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John Gottman has revolutionized the study of marriage by using rigorous scientific procedures to observe the habits of married couples in unprecedented detail over many years. Here is the culmination of his life's work: the seven principles that guide couples on the path toward a harmonious and long-lasting relationship. Packed with practical questionnaires and exercises, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is the definitive guide for anyone who wants their relationship to attain its highest potential.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (May 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609805797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609805794
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces

Customer Reviews

Read with a highlighter in hand

12 people found this helpful.
 on January 26, 2015
By BHodges
Seven Principles is a research-based book addressing a variety of marital difficulties. Gottman bases his advice on clinical studies—observable, repeatable, and quantifiable data—which makes the heart-directed core of his book all the more more surprising. It promotes a science of emotion and communication. It’s a bit on the long side due to its many examples and descriptions, but it’s worth sticking through to the end. The questionnaires peppered throughout the book are particularly useful at helping you diagnose areas which need improvement, followed by specific counsel on how to improve. In short: this is much more a workbook with assignments than a lecture or sermon to memorize.

Marriage Sustenance

One person found this helpful.
 on February 8, 2014
By drphilipjay
The longer one is married the more one needs to deal with the changes in lifestyles, morals, customs, beliefs and behavioral changes in one’s spouse and self. Very good read..and ideas for making the promise made kept…and how to bridge toes changing environments. The only parts if the book that is a non-plus are those pages with multiple questions asking you to circle answers..which when you are reading via an e-book..like a Nexus 7 it is impossible. Sure one could transfer the book over to a cuter and print pages and then take the tests..but it is not realistic. The books seems to relate to the first 20 years of learning the real personality traits and behavior of one’s spouse, including dealing with the myriad of painful times that go along with each other..but strays from providing more definable discussions for those of us married for 55 years. While that in itself is a great tribute to the love and admiration, respect each of us has for the other…there are other annoyances which conflict relationships that is not discussed. Otherwise a resourceful and usable help in making marriages work better and lasting forever.

Yay, Gottman!

One person found this helpful.
 on February 13, 2017
By Lena's Mum
Dr. Gottman’s principles are simple but they aren’t easy. Some of the exercises are fun, others, not so much.

good book

One person found this helpful.
 on April 15, 2014
By MJ Mac
there is so much practical advise in this book.


2 people found this helpful.
 on December 9, 2012
By D. Cumberland
This book comes from the knowledgeable position of research into married couples from an observation methodology. I liked that especially well; it’s not opinion-based. Once I began reading, I could see clearly how marriages I know that have failed do trot out the “four horsemen” and how admiration and friendship radiate in marriages I admire. I applied some principles in this book and some from “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It” and saw an immediate positive difference in my own marriage. The only reason I give four stars rather than five is because this book approaches all the exercises from the assumption that the couple is equally interested in the “let’s work on our marriage” perspective, which would not be useful for me. This is one element I like better about the other book. However, you can still do or partially do the exercises in this book without sitting down as a couple and “agreeing” to work on the marriage, and it will still have tremendously positive results if only one person makes a decision to do these positive things.

EXCELLENT book and I recommend couples to read it BEFORE …

 on April 4, 2015
By cj
EXCELLENT book and I recommend couples to read it BEFORE they get married or shortly thereafter BEFORE problems and emotional baggage build up and can’t be repaired. Great for any stage of a relationship however, and also helpful for ANY relationship-not just marriage. A lot of basic relationship advice, communication and expectations discussed that would be helpful for co-workers, neighbors or relatives ect.

The best insight on relationships and how they work

7 people found this helpful.
 on June 16, 2010
By Jay B.
After 25 years of marriage, the relationship between my wife and I was probably typical of many marriages – we were living parallel lives under a single roof, united by children and our common goals in raising them. We were physically present but not emotionally present in our relationship; we lacked the depth, the emotional bond we once had.

definitely different marriage counseling book

 on December 3, 2013
By L. Rodgers
This book is different from most other self help , counseling books. Don’t misunderstand that statement- the book is very easy to read, and is not filled with a lot of dry abstract statements.

Marriage is as complex as it is potentially rewarding. …

One person found this helpful.
 on May 4, 2017
By Andrew Alexander
Marriage is as complex as it is potentially rewarding. Gottman serves up secret handshake after secret handshake and, with 67% of marriages ending in divorce before the 40th anniversary, it is no exaggeration to say that this book should be incorporated into the high school syllabus.

Trustworthy Advice

 on January 8, 2014
By Bookophile 7
John Gottman is quite clear about the fact that some problems in marriages are solvable and some are perpetual. In this book he gives trustworthy advice one how to negotiate both kinds of problems. The advice is trustworthy because he and his associates have spent countless hours watching couples interact with each other through one way glass and then checking which approaches result in happy marriages down the track. The marriages where individuals are interested in each other’s preferences, show warmth, affection and respect and allow the other to influence their decisions, do well. These things are like the mortar that form the bricks of a marriage into a coherent structure. On the other hand there are some activities that are so corrosive, Gottman calls them ‘th four horsemen of the apocalypse’ these are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. Use these at your own peril! This fascinating and practical book is aimed at the lay reader but could be helpful for psychologists and social workers involved in marriage counselling or mediation.