Book Review: ‘Why Marriages Succeed or Fail and How to Make Yours Last’ by Dr. John Gottman

Dr. John Gottman says, “If there is one lesson I have learned from my years of research, it is that a lasting marriage is the result of the couple’s ability to resolve the conflicts that are unavoidable in any relationship.” The following book is not just the opinion of a couples therapist, but a compilation of findings from the work of a relationship expert and scientist who has researched your topic for the past 40 years.


In this book, Dr. John Gottman provides his readers with the ability to find out more about their relationship through self-assessments and self-assessments. Beyond that, this book also offers practical exercises, quizzes, tips, techniques, and proven strategies to improve your relationship or marriage.

More in details

Based on his years of research with real-life couples, Dr. John Gottman first answers the question ‘What makes marriage work?’ As you read this book, you will learn that there are significantly different styles of marriage, which he calls ‘The good, the bad, and the volatile’ and that frequent arguments need not necessarily lead to divorce if other factors are in balance.

Dr. John Gottman is famous for ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’, the warning signs in all relationships that tumble towards martial disaster. Dr. Gottman argues that these pitfalls – criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and cross-marks – can be seen in couples moving toward less and less satisfaction in their relationship.

This book is not just another set of opinions from a relationship therapist, it is the result of her work with thousands of couples over many years of empirical study. This research has allowed Dr. Gottman to predict which relationships will last with 94 percent accuracy, while normal relationship experts can only predict this in 10 percent of their cases.

About the Author

As mentioned above, Dr. John Gottman has collected significant amounts of data researching couples in what he calls ‘The Love Lab.’ He has also written and co-authored 40 books and published 190 academic articles. She has appeared on television on shows such as Good Morning America, Today, CBS Morning News, and Oprah and has published some of her work in various publications such as The New York Times, Women’s Day, Reader’s Digest, and Psychology Today, just to name a few.

Together with his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, they founded the Gottman Institute for Relationships; they schedule marathon therapy appointments and run relationship workshops.


This is a ‘must read’ if you are interested in improving your relationship and really, who isn’t? The best case would be if both husband and wife read the book, but it is already very beneficial for one to read and introduce the concepts to the other.

Personally, John Gottman’s work forms the basis of my work with a couple of clients in my practice and his concepts work with great success.

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