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Getting the Love You Want : A Guide for Couples

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Originally attain more loving, supportive and deeply satisfying relationships. In this groundbreaking book, Dr Harville Hendrix shares with you what he has learned about the psychology of love during more than thirty years of working as a therapist and helps you transform your relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship. For this edition of his classic boo Originally attain more loving, supportive and deeply satisfying relationships. In this groundbreaking book, Dr Harville Hendrix shares with you what he has learned about the psychology of love during more than thirty years of working as a therapist and helps you transform your relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship. For this edition of his classic book, Dr Hendrix and his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt, have added a new introduction describing the powerful influence this book has had on so many people over the years. With its step-by-step programme, GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT will help you create a loving, supportive and revitalized partnership.


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Originally attain more loving, supportive and deeply satisfying relationships. In this groundbreaking book, Dr Harville Hendrix shares with you what he has learned about the psychology of love during more than thirty years of working as a therapist and helps you transform your relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship. For this edition of his classic boo Originally attain more loving, supportive and deeply satisfying relationships. In this groundbreaking book, Dr Harville Hendrix shares with you what he has learned about the psychology of love during more than thirty years of working as a therapist and helps you transform your relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship. For this edition of his classic book, Dr Hendrix and his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt, have added a new introduction describing the powerful influence this book has had on so many people over the years. With its step-by-step programme, GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT will help you create a loving, supportive and revitalized partnership.

30 review for Getting the Love You Want : A Guide for Couples

  1. 5 out of 5

    Swaroop

    The most advanced and super-intelligent species are also the most complicated and super complex beings! And, these beings (also known as human beings) need help, at least most of the time. They need help in course correction, understanding fellow humans, and most important of all, to stay happy. We get so busy with all the external and outside things that we just ignore the inside - the self and our loved ones. By the time we realise this mistake, it is usually too late. In Getting the Love You W The most advanced and super-intelligent species are also the most complicated and super complex beings! And, these beings (also known as human beings) need help, at least most of the time. They need help in course correction, understanding fellow humans, and most important of all, to stay happy. We get so busy with all the external and outside things that we just ignore the inside - the self and our loved ones. By the time we realise this mistake, it is usually too late. In Getting the Love You Want : A Guide for Couples, Dr. Hendrix and Dr. Hunt provide us practical, meaningful, and insightful guidance towards understanding people, relationships, behaviours, and perspectives. Even though, the book is titled `a guide for couples`, most of the content is about general human relationships and the reasons behind certain behaviours and attitudes. This book may not be the ultimate guide for resolving all relationship issues, but it provides meaningful guidance and help in opening the windows and perspectives in our minds towards understanding self and our loved ones. This is the most important first step towards living a loving and fulfilling life! (source: picturequotes.com)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    This was an assigned book and not one that I would normally read. The officiant my fiancee and I chose for our wedding is both a minister and a therapist and he asked that we read this book as part of the counseling he requires for all couples he officiates for. It is not a dreadful book and there are some good thoughts in it. However, as a sociologist, I have substantial issues with certain aspects of this book, of which I will outline three below. First: the authors tend to use "global" terms li This was an assigned book and not one that I would normally read. The officiant my fiancee and I chose for our wedding is both a minister and a therapist and he asked that we read this book as part of the counseling he requires for all couples he officiates for. It is not a dreadful book and there are some good thoughts in it. However, as a sociologist, I have substantial issues with certain aspects of this book, of which I will outline three below. First: the authors tend to use "global" terms like "everyone". However, their analysis is based not on a random survey of individuals (either in the US or globally) but on couples that came to them for marriage counseling. In the social sciences this is called "selecting on the dependent variable". That is, they are generalizing across couples who are seeking help, not all couples whose marriage is in trouble or let alone all couples (including happily married ones). Their model should be tested against happily married couples. If happily married couples are inherently doing the kinds of things the authors think that all couples should be doing, this would strengthen their hypotheses. Second: as a sociologist, I am frustrated with the individualist orientation of the authors. This is a common cultural trait of Americans in general and Baby Boomers *in particular*. The authors at time come close to recognizing that married couples are not separate from their home culture but are intimately bound up with it. This is to say, what couples think of as feasible and desirable isn't just a product either of individual history and/or biological factors but also comes down from observing media, what friends are doing, and so forth. Third: I do respect the authors' attempts to move beyond the "self-actualization" paradigm. I think that in the coming decades American culture will continue to critique and move past the ideology of hyper-individualism (reigning especially from the late 1950s-1980s). I am not a communitarian or a libertarian - I think that neither pure individualism or pure communitarianism is the answer. That this book made an effort to do so is commendable, but there is much farther yet to go. Again, I think this book is speaking primarily to Baby Boomers, and I wonder how different Gen Xers and millennials are with respect to marriage. These criticisms aside, and putting to one side also the "pop psychology" tone of the book, I was on the whole satisfied that whatever the merits and demerits of the authors' ideas and examples, this book contains little that is really dangerous. The advice is generally good and is not by itself likely to cause problems, if read carefully and critically.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    I heard of this book when Oprah was interviewing Alanis Morissette. They both read it and praised it and Oprah said that Stedman and she wouldn't be together anymore if she hadn't read this book. That made me interested in reading this book. I don't like to read self help books, because these books require a lot of digging and bringing out everything that is painful and they are not just some easy breezy reading, but you have to do some work. This book makes you open your eyes a little bit more I heard of this book when Oprah was interviewing Alanis Morissette. They both read it and praised it and Oprah said that Stedman and she wouldn't be together anymore if she hadn't read this book. That made me interested in reading this book. I don't like to read self help books, because these books require a lot of digging and bringing out everything that is painful and they are not just some easy breezy reading, but you have to do some work. This book makes you open your eyes a little bit more and you see things differently. You do kind of get the feeling, that every relationship will go sour sooner or later, but you mustn't run away but you have to work on your relationship. Well, his work is based on relationships that didn't work so..I don't know, maybe he should examine the ones that do work. I think that would be a lot more thorough and realistic. I like psychology, I like to read about these topics and I think it's important that every person is in touch with it. I am obviously no expert and I have no clue about it, so I can't really judge if this book is right or wrong.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    I just gave four stars to a freaking self-help book. That says everything. READ IT. Really, though, this book's relevance surprised me, cynic that I am about this kind of book. Harville Hendrix is heavy on the nuance and light on the cheese, and his descriptions of "fusers" and "isolaters" are incredibly useful. (I determined I'm switchy with a lean towards "fuser".) And the exersizes are pretty cool, too. I just gave four stars to a freaking self-help book. That says everything. READ IT. Really, though, this book's relevance surprised me, cynic that I am about this kind of book. Harville Hendrix is heavy on the nuance and light on the cheese, and his descriptions of "fusers" and "isolaters" are incredibly useful. (I determined I'm switchy with a lean towards "fuser".) And the exersizes are pretty cool, too.

