional connection.



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