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Improving Relationships Using Gottman Therapy

By Jade Caswell, MA

As we move into February, 'the month of love' many of us may be thinking about what

we can do to strengthen our relationship and ensure our love keeps growing. Thankfully, the

Gottmans have done the hard work for us, and uncovered the following 7 principles to keep our

relationships going strong. John and Julie Gottman are pioneers in the field of psychology, and

have published numerous works on topics such as marital stability and relationship counseling.

Below are their findings, after decades of research in their 'love lab' at the University of


The 7 Principles for Keeping Love Strong

1. Understanding your Partner's Love Map

This principle is all about understanding your partner's inner world- their hopes, dreams,

desires, and fears. Asking open ended questions and approaching your partner with curiosity

and a desire to truly understand them is one way to enhance your love maps.

2. Cultivating Fondness and Admiration

This principle relates to expressing appreciation for your partner and ensuring that you do not

'take them for granted'; Simple 'thank yous' or expressing one thing you appreciate that your

partner did for you on any given day is a great way to practice this principle.

3. Turning Towards One Another

Reflect on how you behave during a conflict with your partner... Do you seek to avoid and 'run

away' or turn towards your partner, communicate how you are feeling, and collaborate

towards a solution to the problem?

4. Accepting Influence

This Gottman concept refers to the pursuit of compromise in a relationship. Instead of engaging

in a power struggle, couples who work together, 'accept influence' from their partner, and are

flexible often have increased relationship success.

5. Create Shared Meaning

Building on common experiences and having a 'shared history' with your partner enhances the

fabric of a relationship and creates a more fulfilling partnership. Think about your own lived

experience, as well as the shared story you are creating through your partnership.

6. Manage Conflict & Overcome Gridlock

According to the Gottmans, conflict is inevitable in a relationship; however, how conflict is

managed is the most important factor. Happy couples often focus on the positive aspects of

their partner, instead of dwelling on the 'negative' or fixating on a problem.

7. Solve Problems that are Solvable

This concept refers to compromise and collaboration when it comes to problems that are

solvable in the relationship. Successful couples use such techniques such as self-soothing,

gentle start-ups, repair attempts, and negotiation skills to come to an acceptable solution for

both parties.

If you read to the end of the list, congratulations! You have started your Gottman education

and can use these principles to strengthen your relationship. If you'd like more information or

would like to start comprehensive Gottman Therapy with one of our Gottman-certified

counselors, please call our office today at 813-335-9794 or email us at


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