  5. 5 out of 5

    K

    I tend to be ambivalent when it comes to the self-help genre. It's natural for someone in my field to feel this way, and my views have also been influenced by books like Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless and I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement and Other Self-Help. And yet, there are a few self-help books which speak to me and offer language for speaking to my clients. Overall, this was one of them. Interestingly enough, I heard a speech at my synago I tend to be ambivalent when it comes to the self-help genre. It's natural for someone in my field to feel this way, and my views have also been influenced by books like Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless and I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement and Other Self-Help. And yet, there are a few self-help books which speak to me and offer language for speaking to my clients. Overall, this was one of them. Interestingly enough, I heard a speech at my synagogue over the weekend commenting that self-help books offer no new advice and are useless unless the reader commits himself to accepting responsibility for his choices. In fact this book's advice is arguably not new -- its points rest on the age-old premise that the only way to change your marriage is to stop trying to change your spouse and to work instead on your own issues. At the same time, the book offers some interesting insights in a highly readable tone, and even better, details several practical exercises to be done with or without your spouse, independent of a therapist, which can enhance your marriage. You need a bit of a tolerance for psychspeak dialogue, but the exercises were interesting and many sounded like they could be helpful. I found myself thinking back on several of the couples I've worked with and wishing I could have shared some of the information in this book with them. I think this is a useful book for both therapists and laypeople interested in working on relationships.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book makes sense, but is also really frustrating. The main point, that couples fight because of unfulfilled childhood issues, makes sense (to a point) as do his solutions. I really like some of the exercise ideas, even though I have a sneaking suspicion I am too lazy to do them with my spouse, but I think they will work in diffusing student complaints. What's frustrating? . . . the gender norms expressed in the book. All too often, examples suggest women are (overly) talkative and emotional This book makes sense, but is also really frustrating. The main point, that couples fight because of unfulfilled childhood issues, makes sense (to a point) as do his solutions. I really like some of the exercise ideas, even though I have a sneaking suspicion I am too lazy to do them with my spouse, but I think they will work in diffusing student complaints. What's frustrating? . . . the gender norms expressed in the book. All too often, examples suggest women are (overly) talkative and emotional, and quick to anger, but not in touch with their sexual desires. This is nonsense. I really don't know that many women who fit the stereotype of women as all emotional, wearing their hearts on their sleeves and sexually repressed. On the other hand, a lot of my male companions fit that bill. It's time for the editor and writers to interrogate their examples and flip the gendering around to make this book more for REAL people. I have to admit - frustrations aside - this book, along with all the leadership crap I'm reading - has made me think more about how and what I communicate, and what is realistic in terms of expectations of others.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Keri

