If Your Marriage Needs Help, This Book Offers Some

The Gottmans are famed marriage experts, and their new book offers a 7-day plan
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2022 10:00 AM CDT
Can a Book Really Strengthen Your Marriage in One Week?
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/fizkes)

Google "famous marriage researchers" and you'll get an entire page of results about the Gottmans. John and Julie Gottman have been married since 1987, and they're prolific on the research front: They run the Gottman Institute, have hundreds of therapists certified in their methods, and have written more than 40 books—most recent among them The Love Prescription: 7 Days to More Intimacy, Connection and Joy. In a piece for the New York Times, Catherine Pearson recounts her experience of putting the book's advice to the test with her own husband, while also delving into some of the Gottmans' methods in a more general way. Their most-touted one is "turning toward." How it works: When one partner tries to connect—which could be as simple as mentioning a new restaurant they just read about—the other partner has three choices.

Ignore (turn away); respond in a negative manner, such as saying, "Can't you see I'm busy doing all the dishes right now?" (turn against); or respond positively (turn toward). Turning toward can be minimal; even a "hmm, interesting," qualifies. The idea is those moments of connection add up, and matter. The Gottmans offer this as proof: an experiment in which they observed 130 newlyweds for the day. Six years later, those who were still married had turned toward each other 86% of the time; those who were divorced had only done that 33% of the time. It's one strategy Pearson put to the test, along with ones involving 10-minute check-ins, asking big open-ended questions, voicing more gratitude and compliments, and regular date nights. (Read her full story to see Pearson's take after her week following their advice.)

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