[Series: What I Read In Seminary #7] The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert

John Gottman and Nan Silver, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, 2nd ed. (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2015), perhaps the leading secular work on marriage counseling, has some common grace wisdom that has been revealed. Some of that truth they share matches up nicely with 1 Pet 3:7, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” and with Jas 1:19, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”. Yet Gottman and Silver’s advice is behavior modification at its best. The advice seems to function like “you will be more satisfied if you do a few things differently”. The self-esteem ideology is rampant throughout with advice like that available in the book’s afterword “Forgive Yourself”,[1] which even goes so far as to misunderstand “Amazing Grace”.[2]

Furthermore, the book provides no hope for those without feelings for their spouse and it provides no hope for those in abusive relationships; they do not have the power that solely belongs to God, the power to change the hearts of even the worst of sinners. The book presumes that if you are in counseling you have good feelings toward your spouse but has nothing to offer those seeking to maintain a marriage at its breaking point.

The only other commendable thing I have to say is that book has some decent homework options for counselees. Ultimately, if you are looking for help, look elsewhere.


  1. John Gottman and Nan Silver, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert , 2nd ed. (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2015), 282. ↩︎

  2. Gottman and Silver, The Seven Principles, 284. ↩︎