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Posted February 7, 2013
I think Gottman is a fabulous researcher and has written some re
I think Gottman is a fabulous researcher and has written some really good stuff but don't waste your money on this book in particular. The premise of the book is that there are many forms of betrayal in a marriage and cheating is just one of those. While I agree in theory there seems to be on acknowledgment that some forms of betrayal are worse than others or that cheating is not an acceptable response to marital dissatisfaction. Also, the author does not seem to recognize that not every marital disagreement is a betrayal! For example, let me share Gottman's story of James and Marion. "When James married Marion, he was a succesful photographer who supported her while she attended cooking school. When we fast-forward ten years, James's business has been hit hard by the rise of do-it-yourself digital photography, while Marion has just begun a new job as top chef at a highly rated local restaurant...although James acts proud of Marion's success, inside he's feeling great anxiety and self-doubt...These fears are heightened because Marion is so busy working that it seems she isn't there for him...He imagines having a partner who would be more loving and supportive of his current struggle." (pg. 43-44). Can you imagine where this is going? Yup! One day soon James meets an attractive lady at the coffee house. Soon he's primping himself for the days he'll run into "June" at the coffee bar. Then he exchanges contact info with June and starts going out to the movies with her- alone- in secret. Six months later he and June sleep together. Gottman's conclusion: "James is not innocent in this tale, but neither does he sport horns and a tail. It wouldn't be unfair to see him as a well-meaning guy who was oblivious to his own vulnerability. (pg. 47)" HUH? What did I miss?! Wow! And so goes the book. A man who is a work-a-holic is betraying his wife. (What if he's a work-a-holic b/c he grew up in poverty and deep down he fears the same for his wife and children?? Oh well, according to Gottman it's a betrayal. His wife can feel vindicated cheating, I guess.
So, for his cavalier attitude towards cheating and marital vows I give this book only 1 star (or 0 stars). EVERY marriage has its tough times. If couples don't learn to work through those tough times WITHOUT cheating then we might as well just decide that 100% percent of married couples should and will cheat eventually. That said, there is some very interesting research in this book and the book also helps you assess the weaknesses in your own relationship so for those reasons I bump this review up to 2 stars. There's no guarantee that this book (or any book!) will prevent your partner from cheating on you. In fact, in contrast to Gottman's theory decades of research have stated that the majority of men state that they cheated while they were HAPPILY married, not feeling betrayed. In that sense, this book may be more helpful for husbands (because the majority of women claim they were unhappy before cheating). Nevertheless, if this book doesn't convince you that you have an excuse to go out and cheat on your spouse it just might give you some ideas to strengthen your marriage!
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