He discusses behaviors that he has observed in marriages that are successful and those that are detrimental to marriage based on his research conducted at his love lab in Seattle, Washington. He has outlined seven principles that will reinforce the positive aspects of a relationship and help marriages endure during the rough moments.
1. Enhance Your Love Maps.
Gottman defines a love map as the place in your brain where you store information pertaining to your partner. This is crucial in really knowing your partner, their dreams, hopes, interests, and maintaining their interest throughout the relationship.
2. Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration.
This means laying down a positive view about your spouse, respecting and appreciating their differences.
3. Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away.
Acknowledging your partner's small moments in life and orienting yourself towards them will maintain that
necessary connection that is vital for the relationship.
4. Let Your Partner Influence You.
It is important to maintain your own identity in a relationship, but it is equally important to yield to your partner and give in. If both partners allow one another this influence, then they will learn to respect one another on a deeper level.
5. Solve Your Solveable Problems.
It is important to compromise on issues that can be resolved, which Gottman believes can be accomplished by these five steps: soften your startup, learn to make and receive repair attempts, soothe yourself and each other, compromise, and be tolerant of each other’s faults.
6. Overcome Gridlock.
Major issues that cannot be resolved because both partners’ views are so fundamentally different involves understanding of the other person and deep communication. The goal is to at least get to a position that allows the other person to empathize with the partner's view, even if a compromise cannot be reached.
7. Create Shared Meaning.
Create a shared value system that continually connects the partners through rituals/traditions, shared roles and symbols.