What Makes Love Last?
What Makes Love Last?, by John Gottman, is a discussion of trust, intimacy and what the authors claim to be the secrets to love's longevity. The book is the product of 40 years of research culled from Gottman's "Love Lab," an observational program based at the University of Washington. There, he subjects "long-term romance to scientific scrutiny" via the analysis of a couple's physical and psychological behavior and their social interactions and routines. The authors describe what Gottman calls the "Four Horsemen" of a couple's back-and-forth negative interactions: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. According to Gottman, the roles of betrayal and infidelity are also important, and couples must avoid falling prey to the marriage-dooming "lack of deep understanding and connection with each other."
The book continues on some of the themes, such as relationship partners' turning toward each other (i.e. responding favorably to one's partner's bids for attention, affection, humor, or support), of Gottman's 1999 The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. It also discusses attunement, which Gottman describes as the desire and the ability to understand and respect one's partner's inner world. According to Gottman, attunement offers a blueprint for building and reviving trust in a long-term committed relationship. The Gottman-Rapoport Blueprint for Constructive Conflict is presented, which uses the mnemonic "ATTUNE" to emphasize the speaker's job of awareness, tolerance, and transforming criticism into wishes and positive needs, and the listener's job of understanding, nondefensive listening, and empathy.
Kirkus notes, "Through the in-depth analysis of specific couples (many presented as case studies), Gottman's theories ring true, though redundancies and unrealistic expectations ('a partner's life should be an open book, without secrets') surface intermittently. His core belief--that 'the death of love is a tragedy'--begets proactive, positive solutions ranging from the calculated mapping of a marriage's development to tips for sex-positive communication. Love Lab home tests include a 'Trust Metric,' a true-love indicator and an all-important 'When to Bail' test for sputtering relationships. In the appendixes, the authors further identify and open conversational avenues for partners stymied by intimate communication, past emotional baggage and imbalances in sexual desire. For such an overcrowded topic, this entry manages to be both instructional and enlightening." Barbara Hoffert wrote, "Gottman runs the Love Lab at the University of Washington, Seattle, which sounds hippy-dippy until you realize that his 35 years of research have earned him honors from the National Institute of Mental Health and the American Psychological Association. Bigger than your standard self-help stuff." Publishers Weekly writes, "The practical tools to evaluate current relationships and step-by-step methods for avoiding betrayal, repairing relationships heading toward crisis, or healing a relationship after a crisis will be useful to couples who want to look honestly at healing chronic hurts and improving the state of their relationship, and are ready for a system to help them."
- Kirkus Reviews (1 August 2012). "What Makes Love Last? How To Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal". ISSN 1948-7428. Cite journal requires
- Hoffert, Barbara, What Makes Love Last? How To Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal, 137, Prepub Alert, p. 60
- "What Makes Love Last". Publishers Weekly. 4 September 2012.
- Hussar, April Daniels (4 September 2012). "What Makes Love Last? Marriage Researcher Reveals the Secret". Self.