My book review on a book about marriage – Apr 27, 2021
I recently bought a book called Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work written by John M. Gottman at a used book store. It cost only $1. Although it is by no means a Christian book, I think Christians can benefit from reading it.
Christian books about marriage are Bible-centered so they give us biblical principles for marriage. But they tend to give narrow definitions of manhood and womanhood, which may not fit everyone. Each man has different needs because he is different in character, temperament, and social background. So does each woman.
On the contrary, the author of this book has a needs-centered approach to marriage. He makes a scientific observation on hundreds of married couples in their special labs and draws seven principles for a healthy marriage. He explains why and how some married couples stay together happily while others don’t. Here is a paragraph from the first chapter.
“What can make a marriage work is surprisingly simple. Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer, or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day-to-day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other … from overwhelming their positive ones. … Rather than creating a climate of disagreement and resistance, they embrace each other’s needs. When addressing a partner’s request, their motto tends to be a helpful ‘Yes, and…’ rather than ‘Yes, but…’. This positive attitude not only allows them to maintain but also to increase the sense of romance, play, fun, adventure, and learning together that are at the heart of any long-lasting love affair. They have what I call an emotionally intelligent marriage.”
To be honest, I got more from this book than the Christian books about marriage that I have read. I believe we can get some insights from non-Christian authors whatever subjects are.