    I remember years ago, when my marriage was heading south, picking up this book and halfheartedly trying the exercises- knowing my ex would not want to have any part of it. I still wish I'd read it at that point or after- my marriage would have likely still failed, but I may have been better prepared for the love that came after. While I think that simply reducing relationships and areas for conflict to unresolved childhood wounds is a bit simplistic on its own, a lot of this made sense- at least I remember years ago, when my marriage was heading south, picking up this book and halfheartedly trying the exercises- knowing my ex would not want to have any part of it. I still wish I'd read it at that point or after- my marriage would have likely still failed, but I may have been better prepared for the love that came after. While I think that simply reducing relationships and areas for conflict to unresolved childhood wounds is a bit simplistic on its own, a lot of this made sense- at least for mass relationship counseling through paperback. It made sense why I am attracted to men who I feel like I get a special secret by loving them that nobody else gets to see- why I fall in love with those who will handle conflict or my overwhelming them with large emotions and with what I rationally know to be unfounded or unrealistic claims or expectations by withdrawing or running away- my biggest abandonment/you need to handle it on your own fears realized. I wish I had had the vocabulary earlier to articulate that sometimes I don't need to be right (in fact, often I know what I'm saying or interpreting is absolutely ridiculous!), but I do need someone who will validate and affirm they understand and support that I have those feelings to help me work through them. And I need the validation from the kind of person who does not know how or does not want to give it to me. It's really key for me- and it comes from parents who loved me (and I always knew it intellectually, but didn't often feel it) but invalidated my feelings from a pretty early age too. It's funny that when in instances where I get that validation early on, I am currently discovering I need it less than I thought I did. I've noticed this in my professional life, but never connected the dots before. I tend to choose people who are more passive about their lives- and I want to activate them, but at the same time I value that they can just be calm and live in the moment more than I can. At the very least, I got some insight from reading this - and hopefully some stronger tools for being able to communicate in a way that allows me to ask for more active participation in a relationship and to be understood and empathized with while realizing that I have a tendency to be intense and overwhelming with the people I care about. I think there's a companion book for singles, and may check that out!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I have to admit that I did not finish reading this book. This is rare for me -- usually I will doggedly slog through whatever book I choose to pick up, no matter how bad it turns out to be. So please understand what a thorough aversion I must have had to abandon this book after only ten days and a few chapters. I gave it my best effort, really I did. But the love-seeking process described in this book struck me as so inherently selfish and self-serving as to leave me completely disinterested and I have to admit that I did not finish reading this book. This is rare for me -- usually I will doggedly slog through whatever book I choose to pick up, no matter how bad it turns out to be. So please understand what a thorough aversion I must have had to abandon this book after only ten days and a few chapters. I gave it my best effort, really I did. But the love-seeking process described in this book struck me as so inherently selfish and self-serving as to leave me completely disinterested and even a bit turned off. The love process is not about one versus another, but about two people coming together. In its attempt to provide evidence of a clinical process, this book strips the love scenario of any sense of togetherness and instead, unintentionally (it would seem), creates an adversarial scenario. I'm also not a huge fan of regressive psychology. Sure, our childhoods have colored who we have become as adults, but I think that focusing too heavily on the past stands in the way of focusing on steps necessary for the future. Reading this book, I continually found myself frustrated by this limited perspective, and searching for more practical applications to the struggles I'm facing today and don't fully understand, rather than the childhood experiences with which I'm already familiar. So, I'm biased against this book on several counts: 1) it focuses heavily on childhood relationships as the key to adult relationships, which I find a very limited approach; 2) it displays a sort of selfishness that I find distasteful; 3) it represents the sort of pop psychology of which I'm none too fond anyway; and 4) I didn't even finish reading it. I know many people have loved this book and have found it extremely helpful, but clearly it's not for everyone.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chad Warner

