Why Marriages Succeed or Fail | John M. Gottman

Summary of: Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last
By: John M. Gottman

Introduction

Discover the secrets to a lasting marriage as we delve into John M. Gottman’s book, ‘Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last.’ This engaging summary will introduce you to the three key styles of successful relationships – validating, volatile, and avoidant – and help you understand the importance of conflict in maintaining a healthy partnership. Gottman’s groundbreaking work identifies the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling – as clear indicators of marital problems. In this summary, we will explore ways that couples can break free from these destructive patterns and develop essential communication skills to build a strong, lasting partnership.

Three Key Styles of Successful Relationships

Successful marriages can take on different forms and require a delicate balance of conflict and positivity. Dr. Gottman has identified three key styles of successful relationships: validating, volatile, and avoidant. Validating couples respectfully acknowledge and work out problems. Volatile couples have passionate fights but quickly make up and enjoy each other’s company. Avoidant couples skirt around problems but emphasize what keeps them together. However, successful marriages can fall into a negative spiral when red flags are present, called The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. It’s essential to identify these patterns in your marriage to avoid negative communication.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

This book excerpt highlights the dangers of criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling in a relationship. The author shares a case study of Eric and Pam, a couple whose relationship spiraled downward as they engaged in these destructive behaviors. Ultimately, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse can end a marriage, but with awareness and effort, there is hope for healing and strengthening the bond.

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