I just finished reading Baby Makes Three by John Gottman. Before I got married, I learned a lot from his other more popular book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, and after that I also enjoyed his book What Makes Love Last.
I finally got around to reading the sequel about relationships in parenthood, and I found it a good refresher of his main lessons. Overall, it had a lot of overlap with the other two books, and the examples it drew upon were all based on conflicts and difficulties caused by having a baby. A lot of that resonated with my experience. Even though the lessons were similar to other books, it was a good refresher to read over the years, and I found the points around softened startup and the research around heart rate during flooding to be interesting and useful.
My full notes on the book are below.
1 realize we’re all in the same soup
Goal of building a legacy
Biggest gift to child is strong relationship
3 cool down your conflicts
Have a problem solving meeting time away from kids
Not during meal time
Minor disagreements ok after 4 years old and want to see you make up at end
Soften how you start
4 soften how you bring up the problem
Don’t start with blame or criticism
Say what you feel
Describe situation neutrally
Say what you need not what you don’t need
5 accept influence
Not about fighting for a position but understanding others position
Ask open ended questions
What do you feel about this
What’s the worst part of this for you
Your views make sense to me because
6 calm down by self soothing
When someone is flooded, stop and take a break for 30 min to drop heart rate and then continue conversation after
Hand gesture to show when someone is flooded
Deep breathing exercise
Talk about core of each issue and what’s not negotiable for each minimizing as much as possible
Please help me understand what you need and why
Figure out your and partner’s flexibility areas
9 aftermath of a fight: process and understand it
Notice points of view
Admit each person’s role
Get outside the fight to understand it
10 processing the fight
11 unsolvable problems
Is there a story behind this for you?
What does this mean for u
12 savor your friendship
Build love map of partner. Learn history of partner.
Ask open ended questions
How can I better a better friend to you
What do you most miss in your life
Daily 3 A’s: affection, appreciation, admiration
Look for things partner is doing well and positive qualities
Turn toward each other not away
Respond even minimally to partner
13 heat up life
Just want to know you’re wanted
14 warm fathering
High energy play important
Building toward we-ness
Gather ancestral artifacts
Rituals around celebrations and being sick in own families and what you want in your family now
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