    This book contains some good relationship advice and useful exercises. The author is a couples therapist with over 20 years of experience, whose wife is also a therapist. I found the book too heavy on psychoanalysis; it keeps talking about the wounded child in each of us, and how we select our partners because we subconsciously seek our parents (or other childhood caretakers). It starts slow and is much longer than I think is necessary; several anecdotes could be removed. I almost gave up several This book contains some good relationship advice and useful exercises. The author is a couples therapist with over 20 years of experience, whose wife is also a therapist. I found the book too heavy on psychoanalysis; it keeps talking about the wounded child in each of us, and how we select our partners because we subconsciously seek our parents (or other childhood caretakers). It starts slow and is much longer than I think is necessary; several anecdotes could be removed. I almost gave up several times before it started getting interesting halfway through (around chapter 7). The author was formerly a Baptist pastor. He advocates for lifelong committed relationships. Technique overview See your partner as a wounded child seeking “salvation.” Redesign your relationship to heal these wounds. 1. Build atmosphere of safety and trust. Close your exits, renew your commitment, and deliberately please each other. Communicate openly and effectively. Accept the negative and positive in yourself. 2. After learning about your partner, become their healer. Focus on their needs rather than yours. By healing your partner, you’ll heal yourself. You’ll learn that behind sadness, anxiety, and frustration are pain, rage, and fear of death. 3. Find a safe and growth-producing way to express emotions so they don’t jeopardize relationship. The emotions will move from unconsciousness to consciousness. You will experience unity and wholeness. Re-romanticize • Perform acts of caring (favors, gifts) to rekindle intimacy. Start by telling each other what acts you would appreciate. “Do unto your partner what they would have done unto them.” • Add in surprise acts. • Add in fun physical activities. Imago Dialogue 1. Mirror: paraphrase what your partner said, with same emotion. 2. Validate: confirm that their thought process makes sense from their perspective. You don't have to agree with them. 3. Empathize: confirm that you understand their emotions. Misc. Connection is the main requirements for a healthy relationship. Safety is required to form a connection. “The ultimate reason you fell in love with your mate is … because your old brain had your partner confused with your parents! Your old brain believed that it had finally found the ideal candidate to make up for the psychological and emotional damage you experienced in childhood.” We unconsciously seek a mate with negative and positive traits that match our parents. The negative traits usually outweigh the positive. People can be isolators or fusers, and they often marry each other. Isolator: someone who unconsciously pushes others away, keeps people at a distance, need a lot of space, and wants freedom in a relationship. Fuser: person who need closeness, wants to do things together all the time, craves physical affection and reassurance, and often needs to stay in constant verbal contact. When we criticize our partner, we may be revealing an unmet need, or revealing one of our own deficiencies. Behavior Change Request: Give each other SMART goals. Eliminate negativity from your relationship, whether overt or subtle (shame, blame, sarcasm, etc.). When you say something negative to your partner, apologize, then praise them by pointing out three positive things you appreciate about them.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ronda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My sister a social worker/therapist recommended this book years ago and I bought it. It sat on my "to read" shelf for years until a Marriage and Family professor mentioned again in his talk at Sunstone. It has a clear and powerful premise. Our childhood and relationship with our parents subconsciously influences who we are attracted to and marry. We have the feeling this person will make us whole. After the romantic phase wears off and most couple slip into the power struggle phase where it is p My sister a social worker/therapist recommended this book years ago and I bought it. It sat on my "to read" shelf for years until a Marriage and Family professor mentioned again in his talk at Sunstone. It has a clear and powerful premise. Our childhood and relationship with our parents subconsciously influences who we are attracted to and marry. We have the feeling this person will make us whole. After the romantic phase wears off and most couple slip into the power struggle phase where it is painfully clear that this person is not making us as whole as we would like to be. The author is a psychologist who has worked with couples for many decades. The method he has developed it to help couples identify what it is that they crave most in their lives. He spends most of the book leading you to his conclusion that I found very powerful. It is that what will become most whole when we are able to learn what are partner needs and provide it for them. He suggests that we may have subconsciously picked a partner that can best help us change to become a more complete person. That this process of transformation that we undergo to meet our partners needs will make us whole. This was a unique and powerful concept that I had never considered before. There are also a number of exercises in the back of the book to help married couples through this process. To me these were less important than the message and the thought process and self recognition that the book led me through.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Man, I love me some good pop psychology from time to time. :) This book explores the marriage relationship and why couples become stuck in patterns of behavior that make them wonder why they fell in love with their partner in the first place. Hendrix posits that the dynamics of marriage are often a stage upon which unmet childhood needs are re-enacted -- with, not coincidentally, a partner who very much resembles the negative qualities of the parent(s) who failed to meet those needs in the first Man, I love me some good pop psychology from time to time. :) This book explores the marriage relationship and why couples become stuck in patterns of behavior that make them wonder why they fell in love with their partner in the first place. Hendrix posits that the dynamics of marriage are often a stage upon which unmet childhood needs are re-enacted -- with, not coincidentally, a partner who very much resembles the negative qualities of the parent(s) who failed to meet those needs in the first place. The book discussed deep-seated, inaccessible memories that are written all over our brains. We're not conscious of them -- we can't even recall them on our own -- but they're there nonetheless, lurking in our subconscious, triggering an emotional response when we are in situations reminiscient of our childhood. The first third of the book explains all this, the second third talks about how couples can address these dynamics in their marriage and improve their relationship, and the last part is a series of exercises for couples to perform together. All in all, an enlightening and potentially useful read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    One of the best self-help books I've read and I've read at least 3 dozen in my lifetime. The book zeros in on what you as the reader identifies as important to you in a relationship using a set of questions to discover those. Then it gives examples of how that will look in action. This book, helped me realize that a man who wanted to marry, was not a good match for me. I begged him to read the book but he refused thinking I'm not sure what. It was a sign that the issues in the relationship would One of the best self-help books I've read and I've read at least 3 dozen in my lifetime. The book zeros in on what you as the reader identifies as important to you in a relationship using a set of questions to discover those. Then it gives examples of how that will look in action. This book, helped me realize that a man who wanted to marry, was not a good match for me. I begged him to read the book but he refused thinking I'm not sure what. It was a sign that the issues in the relationship would not be resolved. Thus, I chose to remain unattached. After more than 2 decades, it is still a best seller with many reprints. Skip Dr. Phil or whomever else you trust. This is such a logical and understandable book with very simple actions suggested that will transform the way you see others and yourself particularly when you communicate.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Fani *loves angst*

    3.5 stars I was shocked after reading this because I realized how right the writer was about mixing our childhood wounds with the needs we expect to be fulfilled through our marriage. This led me to see things through an entirely different light, not so positive for me, and made me realize my own mistakes instead of being critical of my husband all the time. "I have found this phenomenon in many of my clients. They react to their partners as if they were carbon copies of their parents, even though 3.5 stars I was shocked after reading this because I realized how right the writer was about mixing our childhood wounds with the needs we expect to be fulfilled through our marriage. This led me to see things through an entirely different light, not so positive for me, and made me realize my own mistakes instead of being critical of my husband all the time. "I have found this phenomenon in many of my clients. They react to their partners as if they were carbon copies of their parents, even though not all of their traits are the same. In their compelling need to work on unfinished business, they project the missing parental traits onto their partners. Then, by treating their partners as if they actually had these traits, they manage to provoke the desired response." That said, the book was also filled with a lot of redundant information IMO (especially the first 4 chapters) and also -my mistake for not understanding this from the title alone- addressed to couples; you can't do the exercises on your own, you need your spouse to read this and do them with you. I will plan however to use the knowledge found here to try and moderate my own behavior and thought patterns; I already see my husband in a more positive and compassionate light than I did before reading this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mai

