Supreme Love

7 Scientific proven principles for building a successful marriage

7 Scientific proven principles for building a successful marriage

There’s a belief that some of life’s toughest challenges don’t come with a guidebook, yet ‘The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work’ by Dr. John Gottman and Nan Silver is as close as one can get to a comprehensive manual for a successful marriage.

Drawing from four decades of scientific research and real-time observations in their book, they offer a blend of research findings and practical advice aimed at fostering enduring and satisfying relationships.

Based on extensive longitudinal studies of couples, Gottman and Silver distill their insights into seven key principles. While implementing these principles requires dedication and practice, they can profoundly impact the dynamics of a relationship, laying the foundation for a strong and healthy partnership.

01. Deepen your understanding of your partner’s world

According to Gottman, emotionally intelligent couples possess detailed knowledge of their partner’s inner world.

Enhancing your love maps involves delving into your partner’s experiences, understanding their love language, and acknowledging significant life events.

By mutually comprehending each other’s realities, couples cultivate care and strengthen their bond.

Enriching your love maps requires a profound understanding of your partner’s essence. Reflecting on questions like their favorite songs, biggest fears, dreams, stressors, and significant life events can deepen this understanding.

Assessing your familiarity with your partner’s love map through such inquiries can identify areas for improvement. However, deficiencies in this aspect don’t necessarily spell doom for your marriage. Open and honest communication can facilitate the enhancement of your love map over time.

02. Cultivate fondness and admiration

In a successful marriage, fondness and admiration reflect a deep-seated respect and affection for your partner.

According to Gottman and Silver, the absence of fondness and admiration could signal irreparable damage to the marriage.

To assess the presence of admiration and fondness, Gottman suggests revisiting the story of your initial meeting and courtship.

His earlier research demonstrated that couples’ narratives about their relationship beginnings could predict divorce or marital stability with remarkable accuracy.

Nurturing your relationship to become a successful marriage could involve:

  • Planning regular date nights
  • Exploring new hobbies or activities together
  • Expressing gratitude and appreciation for your spouse
  • Offering genuine compliments

If prioritizing fondness toward your partner isn’t a focus, couples therapy might be worth considering.

03. Choose connection over disconnection

In healthy and successful marriages, partners often seek each other’s attention through bids. For instance, if you share, “I’m having a rough day at work,” and your partner responds dismissively with, “I’m too busy to talk,” it signifies turning away from each other.

Conversely, when your partner reaches out for your attention and you respond by being present, listening, and offering support, it demonstrates turning toward each other. This act of choosing connection helps replenish each other’s emotional reserves, as emphasized by longtime marriage counselor Gary Chapman in his book ‘The Five Love Languages.’

Maintaining a full emotional tank through such mutual engagement can prove invaluable during challenging times, enabling couples to navigate difficulties with resilience and affection.

04. Be open to your partner’s influence

Stronger bonds are forged when couples collaborate as a unit. In successful marriages where power dynamics are balanced, decisions are made collectively. By actively seeking your partner’s input in major choices, sharing viewpoints, and considering their perspective, you enable them to exert influence.

Allowing your partner to influence you doesn’t equate to relinquishing control. Rather, it involves open communication and incorporating your significant other’s input into decision-making processes.

Even amidst disagreements, maintaining calm, respectful discussions fosters mutual respect and understanding within a successful marriage.

05. Address solvable issues

Marriage often presents two types of problems: perpetual and solvable.

Perpetual issues tend to be intricate, potentially leading to communication impasses. However, recurrent challenges with your partner don’t preclude a fulfilling relationship.

Solvable problems, on the other hand, are typically more straightforward. They allow for direct confrontation and resolution without underlying conflict or resentment.

According to Gottman, tackling solvable problems involves five key steps:

  1. Initiate discussions calmly and respectfully to ensure both parties feel heard.
  2. Recognize and respond to repair attempts, which are actions or statements aimed at de-escalating conflict.
  3. Take breaks to calm down and soothe both yourself and your partner, enhancing problem-solving capabilities.
  4. Seek compromises that satisfy both parties, fostering healthy conflict resolution.
  5. Embrace each other’s imperfections, acknowledging humanity and fostering an environment conducive to peaceful negotiation.

06. Resolve communication standstills

Communication gridlock arises when persistent disagreements hinder productive dialogue. For instance, you may find yourselves at an impasse with your spouse when ongoing issues stifle constructive conversation, making it challenging to find common ground.

Overcoming gridlock entails engaging in healthy dialogue about the underlying issues rather than focusing solely on problem-solving. According to Gottman, unfulfilled aspirations often underlie gridlock.

To navigate gridlock effectively, consider the following steps:

  1. Delve into the root causes of the issue.
  2. Communicate calmly and respectfully.
  3. Identify non-negotiable and flexible aspects of the conflict.
  4. Conclude the discussion on a positive note, expressing gratitude and appreciation for your partner.

Gottman’s 2017 research indicates that content couples who maintain lasting successful marriages can transition from gridlock to constructive dialogue regarding perpetual issues. This shift occurs through accepting your partner and understanding their subconscious aspirations or motives.

07. Establish mutual significance

Fostering shared meaning entails integrating your aspirations, responsibilities, and traditions. By acknowledging each other’s needs, desires, and aspirations, you can discover fulfillment in aligning your purposes.

Meaningful connections within successful marriages can be forged through various forms of intimacy shared and explored together.

For instance, a couple might cultivate shared meaning when one partner arranges an ideal birthday celebration for the other. Collaborating on shared goals with your partner can deepen your emotional bond and sense of closeness.

7 Scientific proven principles for building a successful marriage conclusion

Adhering to Gottman and Silver’s seven principles detailed in ‘The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work’ can function as a guide to enhance the bond within a successful marriage.

Each principle complements and reinforces the others, forming an interconnected framework. By establishing healthier habits based on earlier principles, applying subsequent ones becomes more manageable.

Investing effort in fostering connection, communication, and mutual respect is essential for cultivating a joyful, fulfilling and successful marriage.