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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
by John Gottman, Ph.D., and Nan Silver © 2004.(Orion House: London, England) [288 pages].
[Answer 14 of 20 questions correctly to receive
13 hours of Continuing Education credit].

 

Chapter 1 -- Inside the Seattle Love Lab: The Truth about Happy Marriages
1. The authors say that it is not wise to stay in a bad marriage for the sake of the children, that it is clearly harmful to raise kids in a home that is subsumed by hostility between the parents. (p. 6) Yet the authors urge all married couples to try and save their marriages and keep them strong. Why?
a. because the divorce rate is too high. 67% of first marriages end in divorce over a 40-year period.
b. because divorce rarely produces peace. Hostility usually continues after the breakup.
c. because it is possible for couples to learn how to keep their negative thoughts and feelings about each other from overwhelming their positive ones.
d. all of the above.

2. According to Lynn Gigy, Ph.D., and Joan Kelly, Ph.D., from the Divorce Mediation Project in Corte Madera, CA, 80% of divorced men and women said their marriage broke up because
a. one of the spouses committed adultery over a period of several months.
b. they gradually grew apart and lost a sense of closeness or they did not feel loved and appreciated.
c. one spouse did fewer acts of kindness and service than the other spouse.
d. each spouse did not like to sit and talk for hours about their relationship.

Most marital arguments cannot be resolved. Couples spend year after year trying to change each other’s mind -- but it can’t be done. This is because most of their disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences of lifestyle, personality, or values. -- (p. 23)
 

Chapter 2 -- How I Predict Divorce
3. Which couple has the greatest likelihood of divorcing?
a. a couple who experience occasional flooding.
b. a couple who occasionally has all four horsemen.
c. a couple who often has all four horsemen with successful repair attempts.
d. a couple who often has all four horsemen with failed repair attempts.

                                                   THE SIX PREDICTORS OF DIVORCE

1. A Harsh Startup: when a marital argument begins with contempt, accusations, sarcasm, or criticism. 96% of the time you can predict the outcome of a conversation based on the first 3 minutes of the fifteen-minute interaction.
2. The Four Horsemen:
 
Criticism
-- The result of adding blame and character assassination to simply complaining about your spouse’s behavior.
Contempt
-- Any demeaning behavior that conveys disgust: sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, hostile humor. Also, includes the aggressive anger, threats, and provocation of belligerence.
Defensiveness
-- A disguised way of blaming your partner: “The problem isn’t me, it’s you.”
Stonewalling
-- withdrawing, tuning out, disengaging emotionally, not giving any cues whatsoever that you are paying attention to your spouse.

3. Flooding: being shell-shocked from sudden and overwhelming negativity.
4. Body Language: increased heart-rate, adrenaline, blood pressure.
5. Failed Repair Attempts
6. Bad Memories: In a bad marriage, the couple will recast their courtship in a negative light.

                                                       THE FOUR FINAL STAGES

                                         1. You see your marital problems as severe.
                                         2. Talking things over seem useless.
                                             You try to solve problems on your own.
                                         3. You start leading parallel lives.
                                         4. Loneliness sets in.
 

Chapter 3 -- Principle 1: Enhance Your Love Maps
4. What is a love map?
a. all the intimate and personal details of your spouse’s life.
b. a guide for understanding gender differences between men and women.
c. techniques for effective love-making.
d. a useful communication tool for spouses.

Chapter 4 -- Principle 2: Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration
5. The best test of whether a couple still has a functioning fondness and admiration system is
a. if they have positive, vivid memories of their early years.
b. how much they currently spend time together.
c. how well they resolve conflict.
d. how much they have in common.

Fondness and admiration are antidotes for contempt. If you maintain a sense of respect for your spouse, you are less likely to act disgusted with him or her when you disagree…If your mutual fondness and admiration have been completely extinguished, your marriage is in dire trouble. Without the fundamental belief that your spouse is worthy of honor and respect, where is the basis for any kind of rewarding relationship? -- (p. 65)
 

6. If a married couple has deeply entrenched negativity which has eroded their fondness and admiration, the author suggests they do which of the following?
a. Identify 3 things they appreciate about their spouse.
b. Discuss the history of their marriage, especially the happy events.
c. Five days per week for seven weeks, focus on one positive statement about your spouse and
complete a simple task.
d. All of the above

Chapter 5 -- Principle 3: Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away
7. The best way to keep romance alive in your marriage is to
a. have sex regularly.
b. go away just the two of you for a weekend.
c. watch passionate movies.
d. show your spouse every day in little ways how you value him or her.

8. The purpose for a married couple reuniting at the end of the day and talking about how it went is to manage the stress that is not caused by your marriage. This conversation will NOT reduce a couple’s stress if
a. the husband gives his wife advice about how to solve her problem rather than just giving her emotional support.
b. you take your spouse’s side, even it you think he or she is unreasonable.
c. you show physical affection during this talk.
d. you validate your spouse‘s emotions.

Chapter 6 -- Principle 4: Let Your Partner Influence You

When a husband is not willing to share power with his wife, there is an 81% chance that his marriage will self-destruct. -- (p. 100)
 

9. What is TRUE about an “emotionally intelligent” husband?
a. He accepts influence from his wife.
b. He honors his wife and conveys respect to her.
c. He values family over his career and is an outstanding father.
d. all of the above.