    This book is revolutionary,this is A Must-read for Everyone! Every relationship you would have as an adult is affected by your childhood and your relationship with your parents or caregivers. If parents really understood how much emotional damage they do to their children,they would think twice before inflicting such a pain upon them They would have helped their children avoid years and years of failure and repeated patterns in relationships They would have tried their best to treat and raise them This book is revolutionary,this is A Must-read for Everyone! Every relationship you would have as an adult is affected by your childhood and your relationship with your parents or caregivers. If parents really understood how much emotional damage they do to their children,they would think twice before inflicting such a pain upon them They would have helped their children avoid years and years of failure and repeated patterns in relationships They would have tried their best to treat and raise them right! It is so serious and huge ,every deep wound we had can be tracked down to childhood and our parents or caregivers were always the primary cause of it As children we internalize our experiences ,we see the world through our parents and it shapes our whole life ,our core beliefs and who we are as adults But even though it's true ,I refuse the mentality of the victim so even if our parents did an awful job of raising us ,it is now up to us to face these deep wounds and heal them We have to dig deep to reach the suppressed self where it lies in the subconscious Every situation that triggers intense emotional response from us is due to a deep wound from childhood This was a revelation for me becoz It made me realize why I acted so "irrationally"in some situations like a child while in fact the monster was rearing its head and the good news is once the subconscious becomes conscious ,it ceases to have power over you The darkness inside of you wont stand the light of awareness so the wound is healed once it is realized on a conscious level You can stop the pattern now and heal the trauma People say opposites attract but the truth is we attract the person whose qualities we suppress ,that's why you could attract someone who is your complete opposite Also one of the theories mentioned in the book is that we attract people who have traits similar to our caregivers because we want to heal our deep wounds of childhood through our partners to integrate the suppressed self and reach wholeness and completion There are a lot of exercises in the book that help you heal these core wounds and improve your whole relationship “A love marriage is defined as a voluntary union of two individuals based upon romantic attraction that is stirred by unconscious needs that have their roots in unresolved childhood issues.” It's life-changing and transforming book ,read it and everything will start make sense to you .real change begins with self-awareness and this book will just show you how to make that change in your relationship so you can live a happily ever-after :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jill Morningstar

    My husband and I agreed to read this book over the summer. Written by an experienced marriage counsellor, the book is broken into three parts. The first section illustrates why people are attracted to each other and the reasons why relationships become unhealthy. After reading the first part, I wondered how it was possible for anyone to have a healthy relationship. The second section outlines the conscious steps we need to take to carve out a healthy relationship. As I was reading these pages, I My husband and I agreed to read this book over the summer. Written by an experienced marriage counsellor, the book is broken into three parts. The first section illustrates why people are attracted to each other and the reasons why relationships become unhealthy. After reading the first part, I wondered how it was possible for anyone to have a healthy relationship. The second section outlines the conscious steps we need to take to carve out a healthy relationship. As I was reading these pages, I felt challenged and - at the same time - wondered if I was up to the task. I could see, in reading this part, how difficult it is for Ken and me to listen to each other when our buttons are getting pushed. There are several practical elements to the second section. Practical exercises make up the third part of the book. I want to give a copy of this book to each of our adult kids. As parents, we want the best for our kids and we want to see them flourish in healthy and loving relationships.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aurélien Thomas

