cover image The Love Prescription: 7 Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy

The Love Prescription: 7 Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy

John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman. Penguin Life, $15 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-14-313663-7

Why do some relationships last while others fall apart? ask clinical psychologists John and Julie Schwartz Gottman (Eight Dates) in this penetrating program. The married duo look to the hundreds of relationships they’ve studied at the University of Washington’s Love Lab to determine the predictors of lasting relationships, and contend that “love is all about the small stuff,” such as thanking one’s partner for making coffee. Laying out a seven-step plan to cultivate “a thriving culture of appreciation between partners,” the authors encourage communicating one’s needs and making time to connect. The Gottmans describe a couple whose relationship survived the pandemic because they remained curious about each other, leading the authors to recommend asking one’s partner such questions as “What are some unfulfilled things in your life?” Research-backed findings bring scientific rigor to the advice, as when the authors detail a study in which they watched participants attempt to resolve an argument and found that those who were still together six years later were the ones who had five positive interactions (such as a smile) for every negative one; to that end, the Gottmans suggest readers compliment their partners often. The astute guidance is straightforward without being obvious, and the authors excel at distilling sharp lessons from client stories. Couples should consider making this enlightening guide required reading. (Oct.)