Today I attended a lecture at the Berkeley Rep called "A Conversation with John Gottman". John Gottman is one of my heroes. For a long time, those of us who are couples therapists just went along with intuition as our guide. No one really knew what made relationships successful or not, they just went with what their intuition told them about relationships. So born were things like "active listening" in which one person talks and the other listens and repeats it back, and those types of things.
Turns out that doesn't really work for relationships. And the person who found that out - or one of them - is John Gottman. He's actually been doing research for 20 years now on what makes relationships work and he's willing to be proven wrong. He claims he can predict with 94% accuracy whether a relationship will survive or not, based on certain factors.
If you are interested in self-help books about relationships, his books are highly readable for the public. His lecture today was also highly entertaining and informative.
If you want general information about couples relationships, read "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" (you can still read it even if you are not married)
If you want information on relationships, both couples relationships and with your friends, children and co-workers, read "The Relationship Cure".
If you want to put these principles to work on your parenting, read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child".
And if you want to read about how children affect your relationship (there is a 60% drop in marital satisfaction after the first child) and what to do about it, read his latest "And Baby Makes Three".
*cross posted on my non-book blog.