    There is no need to be in a miserable marriage full of negativity, anger and frustration to experience marital problems. After all, even healthy, happy marriages do have their habitual issues, ongoing arguments and recurring situations where partners feel at a loggerhead. Funnily enough, such situations are often brought about by the exact personality traits that had attracted us to our soulmate in the first place. Isn't it weird? Well, not according to Dr Harville Hendrix, a pastoral counsellor There is no need to be in a miserable marriage full of negativity, anger and frustration to experience marital problems. After all, even healthy, happy marriages do have their habitual issues, ongoing arguments and recurring situations where partners feel at a loggerhead. Funnily enough, such situations are often brought about by the exact personality traits that had attracted us to our soulmate in the first place. Isn't it weird? Well, not according to Dr Harville Hendrix, a pastoral counsellor, educator and therapist. Deeply influenced by psychoanalysis, he actually sees such recurrent marital conflicts as being rooted in personal unmet childhood needs. The first few chapters are therefore dedicated to explaining his theories, since understanding them is a first step towards understanding why such conflicts arise in the first place, and so be better prepared to deal with them. So, what is it all about? Well, to him, since infancy and throughout our childhood we are internalising our caretakers and other influential people's traits to such an extent, that those traits later serve as a template to what our ideal partner should be. Put bluntly: his claim is that we are attracted to romantic partner having common features with our parents! More than that, since (again: to him) we all have some sorts of emotional issues rooted in our childhood (eg from helicopter parenting or, on the contrary, neglectful etc.) he affirms that, as adult, we are actually attracted to such people in order to try and resolve these issues. In this logic, here's then where marital conflicts arise: we have an inbuilt image of the ideal partner (our 'imago') based on the personalities of our caretakers, an image which makes us attracted to whose embodying such personalities in order to solve our personal unmet childhood needs, whereas, obviously, our attraction are not going to solve such needs since they also embody the negative traits that had caused them in the first place... Well, is that so? I don't know. In fact, I don't know what to think of psychoanalysis to start with! I believe it to be a mix of reductionist science and fancy claims built upon (paradoxically) some serious insights, so, unlike the author, I rather not go and rely entirely on Freud to try and explain our emotional drive! Besides, as he is a marriage therapist dealing mainly with dysfunctional couples, I feel his theories might make sense only for people who had dysfunctional upbringing; not to everyone. Indeed, and to be fair, I had such upbringing and his claims did talk to me to some extent... It might therefore contains some hint of truth, but I confess it seemed like too much wild assertions, and so, most flew me by. More to the point, putting psychoanalysis asides, he then go on to offers advice in order to prevent the worst that can happen once partners finally realise that they don't match each others' unrealistic expectations that is, a power struggle where they battle to try and change each others, more often than not by acting in ways that are counter productive and destructive. Emotional push and pull, tit for tats, criticisms and blaming game, nagging, behaviours that are intentionally or not an escape to the frustration creeping in... This is what he calls 'an unconscious marriage' that is, 'a marriage that includes all the hidden desires and automatic behaviors that are left over from childhood and that inexorably lead couples into conflicts'. Now, again putting asides his emphasis on childhood 'left over' (for he might be right or not on that) haven't we all been there? That part of the book indeed will talk to many - whether you are in a marriage in crisis, reflecting upon past failed relationships, or having been through a divorce and are now striving to rebuild yourself by gaining insight into what went wrong, so as to don't repeat the same mistakes with a new partner. His solutions? He unfolds a three bullet points way to bring up feelings when on the verge of arguing: mirroring, validation, empathy. To him, such tactics are not only ways to encourage understanding and so prevent arguments to escalate. They are a path towards 'a conscious marriage' that is, one where both lovers embrace the dark sides of their personalities (accepting some issues stem from their own childhood and so are theirs only, not for their soulmate to fix and solve) and, from then on, try and heal through better communication. Well, I don't know why you may look into this book; but I for one was after some help to deal with my interpersonal skills. Fortunately, my wife is amazing enough with people to truly know how to communicate. It's not my case. Mirroring-validation-empathy, if you are like my wife, will sound like plain common sense. If, on the contrary, you are more like me, then here's a great template to bear in mind when bringing up conflictual issues. This book, on that score, helps. Would it be enough, though? I don't think so. The author seems to think that simply being aware of your unresolved issues, and knowing how to relate them to your partner, will suffice to resolve conflicts. It certainly make for an healthy awareness and may help to defuse the power struggle, but I personally don't see how it can solve the underlying issues which are, bottom line, the cause of the discords! Dr Harville Hendrix, or so I felt, addresses here a few symptoms but not the full illness. So, what about it all? 'Getting the Love You Want' is spot on when it comes to describe how a negative dynamic can easily set in a marriage, creeping in to such a point that ongoing issues can dangerously trap partners in a frustrating power struggle. His focus in searching in your childhood the reasons why some behaviours can easily trigger you may be relevant, but I think it will be so only if you had a dysfunctional upbringing (I did, and his insight did help me; I give him credit for that) - if not, I think you could do away with the whole psychoanalytical parts. In fact, it's his advices on how to communicate well which will be useful; not only to learn how to express your feelings, but also how to listen to those of your partners. It certainly won't be enough to put a marriage back on track (I, like the author, went through a divorce and am now in my second marriage) but it can surely bring awareness on emotional issues while helping a closer bond. That's big enough a step! An insightful read, then, but I was expecting more.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Candie

    I wasn't feeling the first part of this book very much, it just talked way too much about all of our relationship problems being based on our childhood wounds from our parents or caregivers. There was a lot of talk about childhood relationships. I'm not sure I was buying into all of it at all. I am not a psychologist though, but it was not what I was looking for in the book. In part two when it started talking about actual relationship behaviors and the exercises and principals I found it very in I wasn't feeling the first part of this book very much, it just talked way too much about all of our relationship problems being based on our childhood wounds from our parents or caregivers. There was a lot of talk about childhood relationships. I'm not sure I was buying into all of it at all. I am not a psychologist though, but it was not what I was looking for in the book. In part two when it started talking about actual relationship behaviors and the exercises and principals I found it very interesting! I haven't actually applied any of these but I feel like they would be very useful. They would definitely open up a lot of communication, interesting dialogue and seeing things from the other person's perspective. I could see these parts doing a lot of good for a relationship. The thing that drove me the most crazy though was the awful gender norms portrayed in this book. The book was full of them and it was so annoying, dated and damaging!! The old fashioned stereotypes definitely need to be edited out of there. The audiobook I listened to says it was a 2004 version, so maybe they have been if you read a newer one. I'm not sure.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wendell

    I found this book really insightful. It made me think about where I come from and the influences that affect my relationships, especially with my wife. It revealed a lot of things about me that I hadn't considered before. I would recommend this to anyone. You don't have to be married to learn from it. I found this book really insightful. It made me think about where I come from and the influences that affect my relationships, especially with my wife. It revealed a lot of things about me that I hadn't considered before. I would recommend this to anyone. You don't have to be married to learn from it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Hard to decide whether to give it 4 or 5 stars. The insight is unmatched by any other relationship book I have come across, but it is a bit of an old and slow read. I still completely recommend it. I heard of it through Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. She declared it as a game-changer for her own relationships. I am starting to truly understand why marriage is so complicated and difficult as well as delightful and divine, depending on the day. I love the optimism of this book- you CAN have a content Hard to decide whether to give it 4 or 5 stars. The insight is unmatched by any other relationship book I have come across, but it is a bit of an old and slow read. I still completely recommend it. I heard of it through Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. She declared it as a game-changer for her own relationships. I am starting to truly understand why marriage is so complicated and difficult as well as delightful and divine, depending on the day. I love the optimism of this book- you CAN have a contented marriage, pretty much no matter what. Even if only one of you is ready to change at the moment, implementing some of these practices will probably wake up your partner to the possibilities of peace in your relationship. The IMAGO theory feels dead-on to me, and Harville Hendrix has done the research.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenyne

