I really love Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I’ve gone ahead and purchased a few more copies to give to people at random times if I feel prompted to. If I could sum the book up in my own words in a couple sentences or less, it would come down to this: Treat your spouse like your best friend with manners and kindness, and respect each other’s dreams so you can achieve them together.
Every marriage goes through periods of gridlock and the digging in of heels. I like how Gottman described this phenomenon as a sign that each of us have dreams for our lives that the other person isn’t aware of or doesn’t know how to be respectful about, or maybe even feels threatened by. I also like how he illustrates our life dreams operating at different levels.
One of my favorite quotes from the entire book is, “Keep working on your unresolvable conflicts. Couples who are demanding of their marriage are more likely to have deeply satisfying unions than those who lower their expectations.”
This statement is powerful to me because I used to think that making marriage work was all about lowing my expectations and settling for a mediocre bond or connection. It can be difficult to excavate and articulate what our deeper dreams are for fear of them not being well received or respected.
· Will my spouse support me in my dreams?
· Will I be able to support my spouse in his dreams?
· Will it mean ‘giving up’ the core person of who I am and if so, will I like the new Me?
· Will my spouse think my dreams are childish or impractical?
|I took this photo at the Seattle temple|
Gottman ends the book with an excerpt on Thanksgiving. I am a firm believer in the practice of intentionally looking for the good. My gratitude journal on my nightstand is filled with little things I am grateful for about my husband. I don’t often go back and read through it, but when I do, I am amazed by the goodness of the man I married. He can be stubbornly aggravating. So can I. But each night before I go to bed, I write down five things I’m grateful for, and there’s almost always one or two things that involve him.