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Don't Wait Till You Have Relationship Problems Before Reading "The Seven Principles"

Updated on February 12, 2018
Reading together on a camping trip
Reading together on a camping trip

A Fun, Helpful, and Eye-Opening Book for All Couples, Married or Not

My fiancée came home from work one day and said he'd downloaded a copy of a book on marital "issues" that someone had recommended to him. That caught me off guard, especially because I thought we were so happy together and getting along so well.

And he agreed.

"I want to read this book together," he said, "not because we're having any problems right now but because I think it might help us avoid problems, or at least deal with them better in the future."

My concern vanished with that statement. Instead, I was grateful that the man I would soon marry cared enough about our relationship and our future together that he'd brought this book home for us.

That was more than a year ago and almost a year since we finished reading The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, alternating reading each chapter to one another and doing many of the written and verbal exercises in the book. At the time, some of the specific exercises did not apply to us, but we plan to re-read at least parts the book again in the future, when those topics will definitely be relevant to us as a couple.

And did those principles work?

I would say they've definitely helped. A lot, in fact. We've found ourselves actually using some of the techniques we learned from The Seven Principles, especially when dealing with issues about which we're polar opposites -- like financial management and planning, for one. Among others.

Without having learned those seven principles, I firmly believe we'd be struggling a lot more with certain aspects of our married life. Instead, we've been able to find common ground and ways to talk to each other without arguing.

That's not to say we don't argue once in a while, but those more heated "discussions" don't last all that long. They don't tend to expand into unrelated issues or criticisms of each other, and they don't elevate into shouting matches. And we've both noticed each time one or the other or both of us have paused -- sometimes after a little "time out" -- and used something we learned in the book to turn that argument into a productive conversation and, ultimately, into an even better, stronger relationship.

So, I can truly say I'm a big fan this book, because it's brought me closer to the one I love with all my heart.

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert
It's never too soon or too late in a relationship to read this book. It can even help those who are still in the dating phase, even if some of the topics don't apply (yet). But I would say it only truly works if both people in the relationship read and participate.

The Seven Principles and Us

A list of the principles doesn't mean much without the explanations, stories and exercises that go along with them as outlined in the book, so I won't give them here. But my husband and I have used all of them (often subconsciously until one of us notices what's happening and points it out) including both the proactive strategies we became aware of -- things that strengthen and enhance the foundation of our relationship -- and the reactive strategies the author teaches for dealing with issues and challenges when they do crop up.

Jeremy and me
Jeremy and me

A Video Review and Words from the Author

Watch a video review of The Seven Principles, then hear from the author himself.

John Gottman is scientist and a professor of psychology. He's also an engaging speaker. I've included his four-part talk on "Making Relationships Work" here....

Author John Gottman: Making Relationships Work (Parts 1-4)

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

© 2013 Deb Kingsbury


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