If you want to learn how to improve your marriage or relationship, straight or gay, John Gottman, Ph.D., has been one of the top go-to guys for quite a while. One of his most popular books, written with assistance from Nan Silver, is The Seven Principles For Making a Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert (1999).
From Amazon.com: “Gottman, the director of the Gottman Institute, has found through studying hundreds of couples in his ‘love lab’ that it only takes five minutes for him to predict–with 91 percent accuracy–which couples will eventually divorce. He shares the four not-so-obvious signs of a troubled relationship that he looks for, using sometimes amusing passages from his sessions with married couples.”
Gottman’s “four horsemen of the apocalypse” are Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. I believe these were first described in his book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last (1994).
In this brief video, Gottman explains the “magic relationship ratio“:
The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships, written with Joan DeClaire, gives us another interesting Gottman concept. From the book description:
Introducing the empowering concept of the ’emotional bid,’ which he calls the fundamental unit of emotional connection, Gottman shows that all good relationships are built through a process of making and receiving successful bids. These bids range from such subtle gestures as a quick question, a look, or a comment to the most probing and intimate ways we communicate. Gottman’s research reveals that people in happy relationships make bidding and responding to bids a high priority in their lives, and he has discovered the fascinating secrets behind mastering the bidding process. Those who do so tend to ‘turn toward’ bids from others, whereas most problems in relationships stem from either’ turning away’ or ‘turning against’ bids for connection.
Go to Gottman’s website for a quiz to determine how you do your own bids for connection.
And in early September be on the lookout for his next book, What Makes Love Last? How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal.