I wish I would have read it 10 years ago...
The premise is that relationships are built from bids for connection, which can be anything from making a comment to inviting someone to lunch, requesting help, or touching someone. The other person in the relationship can respond in one of three ways: - turning toward the bid: responding in a way that conveys "I heard you, and I care," ranging from nodding or making a face in agreement to a serious emotional response. Sometimes people are vague or indirect in their bids to avoid being rejected, but this also makes it harder for the other person to get the message. (I scored very low commander in chief, high explorer and jester, and very high sensualist.) When conflict arises, it helps to see both people as idealists and find out what the greater goal the person really wants is to come up with a solution that will work for both.
I found it to have its good and bad points. First, the good: I think the exercises throughout this book would be quite helpful simply for directing one's thoughts about interactions within a relationship and how they can be improved.
Like Gottman's other books, the simple information is challenging to assimilate. And although I felt a little like an evil psychological mastermind, when I intentionally made bids and responded by turning toward bids at work-- wow.
Every relationship book written since that pivotal text has been heavily influenced by Gottmans research. In The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family and Friendships, Gottman offers a simple plan for improving our communication skills in our various relationships. The five steps include: -Recognizing and responding appropriately to Bids for Connection -Recognizing human Command Systems and how they influence behavior -Looking into your past for the origins of your behaviors -Correctly identifying emotions in others -Finding a shared meaning in life In the first step, Gottman introduces the concept of Bids for Connection. However, he found, over time, that a major key to recognizing a healthy relationship was to be found in the manner in which couples offered and responded to these bids. Gottman explains how to recognize these bids in both self and others, whether they are offered in a negative or a positive fashion, and provides the reader with insight into how to respond appropriately. Gottman then goes further to share his research findings that indicate that one of these cultural responses to emotion produces a healthier more successful child. Gottman offers his own life experiences as illustrations of key principles, as well as the findings of various psychologists, so that the reader obtains a broad scope of understanding about how emotions are communicated.
I love Gottman's books because his advice is so practical and his view of relationships and marriage is pretty realistic and unromantic.
But after reading the book, it just made good old normal sense. One thing that I would have thought would be pretty awesome was if he discussed strategies that got people that had habits of turning against and turning away to start turn towards without knowing this book as I know people that seem to do that out of habit without malicious intent.
That said, I still rate this book a "3" because it has great insights into the basic building block of relationships (the "bid"), and I am a much better person because of it.
The premise of the book is that we all make bids and the way our partners respond to them had a strong impact on the quality of the relationship.