Sunday, December 07, 2008


Okay, so I recently finished `The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work' and I would recommend it. This may be a very boring post for some but I think it's important for me to summarize the book and point out what John Gottman believes to be the main principles. I'm not sure what is okay to say and not say in regards to our marriage but I will throw a bit of it throughout. The reason I wanted to read a good marriage book is because I found that when Kai came into the picture, our perfectly functioning marriage seemed to go through a rough patch. Lack of sleep along with our new roles were tough on both of us. Once I was sleeping through the night (maybe at 7 months?), things got MUCH better!

Principle 1: Enhance your love maps (being intimately familiar with each other's world)

-knowing each others favourites, and also beliefs, fears

-talking through how your family showed sadness, anger, affection etc. growing up

-making sure you have time to catch up on each others day every day (debrief)

*Gary and I are very good at debriefing. When Gary gets home we talk for about 15 minutes about what happened in each others day....he usually initiates. When we work together, we debrief on the drive home. We do know each other quite well as we really worked on a friendship first, before we got married. *

Principle 2: Nurture your Fondness and Admiration

-do you treat guests better than your spouse?

-letting your partner know what you admire and appreciate about them AND feeling it in return

-feeling supported by your spouse

-think about why you cherish your partner

*This is the one chapter I'm going to get Gary to read. I def. need words of affirmation although Gary does not (as much). Therefore I say things like `Hey Gary, doesn't the house look clean? Hey Gary, didn't I make a good dinner? Hey Gary, aren't I a fun mom?'. Somehow asking these things doesn't make his affirmation as strong as if he had just said it in the first place. I def. need to remember to focus more on Gary's strengths, especially when times are a bit more stressful because I think I treat guests better than him sometimes*

Principle 3: Turn towards each other instead of away

-do you enjoy spending free time together?

-do you enjoy discussing things together?

-are you spiritually compatible?

-do you like to do a lot of the same things?

*Gary and I do enjoy doing the day to day things together; grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, baking, watching tv etc. We both love the outdoors and playing outside. I think it is important that we don't do everything together but I love that we have more in common than I originally thought when we got married. I thought we were so different only because he grew up more conservatively than I did. That is not a huge difference. Also, he is a man. That will make him different:)*

Principle 4: Let your partner influence you

-sharing power and decision making

*I think Gary and I really respect each others point of views and are good at making decisions together (except for a baby girl name!!!). If I have a problem, I believe that Gary can help me work through it and I believe the same is true for him. I generally feel `heard' by him*

Principle 5: Solve your solvable problems (in laws, laundry, money, sex...)

-soften your `start up' (how you approach an issue). Discussions generally end on the same note that they begin.

-make and receive repair attempts (a way to deescalate the situation with humour or taking breaks)

-soothe yourself and each other

-compromise (accept influence)

-be tolerant of each others faults (get rid of the `if onlies' and accept your partners flaws)

*Gary and I never (okay, maybe 2X/year) raise our voices at each other and we throw a whole lotta `sweeties' into the conversation which helps a tense conversation. I think that we are very fortunate that we come from similar family backgrounds. Also, Gary is helpful with household chores and never argue about money as we are on the exact same page.*

Principle 6: Overcome gridlock

-generally because the dreams for your life aren't beind addressed or respected

-don't need to solve the problem but move towards dialogue

*I think we are very fortunate that we are both Christians, come from similar family backgrounds, and that we both knew, more or less, what we wanted in life before we got married. There is no major problem that we need to overcome that I know of. *

Principle 7: Create shared meaning

-create your own microculture with rituals and customs (family dinners together, church on Sundays, views on parenting etc).

*We both kind of carried on the customs that we grew up with. We've had no issues in parenting (so far!!) because both of us came from families that were all over the discipline, positive reinforcement, routine and schedules.*

Okay, so this is probably very boring to read but I'm interested in reading it in a couple months from now and seeing where Gary and i are at and whether we still seem to be on the same page with everything. Besides, a summary will allow Gary to get the gist of this book:) So ya, if you are looking for a book on marriage, I give it an 8/10. So nervous for our marriage in the first 6 months of baby Chapman's life. Praying it goes better this time!!!!


  1. not boring at ALL!!! I love marriage building books. I had this one recommended to me a few years ago, but never got around to buying it. I still plan on it though. Sounds like very good principles, ones I totally agree with. I think Alf and I have a really strong marriage, but there's no harm in being aware of things that can strengthen an already strong marriage! :)
    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. me and Tyler finished the intro...and that seemed good! :)
    I suppose we should keep going!

  3. Praying for a content baby and lots of sleep in the first few months of babyhood. BTW - Both my girls slept through the night early (6-8 weeks) and my boy is still not sleeping through the night. Maybe a girl is just what you need! (although my vote is still that you are going to have a boy) I am told we will get payback in the teenage years with our girls though :) With God at the centre, your marriage can withstand anything.