    This book was so eye opening for me. I love the solid mix of psychological theories; the author has a great handle on the psyche and has explained his ideas and beliefs in clear common languange. This book is for anyone! For couples, for single people looking for a relationship, for married individuals searching alone to better their relationship... basically anyone could benefit from reading this book. My husband and I are reading through the book and though it has only been a short time, my ey This book was so eye opening for me. I love the solid mix of psychological theories; the author has a great handle on the psyche and has explained his ideas and beliefs in clear common languange. This book is for anyone! For couples, for single people looking for a relationship, for married individuals searching alone to better their relationship... basically anyone could benefit from reading this book. My husband and I are reading through the book and though it has only been a short time, my eyes have been open to the way we treat each other and the reasons we react as we do to the other persons actions. I loved it!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Emiko

    Knowing this was promoted by Oprah and the New York Times makes it read more like a pseudo-science, self-help book promoting a movement more than a validated couples therapy approach. Indeed, much of Hendrix's relabeling of original therapeutic methods for active listening and empathy while listening to multigenerational family issues of each person made it feel like a repackaging that's simply more accessible to the general public. Some of his direct (and perhaps hokey) tactics are not for all, Knowing this was promoted by Oprah and the New York Times makes it read more like a pseudo-science, self-help book promoting a movement more than a validated couples therapy approach. Indeed, much of Hendrix's relabeling of original therapeutic methods for active listening and empathy while listening to multigenerational family issues of each person made it feel like a repackaging that's simply more accessible to the general public. Some of his direct (and perhaps hokey) tactics are not for all, but there is certainly enough food for thought to spur one's thinking to change unwanted behaviors. If you're not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater, you may find this read valuable.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lainie

    I highly recommend this book to any couple serious about making their long term relationship thrive. It's clear, logical, and provides real-world techniques for developing the interpersonal skills that can take a marriage beyond the blahs to regain and enrich the love that was there from the beginning. After two failed marriages, I know that reading this book has better equipped me for my next relationship. PS: it takes both parties committing to the deal. Read the book; you won't regret it. I highly recommend this book to any couple serious about making their long term relationship thrive. It's clear, logical, and provides real-world techniques for developing the interpersonal skills that can take a marriage beyond the blahs to regain and enrich the love that was there from the beginning. After two failed marriages, I know that reading this book has better equipped me for my next relationship. PS: it takes both parties committing to the deal. Read the book; you won't regret it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    There are valuable ideas here, but I have a hard time getting behind some of the premises. In particular, I'm unable to draw many parallels between the traits of my parents and the traits of my husband. (Maybe people who know us can point to them!) I would like to try the exercises, so my opinion may change if/when that process is complete. There are valuable ideas here, but I have a hard time getting behind some of the premises. In particular, I'm unable to draw many parallels between the traits of my parents and the traits of my husband. (Maybe people who know us can point to them!) I would like to try the exercises, so my opinion may change if/when that process is complete.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    WHAT AN AMAZING BOOK. must read for every one

