By John Gottman, PhD, Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD, and Joan DeClaire (Three Rivers Press, 2007)
Famous for their ability to predict the likelihood of long-term relationship success or failure in the couples they study in their Seattle “Love Lab,” psychologists John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman have earned an enviable reputation among their professional peers. Here, they share insights from their science-based studies to show how couples in healthy, happy, lasting marriages face conflict effectively and without unnecessary damage. Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage contains 10 dialogues that show couples learning to change their communication habits in favor of greater closeness. Each couple takes a stab at one of their chronic issues, like one partner’s workaholism or disputes about parenting. In an adjacent column, the Gottmans give a blow-by-blow commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of the couple’s approach to the problem. Then, the couple is shown communicating much more effectively on a second try. This approach makes it clear where subtle things go wrong over time and illustrates how just a few relatively small adjustments can help get them back on track. Superb, easily adopted wisdom for reviving a partnership under stress, and a great resource to strengthen already-happy relationships for the long haul.