This chapter is entitled, “Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration”. Dr. Gottman talks about how for many couples who are in trouble and on the brink of divorce, that their marriage may be able to be revitalized and saved if the couple has a “fondness and admiration system”.
“….the best test of whether a couple still has a functioning and admiration system is usually how they view their past. If your marriage is now in deep trouble, you’re not likely to elicit much praise on each other’s behalf by asking about the current state of affairs. But by focusing on your past, you can often detect embers of positive feelings.”
Dr. Gottman also talks about how a fundamentally positive view of your spouse and your marriage is a big buffer when troubled times hit. He brings up some other good points:
“By simply reminding yourself of your spouse’s positive qualities – even as you grapple with each other’s flaws – you can prevent a happy marriage from deteriorating.”
“If you maintain a sense of respect for your spouse, you are less likely to act disgusted with him or her when you disagree.”
In this chapter, there is a “fondness and admiration questionnaire” to determine the current state of that in your relationship, and some exercises to help fan the flames of respect. Exercise One includes listing what you appreciate about your partner, Exercise Two involves looking back at the history of your relationship and the philosophy of your marriage, and finally there is a seven-week course in nurturing fondness and admiration based upon the tenets of cognitive therapy and designed especially for those couples whose marital state is very poor at the present moment.