10. A husband comes home from work, takes off his shoes, watches the news on television, opens the mail, and makes a bit of a mess. One night his wife says, “It really makes me mad the way you leave your stuff around.” A good response from the husband is:
a. “I have a right to relax after a hard day at work.”
b. “Sorry, sweetheart. I’ll clean it up right now.”
c. “You shouldn’t get upset over little things.”
d. “What about the messes YOU make?”

Chapter 7 -- The Two Kinds of Marital Conflict
11. ____ of marital conflicts are perpetual, ongoing disagreements which will never be completely resolved.
a.   9%
b. 19%
c. 39%
d. 69%

12. What is the difference between solvable and perpetual problems?
a. Solvable problems have an obvious solution.
b. Perpetual problems eventually lead to divorce.
c. Perpetual problems symbolize larger, underlying conflicts like trust, respect, security, and selfishness.
d. Solvable problems are not painful to solve.

13. It’s just a fact that people can change only if
a. they hurt someone close to them.
b. they are convinced they have a character flaw.
c. they are liked, understood, and accepted as they are.
d. they suffer enough and no longer want to be miserable.

Chapter 8 -- Principle 5: Solve Your Solvable Problems

JOHN GOTTMAN’S APPROACH TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION

1. Soften your startup.
2. Learn to make and receive repair attempts.
3. Soothe yourself and each other.
4. Compromise.
5. Be tolerant of each other’s faults.
 

14.When is a wife justified in using a harsh startup with her husband?
a. When her husband has been a poor listener and nothing else works.
b. When their marriage is really in trouble and she has to get his attention.
c. When her husband has been very irresponsible and leaves most of the work for her to do.
d. Never. She should always calm down before bringing up a subject
    matter.

15. What is the major reason why some repair attempts fail to work?
a. Because the listening spouse perceives insincerity.
b. Because the talking spouse uses the wrong tone of voice.
c. Because the listening spouse is flooded.
d. Because the talking spouse uses humor at the wrong time.

Chapter 9 -- Coping with Typical Solvable Problems

The most typical areas of marital conflict are: work stress, in-laws, money, sex, housework, and a new baby. -- (p. 187)
 

16. What do the authors recommend when a wife has a conflict with her mother-in-law?
a. The husband must step in and side with his wife against his mother.
b. The wife and the mother-in-law need to resolve their own conflicts.
c. The husband must ask his father to get his mother to back off.
d. The husband should teach his wife how to get along with his mother.

17. Which of the following is the best response from a husband who would like to make love to his wife more frequently than she would?
a. He asks her “Why don’t you want to make love more frequently?”
b. He asks her what kind of massage she would like today.
c. He buys a book about sexual techniques and asks her to read it.
d. He tells her every day how attractive she is.

18. Which is TRUE about housework?
a. Unlike years ago, men today are doing their fair share of housework.
b. Wives find their husbands willingness to do housework extremely erotic.
c. The best solution to housework is to hire a cleaning service.
d. Men usually estimate correctly the amount of daily, domestic chores they actually do.

In the year after the first baby arrives, 67% of wives experience a precipitous plummet in their marital satisfaction. Reasons include lack of sleep, feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated, the awesome responsibility of caring for such a helpless little creature, juggling mothering with a job, economic stress, and lack of time to oneself, among other things…What makes the other 33% of new mothers happy?…The extent to which the husband goes through all these changes with them instead of pining away for the way it used to be and resenting his wife and new child. -- (p. 211-212)
 

Chapter 12 -- Principle 6: Overcome Gridlock
19. Gridlock is caused by having symbolic dreams which represent deeper hopes and aspirations that aren’t being addressed or respected by each other. The solution to gridlock is
a. for one of the spouses to be willing to give up his or her dreams.
b. for each spouse to see that gridlock is not just caused by their partner  but also by their own hidden dreams which they may not be aware of.
c. for each spouse to talk about what the gridlocked event symbolizes for each of them and to attempt a partial compromise to a problem they probably will always have.
d. b & c

There are three different levels of honoring your partner’s dreams -- all of which are beneficial to your marriage. The first is to express understanding of the dream and be interested in learning more about it even though you don’t share it. The second level would be to offer financial support for the dream. The third level would be to become part of the dream. Every spouse can at least achieve the first level. Rather than seeing each other’s dreams as threats, they see them for what they are: deep desires held by someone they love. Although their dreams are still in opposition, they are now motivated to find common ground, to find a way to respect and perhaps even accommodate both of them.-- (p. 233-236)
 

Afterward: What Now?
20. The author said that his religion helped him to overcome a problem in himself that is “wrong 85% of the time in most marriages.” What was the problem?
a. not having enough love for his wife.
b. being too stubborn to compromise.
c. not forgiving himself for all his imperfections.
d. having expectations which were too high.

Donald Baucom, Ph.D., found that people with the highest expectations for their marriage usually wind up with the highest quality marriages. Those who refused to put up with lots of negativity -- who insisted on gently confronting each other when, say, contempt or defensiveness threatened to become pervasive, wound up happy and satisfied years later. (p. 261-262) To help cherish and nourish what is good in myself and my family: Expressions of thanksgiving and praise are the antidotes to the poison of criticism and its deadly cousin, contempt. (p. 265)