A world-renowned relationship expert shares his research about love and what it takes to develop a trustful, intimate, and emotionally fulfilling bond.
In this insightful book, celebrated research psychologist and couples counselor John Gottman plumbs the mysteries of love and shares the results of his famous “Love Lab”: Where does love come from? Why does some love last, and why does some fade? And how can we keep it alive? Based on laboratory findings, this book shows readers how to identify signs, behaviors, and attitudes that indicate a fraying relationship and provides strategies for repairing what may seem lost or broken.
Gottman and Silver (coauthors of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work) bring the quantitative, physiological metrics-based methods pioneered in Gottman's "Love Lab" at the University of Washington to the topics of trust, betrayal, and infidelity. In an easy-to-understand format full of anecdotes, imaginary dialogues, and analogies to game theory, Gottman explains lack of trust in a relationship as a deficit of attunement, positing that once the body becomes "flooded" by physiological stress reactions, attempts to repair communication fail. He explains betrayal as a logical outcome of a pattern in which partners fail to communicate their discontent, one partner becomes untrustworthy and makes negative comparisons between the partner and some other person or situation, and the injured partner seeks solace elsewhere. Though clear that there are various types of betrayal (e.g., absenteeism, making coalitions against a partner, and lying), much of the book covers communicating about and renewing sexuality as both a method for and a result of better attunement between partners. The practical tools to evaluate current relationships and step-by-step methods for avoiding betrayal, repairing relationships heading toward crisis, or healing a relationship after a crisis will be useful to couples who want to look honestly at healing chronic hurts and improving the state of their relationship, and are ready for a system to help them.