Seven PrinciplesBy Attorneys Adreanah Eberly & Joseph T. Barberi

   Every married person knows just how stressful it can be to make a marriage work. We all go through ups and downs in our marriage relationships, but did you know that science can predict who will remain happily married for many years and who is headed for divorce? Thanks to many years of work at his Seattle “Love Lab”, Dr. John M. Gottman, has discovered the seven principles that make a healthy, happy marriage last. Dr. Gottman can predict, with 91% accuracy, whether a couple will be divorced in six years after spending just fifteen minutes observing them.

The following are Dr. Gottman’s Seven Principles:

  1. Share Love Maps: Take a mental inventory of your partner's likes and dislikes, their favorite movie, and how they like to be pampered. Use this information to have engaging conversations and even spark joy into your relationship.
  2. Nurture Your Fondness & Admiration: A healthy marriage starts with a friendship, and that friendship should be based on your appreciation and care for your partner. Continue to focus on this friendship by engaging in activities of mutual interest and the occasional date night. Show your spouse you care about spending quality time with them.
  3. Turn Towards Each Other Instead of Away: Building off of the second principle, communicate frequently and openly with your spouse. Go to each other with your problems, hopes, dreams, or even a funny joke. When one of you is facing a tough time, strategize ways you can overcome this together, instead of siding with negativity.
  4. Let Your Partner Influence You: Both partners should have a say in important marital/family decisions. For some people, this may be easier than others due to their unique personality, but make it a point to allow your partner to have a say, even if you think you way is “the best.”
  5. Solve Your Solvable Problems: Some problems simply cannot be fixed, but you do not have to fixate on those things. Pick a small problem that you and your spouse both have flexibility on, and work from there. The more practice you have solving these problems, the easier it will be to work through those tougher “gridlocks.”
  6. Overcome Gridlock: For the problems that you cannot fix, turn your attention towards overcoming the problem instead. Religion, family planning, and finances are some of the most common sources of gridlock, but understanding that each spouse gets a say and learning positive ways to live with these differences is key.
  7. Create Shared Meaning: Find a common hobby, goal, or dream that you and your partner share. Talk about and engage in things that enhance your shared interest. For some people, this could be working towards a beautiful retirement home, for others it could mean sharing a daily devotional. The possibilities are endless, and the benefits are immeasurable.

Yes, we do our best to help couples who have decided to end their marriages with a divorce or a degree of separate maintenance. That being said, a divorce affects the extended family members of both spouses. So it’s with this realization that we share these principles to help couples stay happily married!

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