***The 100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships
What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can
by David Niven, PhD
Reviewed April 5,
HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco, 2003. 223 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (302 NIV).
Psychologists spend their time studying people in relationships and what
makes a strong relationship. In this book, David Niven translates
the results of 100 such studies into simple principles that we can apply
to our own lives.
Each of the “simple secrets” follows the same format. The title
of each chapter sums up the concept: For example, “Accentuate the Positive
in All Aspects of Your Life,” or “Doing Nothing Is Rarely a Solution.”
Then we have a summary of the idea being presented.
The bulk of each chapter is an anecdote about a person or a couple who
applied or didn’t apply this particular lesson and how it affected them.
Finally, he sums up each chapter with the results of the study that prompted
it. For example: “Married couples who report they never argue
with each other are 35 percent more likely to divorce within four years
than are couples who report regularly disagreeing.” “People who maintain
a compassionate spirit during disagreements with their partner, considering
not just the virtue of their position but the virtue of their partner, have
34 percent fewer disagreements, and the disagreements last 59 percent less
time.” “When both partners in a relationship thought the other had
a good sense of humor, 67 percent less conflict was reported than in couples
where neither thought the other had a good sense of humor.”
It would be mind-numbing to read this book in one sitting. I read
about five short chapters per day. There was nothing earth-shaking,
but it was nice to read about things that can strengthen my relationship
with my husband, a nice reminder to nurture that relationship. “Nice”
is definitely my word for this book. It’s also a little amusing to think
about the things some people studied! And in some cases eye-opening
to hear how the results turned out.
Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund.
All rights reserved.
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