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Notes from - The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work



  • The more developed your love map, the stronger your love
  • Functioning couples have a richly detailed love map.
  • without really knowing your partner, how can you truly love them?
  • It’s important to be aware of your love map because it contains your own and your partner’s aspirations and life philosophies.
  • becoming a parent changes your values and identity
  • love map had changed to fit her new priorities, and Ken had to realign his own love map accordingly
  • key is to assess your feelings when you both think of the past you’ve shared together
  • avoid taking their everyday interactions for granted
  • fondness and admiration system – where both partners share a sense of respect and appreciation toward one another – ask them how they see their history.
  • most long-term, stable marriages are those in which the husband treats his wife with respect
  • the important moments in a marriage are the daily conversations you have with your spouse
  • take a brief pause in your work day to give some attention to your partner and his or her worries, you turn toward each other, meaning you reinforce your marriage and maintain romance.
  • that marriages in which husbands allow their wives to influence them are happier and less likely to end in divorce
  • let each other influence their decisions by taking each others’ opinions and feelings into account.
  • During brief and seemingly trivial chitchats, couples turn toward one another.
  • When we’re apart, I think of my partner positively. I can easily list three things I admire in my partner. My partner is happy to see me when I come into a room.
  • Contempt is snarling or mocking behavior designed to undermine your partner and make them feel small and useless. Contempt is toxic because it leads to further conflict.
  • When you feel gridlocked because of a problem that can’t be solved, you have to learn to cope with it.
  • You don’t have to agree on what is meaningful about your lives together.
  • Faced with a contemptuous partner, you respond by getting defensive and arguing that your behavior isn’t as bad as they say it is
  • Suggested further reading: Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller Attached is all about how to make your relationships work.
  • but the more shared meaning you can find, the deeper and more fulfilling your relationship will be.
  • To monitor yourself, take notice of gestures, facial expressions and vocal pitch – don’t scream at your wife when you see she’s already in tears!
  • Even if the issue seems unsolvable, you should keep working at it and try to target what is actually feeding the conflict.
  • Marriage has a spiritual aspect to it, and for that to develop you must build a sense of shared meaning. It’s extremely difficult to live harmoniously together without being familiar with each others’ values.
  • Test your love map with these true/false statements. I can name my spouse’s best friends. I know my spouse’s current biggest worries. I can tell you my spouse’s philosophy on life. I can list my spouse’s favorite music.
  • “the four horsemen of the apocalypse,” are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.
  • When someone has experienced enough contempt and criticism from his partner, he’ll disengage from conversation. Rather than becoming defensive, he’ll respond to an attack with an “Uh-uh,” or “Sure,” or by avoiding face-to-face interaction.
  • But a warning sign of a troubled marriage is when these complaints turn into criticism. Whereas a complaint focuses on a specific failure, for example, “You forgot to take the trash out again!”, criticism highlights a fault in your partner’s character, such as “The trash was left again – you’re so lazy!”
  • most marital problems are perpetual, meaning they keep occurring over and over again.
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