Saturday, June 9, 2007

Review: And Baby Makes Three by John Gottman, Ph.D.


I've said before how much I love John Gottman. As a couples therapist, I counsel primarily on the concepts that have been studied and proven to work by this brilliant man. He is one of the only marital therapists alive who is actually studying results in scientific studies and can tell us without a doubt what works and what doesn't.

This is his newest book. I have a few couples making the transition to parenthood right now, so I thought I'd read it to see if anything is new. Considering that there is a 67% drop in marital satisfaction after the first child is born, something should be done! In our society, we do all kinds of things to prepare for baby, but no action is usually taken to prevent the marital distress that usually follows the first child into the world.

This book, as expected, is wonderful for new parents to read to normalize what is happening in their relationship and to open up subjects for discussion. Many things, previously taken for granted (like good sex), now have to be renegotiated. The conversation might be easier to start if it can start with "So what did you think about what he said about x?"

If you're having a baby, or if your first child sent your relationship into a tailspin and you can't figure out why, I implore you to read this book.

6 comments:

Dewey said...

I read an article recently about a man who has a successful therapy practice counseling couples, and he says that his success is due to his always taking the woman's side. He believes that it is usually the woman who is unhappy over issues and the man is just unhappy that the woman is unhappy. I was really alarmed by this thinking. It seems bizarrely sexist. It also seems to me that he's going to do some couples a real disservice if they both (or maybe just the man) have real issues and he ignores those in favor of dealing only with the woman's issues. What do you think of his ideas? Have you read about this guy?

Lisa said...

I don't know who you are talking about, but I think what he says is largely true, shocking as it may seem. In my experience, it is almost ALWAYS the woman who is unhappy; the man just wants her to be happy, that's all he wants. Almost the only time I've ever had a man call for therapy is when his wife says "I'm leaving" and he finally realizes that she really IS unhappy. (Inconceivable to him, because he usually feels fine).

It makes sense if you think more about it, because it's women who are the protectors and nurturers of emotional intimacy. They want more of it, and the men are baffled. (It's the "I married you didn't I?" syndrome). They just don't comprehend what women want.

Men usually like my brand of couples therapy, because I teach them (with humor) specific things to DO that will prove that 1) they do care about the woman and 2) they are trying.

I wouldn't say that I take the woman's SIDE. Women often have to tone down their expectations. Still, it's usually true that if you satisfy the woman's needs, the man is happy, too.

Sorry to confirm the bias. :)

heidijane said...

Wow, sounds like an interesting book. As a mother of a two year old I do empathise with the couples who have problems - I had to really struggle in the first few months but things are definitely improving now... Might still be worth me reading it though...

kookiejar said...

I know this is completely unrelated, but on my blog I found the degrees of separation between you and Edie Brickell, Lisa. George Stephanopolous was the key.

Joy said...

This author was briefly referred to in BLINK (Gladwell). :)

Bookfool said...

A little late for me, but we survived the baby years. I'm really enjoying having older children immensely.