Finding Joy in Your Marriage


Finding Joy in Your Marriage:
Understanding, strengthening, and repairing your relationship

A Twelve-Week Couple Journey

In every other area of our life, if we want to improve in something, we read, study, find a coach, or join a support group. No one would begin training for a marathon, or learn a new style of cooking by simply buying shoes or a wok.

Why does it make sense to think we should just intuitively ‘get’ relationships, without seeking any help or coaching to find a more satisfying friendship?

Our relationship with our spouse is intended to be our greatest source of connection and happiness. The reality is that a sustained sense of deep connection with another person takes work.

Is it enough to have good intentions? Every year, across the country, the local gym memberships swell in January and unfortunately return to normal again by February.

But what makes a good marriage?

In the 1980’s some popular ideas included communication skills, active listening, conflict resolutions skills, dealing with personality problems, and common interests. The problem is, no one had ever done research to investigate whether these things actually help couples to have a better relationship.

We are now standing in a completely different place. Numerous scientific, long term studies of more than 700 couples, in all states of life, have now been conducted, and a completely different picture has emerged.

If you have time, watch the following Animated Explainer Video 7:07 min

An animated book summary of The 7 Principles For Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman

Another quick summary is found here by therapist Monica Burton, LMFT: 13:54 min. 

Researchers were able to predict which marriages would succeed and which would fail based on some key behaviors that reveal how emotionally intelligent the couple is in their relationship. Gottman’s prediction rate was 91% for predicting failure within 5.7 years in struggling marriages.

Much more exciting is the finding that, following a series of basic principles, which have now been field tested on literally thousands of couples, we can actually help couples to improve their relationships and find the connection and support they have been seeking. Even more amazing is the fact that these are simple things couples can do, that do not require extensive training. 

In John Gottman's The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, those seven principles are connected to each level, or floor, of what he calls the Sound Relationship House. Those levels are:

  1. Build Love Maps
  2. Share Fondness and Admiration
  3. Turn Towards Instead of Away
  4. The Positive Perspective
  5. Manage Conflict
  6. Make Life Dreams Come True
  7. Create Shared Meaning

Join us for an exciting Journey

I would like to invite you to journey as a couple through a Twelve-Week Couple Journey running from January-March 2021, using the material developed from the Gottman Institute research.

This book study can be studied privately by couples at their own pace, but most of us do better with a schedule and a support group. 

Most of the work will be done on your own as a couple but the group will meet on Zoom, 6 times for 1 hour each time, to share and talk about the content. 

We are not going to encourage personal sharing about our relationships in the large group. During each Zoom meeting I will give a brief presentation on how these principles relate to our faith and discuss how these the principles work.

A book study of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman, PhD

 Sign up here



Zoom Meeting


Purchase the book and if possible read the first 50 pages


January 4-8

P1- Love Map -- Exercise 1

You will receive an introductory email if you are signed up.

January 10-16

P1- Love Map -- Exercise 2 or 3


Tuesday, Jan 19th


P2- Nurture Fondness and Admiration -- Exercise 1

Zoom Meeting 1

January 24-30

P2- Nurture Fondness and Admiration -- Exercise 2 or 3


Tuesday, Feb 2st


P3 –Turn toward Each Other -- Exercise 1

Zoom Meeting 2

Feb 7th -13

P3 –Turn toward Each Other -- Exercise 2 or 3


February 14th

Valentines Date Night

Have Fun together!

Tuesday, Feb 23


P4 – Let Partner Influence You-- Exercise 1 or 2

Zoom Meeting 3

Feb 28 – March 6

P4 – Two Kinds of Marital Conflict


Tuesday, March 9th


P5 – Solve Your Solvable Problems-- Exercise 1 or 2

Zoom Meeting 4

March 14-20

P6 – Overcoming Gridlock


Tuesday, March 23


P6 – Create Shared Meaning

Zoom Meeting 5

You can also sign up for free, for a Marriage Minute email from the Gottman institute.

I have been signed up for a year, and I think these emails are great. They contain links to blog articles with more information on the principles covered in the book.

You will need to purchase the following book. You may wish to have two copies (his and hers) or one copy of the book and a 'couple set' of the accompanying journal which repeats all the questions and gives you room to respond in the journal. These can be purchased on Amazon, very reasonably.



 The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert Paperback – May 5, 2015

by John Gottman, PhD, & Nan Silver


Amazon $10.79


The first 50 pages of this book describe the research, while the rest of the book is a series of "couple exercises." There are also workbooks so that each person can journal their own ideas, if you wish. 


If you would like to join us on this journey, please email Deacon Scott McKellar

Even if you choose to do this completely on your own, and to not join us for the Zoom meetings, please email me and let me know you are reading the book together, and I will keep you informed with ongoing emails.


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