A few months ago, I was reading an article written by a savvy young gentleman hell bent on knowing all there was to know about healthy loving relationships. If I remember correctly, he was on somewhat of a dating strike. Not that he had anything against dating or marriage, but more so that he had come to a place in his life and singlehood where he sincerely hoped for something authentic. Not only that, he wanted to ensure he was doing all he could on his part to understand how to build a strong, healthy, sustaining marriage. He suggested several pieces of literature and of those, I chose "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" by Doctor John M. Gottman and Nan Silver.
This man knows his stuff.
Why was I interested in a book written for married couples? Because I have a deep seeded fear of marriage. Yes, I realize that I'm dating. Courting is one thing, committing yourself to one single person for the rest of your life is another. Sometimes I think that the severity of marriage has missed some of the population; that it isn't taken as seriously as it should be. Ladies and gentleman the vows clearly state...'TIL DEATH DO US PART. And yet, high rates of divorce maintain.
In order to help soothe some of my fear, Tyler and I have chosen to partake in a variety of activities and conversations in order to lay a firm foundation that will hopefully support us for the rest of our lives. Reading this book before bed, is one of those. We like to think of it as out pre pre-marital counseling. Doing our homework before we bring in the outside source.
I would love to tell you that we snuggle into bed and read it every night before sleep, but we do not. We had gotten into a swing of every other night, and after a few weeks, have fallen into a once, every other week reading...regardless! Here are my thoughts on Mr. Gottman's advice...
Why you should read it:
Gottman does a great job of explaining various situations, giving examples of couples that he has worked with, what has gone wrong and how to fix various forms of turmoil. Through reading his book, we found out about a lab that he did several years ago where newly married couples agreed to be put in what I will call a fish bowl. I call it that because it was a home in which the couple could be monitored at all times. Everything from their intimate conversations to their eating habits. Gottman watched as these couples do life and was able to determine, somewhat quickly and quite accurately which couples would divorce and which ones would not. Gottman goes on to give advice to couples on how to maintain caring, loving and supportive relationships; how your language will hold your marriage back or allow it to flourish, how certain acts translate to different meanings and far more. All in all, if you are looking for a text book on how to create and care for a relationship that upholds "'til death do us part" - pick this one up.