Created for Connection — a roadmap for your marriage

It’s the best marriage book I’ve ever read.

I’d love to show you why; I’d also love to show you how I use it with couples.

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Created for Connection, by Johnson and Sanderfer, is my go-to book for marriage coaching. I use Gottman’s tools and research extensively too, but Created for Connection feels deeper, more hearty. While Gottman focuses on the what and the how-to, Created for Connection focuses on the why.

I love this book so much that I turned the chapter headings into a roadmap of sorts, adding in other tools and resources.

If you were meeting with me for marriage coaching, I would give you this: Created for Connection Handout.2022. Hopefully, this would help you see where we’re at as we walk through the various parts of marriage work. [For more about what I do, check out Seeing the Hearts of the Hurting: pastoral care and empathetic coaching for marriages, missions, and life in the mud.]

Now, here is the Handout again, but with links to a variety of resources, articles, and videos.

Recognizing the Demon Dialogues

  1. The Vortex of Terror (video)
  2. The Four Horsemen
  3. Complaining vs. Criticizing (video). And here.

Finding the Raw Spots

  1. The Shapes Diagram (videos)
  2. Feelings Wheel
  3. Flooding (and here)

Revisiting a Rocky Moment

  1. Reflecting Back (video). I teach three parts to this: 1. Reflect back. 2. Validate. 3. Care.]
  2. Turning Towards, and here and here
  3. Soft Start-ups
  4. Honesty –> Conflict –> Intimacy

Hold Me Tight – Engaging and Connecting

  1. What Am I Most Afraid Of?
  2. What Do I Need Most from You?
  3. Emotionally Accessible, Responsive, and Engaged.
  4. Caring for the Heart

Forgiving Injuries

  1. Repair checklist, and here
  2. Forgiveness Conversation Guide

Bonding Through Sex and Touch

  1. On Making Love (a resource post about sex)
  2. Six-second Kiss
  3. Hugging until Relaxed

Keeping Your Love Alive

  1. Six magic hours: here and here
  2. Gottman Card Deck

If you’re looking for some marriage help, here’s a map! I didn’t create most of this; I’m just putting some of what’s helped me and others into one place. I hope that’s helpful for you. Get the books, watch the videos, talk with your spouse, and have a great day!

— Jonathan M. Trotter


Created for Connection, by Johnson and Sanderfer

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by Gottman

17 years of marriage and this is all we’ve got, by Jonathan and Elizabeth (and now it’s 21!)

*Amazon affiliate links.

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