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4.3 out of 5 stars
24
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 23 August 2008
John Gottman is a respected expert on relationships who has done extensive research with married couples over the past two decades to determine why couples stay together or part. Although Gottman's book is about marriage, it has some excellent insights for understanding some of the important dynamics of long-term courting relationships. The book provides many exercises, quizzes, techniques and tips to understand and improve courting relationships.

Gottman notes that his years of research show that a lasting marriage results from a couple's ability to resolve the conflicts that are inevitable in any relationship. He also notes that there are three different styles of conflict resolution that healthy couples usually adopt. They are: the validating marriage (couples compromise and calmly work out their problems attempting to satisfy both people), the conflict-avoiding marriage (couples agree to disagree and rarely confront issues head on), and the volatile marriage (couples conflict often and the results are passionate disputes).

John Gottman also discusses what he calls "The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse." These are the dangerous ways of interacting that sabotage attempts to communicate. They are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.

Well written and informative, Gottman's research has uncovered some worthwhile and thought provoking ideas on long-term relationships. Understanding these concepts can be helpful when trying to understand oneself and when exploring long-term compatibility with a companion.

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking
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on 5 May 1999
Reading this book was like a check list for me. My marriage has gotten to the point that my husband's councelor suggested we both read this book, then meet together with him. I found this helpful for me to see exactly where I was in my opinion of our marriage. The occasional "tests" helped me to see myself honestly and admit the mistakes I've been making for the past 22 years. It was difficult to admit that I was in such an unsuccessful relationship, but when I was the one taking the tests and answering the questions, it was obvious that I needed to take some of the advice the author suggests for each "problem". Now I can only hope that my husband will do the same. Atleast for me, I know that I really need to consider a divorce as an alternative to being lonely, depressed and unhappy. Even though it was not easy, I am glad I read this book.
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on 24 March 1998
About 25 years ago John Gottman, a researcher at the University of Washington, started interviewing newlyweds in his laboratory. He hooked them up to devices that measure physical responses (blood pressure, heart rate, sweat on the palms, etc.) and videotaped them while they discussed a subject that was volatile for them. What topic was sure to create a heated argument? That's the one he wanted them to talk about. He was then able to go back and study the videotapes and watch the records of blood pressure and heart rate and see how the person responded both outwardly and inwardly. And then he tracked these couples over the years. Some broke up. Some stayed together.

He found something very specific that enabled him to predict, with an astoundingly high degree of accuracy, who will break up and who will stay together: How do they fight? He found four things -- four kinds of communication -- that ruin a marriage. If those four are present during an argument, the marriage is headed for disaster.

His most important discovery, I think, is that it isn't the CONTENT of the fight that makes a difference, it's the PROCESS you use during an argument. If you use a lousy method of fighting, it doesn't matter if you're only arguing about a toothpaste tube, it can destroy your marriage. But with the right PROCESS -- one that avoids those four disaster-creating methods -- you can talk about a highly volatile issue like infidelity and still keep the marriage together and your love alive.

When you're in an argument with your spouse, it always SEEMS that the important thing is WHAT you're arguing about. But that's not what matters. The important thing is HOW you argue. And Gottman's book tells you exactly how to avoid what doesn't work.
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on 17 June 1999
Excellent book for building a strong marriage. Helps you realize that some of the 'little' things you haven't been doing are really BIG things to the success of a marriage. Gives very specific examples, such as the idea of talking to each other about your hopes, dreams and fears. If you are parents you'll find a renewed sparkle between you. (Also, if you have kids, check out Perfect Parenting by Elizabeth Pantley)
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on 24 September 2013
Boring book full of boring case studies, really didn't find this useful at all. Just seemed abit old fashioned, rubbish.
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on 31 December 1998
This book saved my marriage, quite probably. We both wanted to do so, but it allowed us to see the path we were on and take corrective action.
It's so easy to get into a bad pattern.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 October 2007
If you and your spouse are screaming at each other over what color to paint the downstairs bathroom, it might be a sign that your marriage is in danger - but then again, it might not. The fact that you argue is not the issue. Problems, conflicts and disagreements are inevitable and unavoidable in life and in a marriage. The key to a stable, healthy marriage is the way you air and resolve conflict. Dr. John Gottman studied hundreds of couples for more than 20 years to identify what, if anything, healthy and failing marriages have in common. Based on his research, the most innovative part of the book, he believes that he can predict with 94% accuracy which couples will stay together and which ones will fall apart. Failing marriages tend to follow the same downward spiral, a path that leads to loneliness, anger, negativity and, eventually, dissolution. Recognizing these destructive communication patterns is the first step back to a healthy relationship. Gottman's research, conclusions and recommendations hold up surprisingly well. We recommend his timeless advice to couples who want to avoid - or address - marital pitfalls.
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on 12 June 1998
The author is using real science to analyze relationships moving the wacky field of psychology (almost) into one of true science. I found it enormously refreshing. It's not just a bunch of touchy-feely gibberish like most relationship books.
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on 16 September 1998
I enjoyed reading Gottman's book, especially after I had subjected myself to reading John Gray's preachy, opinionated and stereotype-based pop-psychology treatise, "Mars and Venus on a Date". I found that Gottman's scenarios involving different couples were a positive way to review his concepts, and easy to relate to real life. His scientific approach is refreshing, humanistic and intelligently written. An earlier reviewer asserted that the information that Gottman presents is basic, but I hadn't been exposed to any of the premises before, and I am grateful that I came upon his book. I highly recommend it as a sanity check for those who are questioning their relationships.
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on 27 August 2006
This book pinpoints the key causes of marital deterioration based on scientific study and provides useful advice for normal partners who both have the potential to accept their mistakes, resolve their differences and take corrective action. It is not really useful for those people who have a mentally or physically abusive spouse who is unlikely to accept that there is a problem let alone change his or her behaviour. In this case, following the advice in this book is likely to erode any remaining relf-respect that the abused spouse may have. There are some rather stereotyped views expressed on subjects such as housework and discussion of realistic and creative solutions to the division of traditionally male and female dominated domestic chores is ignored.
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