  25. 4 out of 5

    April

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Another important and helpful book about relationships. Because I'm not currently in partnership, I didn't attempt to do the exercises in the last part of the book, but I read through them and saw how they could be helpful to partners in struggle. The book does describe in detail how the exercises work and what they're supposed to accomplish, so I got a good understanding theoretically about the exercises, but know that doing them would be even more powerful. "Above all else, we seek connection- Another important and helpful book about relationships. Because I'm not currently in partnership, I didn't attempt to do the exercises in the last part of the book, but I read through them and saw how they could be helpful to partners in struggle. The book does describe in detail how the exercises work and what they're supposed to accomplish, so I got a good understanding theoretically about the exercises, but know that doing them would be even more powerful. "Above all else, we seek connection--with parts of ourselves that we have repressed, with other people, and with the larger universe. We cannot experience life in its fullness unless we have an intimate relationship with another human being and, beyond that, a feeling of connection with the world around us." pg. xviii-xix "In order to experience a strong and safe connection with a caregiver, children need what child psychologists call an 'attuned' parent. This is a caregiver who is present in both meanings of the word: available to you physically and with warm emotions most of the time. Ideally, this caregiver respects your individuality and turns to you for clues as to what you need in the moment. You are held when you need comfort and physical connection. You are fed when you are hungry. You are soothed when you are irritable, afraid, or in pain. You are put to bed when you are tired. This attuned parent also encourages you to express your full range of emotions--joy and playfulness, frustration and anger. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Rather than deflecting your feelings, your caregiver accepts them and mirrors them . . . All of this is done in a spirit of acceptance, love, and generosity. When you have an attuned parent, you are not a burden to your parent, nor are you the solution to your parent's own unmet needs. You are free to be you and to be emotionally and physically close to a caring person at the same time." pg. xx "After several years of using this [mirroring] exercise, we discovered that the listening partner can magnify the healing effect of mirroring by asking this question: 'Do you have more to say about that?' Or, simply, 'Is there more about that?' It's a wonderful feeling to have your partner's full attention and to be asked to reveal even more about what you are thinking and feeling. Very few of us had caretakers who expressed much curiosity about our inner world. We were most visible to them when we excelled or when we caused trouble. Our partner's keen interest in our thoughts helps repair those feelings of neglect from long ago. This, in turn, makes us feel much safer in our partner's presence, and we begin to discover parts of ourselves that have been hidden since childhood. We become more whole." pg. xxv "Eventually, you will not have to 'work' on your relationships anymore. The changes will become stable. You will have rewired your brain so that your new way of relating is far more comfortable to you than your old way. You will begin living in a different reality--the reality of sustained connection. You will look for ways to spend more time together, not less. You will begin to experience your differences of opinion as creative tension, as an opportunity to move beyond your isolated points of view. Your desire for sameness will disappear, and you will begin to revel in your partner's 'otherness.' If you happen to slip back into negativity, the pain will be acute. 'Why on earth did we do that?' But the moment typically passes, and you will find it easy to get back on track and restore the sacred nature of your relationship. Your relationship will have become self-sustaining, self-organizing, and self-healing." pg. xxix "We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we can be healed in relationship. Indeed, we cannot be fully healed outside of a relationship." pg. xxxv "It appears that each one of us is compulsively searching for a mate with a very particular set of positive and negative personality traits." pg. 8 I love the analogy of the unconscious or subconscious mind with the conscious mind as a universe with stars that are always there, but we just can't see them during the day. And even at night when we can see them, it is not even the whole of the stars that exist in the skies. "So it is with the unconscious mind: the orderly, logical thoughts of our conscious mind are but a thin veil over the unconscious, which is active and functioning at all times." pg. 9 "However, even if you were fortunate enough to grow up in a safe, nurturing environment, you still bear invisible scars from childhood, because from the very moment you were born you were a complex, dependent creature with a never-ending cycle of needs. Freud correctly labeled us 'insatiable beings.' And no parents, no matter how devoted, are able to respond perfectly to all of these changing needs." pg. 15 "There is a widely held belief that when a baby is inside its mother's womb, it experiences a sense of oneness, an Edenic experience free from desire. Martin Buber, a Jewish theologian, put it this way: 'in fetal existence, we were in communion with the universe.'" pg. 16 "It is the rare parent who validates a child's anger. Imagine a little girl's relief if her parents were to say something like this: 'I can see that you're mad. You don't want to do what I ask. But I am the parent and you are the child and you need to do what I say.' Having her anger acknowledged would contribute to her sense of self. She would be able to tell herself, 'I exist. My parents are aware of my feelings. I may not always get my way, but I am listened to and respected.' She would be allowed to stay in touch with her anger and retain an essential aspect of her wholeness." pg. 27 "We have now succeeded in fracturing your original wholeness, the loving and unified nature that you were born with, into three separate entities: 1. Your 'lost self,' those parts of your being that you had to repress because of the demands of society. 2. Your 'false self,' the facade that you erected in order to fill the void created by this repression and by a lack of adequate nurturing. 3. Your 'disowned self,' the negative parts of your false self that met with disapproval and were therefore denied. The only part of this complex collage that you were routinely aware of was the parts of your original being that were still intact and certain aspects of your false self. Together these elements formed your 'personality,' the way you would describe yourself to others." pg. 32 "Essentially, your imago is a composite picture of the people who influenced you most strongly at an early age. This may have been your mother and father, one or more siblings, or maybe a babysitter, nanny, or close relative. But whoever they were, a part of your brain recorded everything about them--the sound of their voices, the amount of time they took to answer your cries, the color of their skin when they got angry, the way they smiled when they were happy, the set of their shoulders, the way they moved their bodies, their characteristic moods, their talents and interests. Along with these impressions, your brain recorded all your significant interactions with them. Your brain didn't interpret these data; it simply etched them onto a template." pg. 38 "Not everyone finds a mate who conforms so closely to the imago. Sometimes only one or two key character traits match up, and the initial attraction is likely to be mild. Such a relationship is often less passionate and less troubled than those characterized by a closer match. The reason it is less passionate is that the old brain is still looking for the ideal 'gratifying object,' and the reason it tends to be less troubled is that there isn't the repetition of so many childhood struggles. When couples with weak imago matches terminate their relationships, it's often because they feel little interest in each other, not because they are in great pain. 'There wasn't all that much going on,' they say. Or 'I just felt restless. I knew that there was something better out there.'" pg. 45 "Sensing her need for security, Brad had done his best to appear to be a reliable lover. This is a psychological process known as 'projective identification.' He had unconsciously identified himself with Jessica's vision of the ideal man. My suspicion is that at first his subterfuge was well intentioned. He probably didn't begin the relationship with the purpose of gaining her trust and affection and then leaving her; he just couldn't keep up the charade. . . Jessica was demonstrating a classic case of denial; she was refusing to believe that Brad was in fact an immature, unreliable man. Her memory of the role he had obligingly played for her was more real to her than the truth of his actual behavior." pg. 55-56 "He thought he was in love with a person, when in fact he was in love with an image projected upon that person. Cheryl was not a real person with needs and desires of her own; she was a resource for the satisfaction of his unconscious childhood longings. He was in love with the idea of wish fulfillment and--like Narcissus--with a reflected part of himself." pg. 62 "Romantic love does indeed thrive on ignorance and fantasy. As long as lovers maintain an idealized, incomplete view of each other, they live in a Garden of Eden." pg. 63 ". . .I was able to help her see that it was human nature for her to absorb both the positive and the negative traits of her stepfather. He was the dominant influence in the household, and her unconscious mind registered the fact that the person who was most angry happened to be the most powerful. Anger and derision, therefore, must be a valuable survival skill. Gradually this character trait wormed its way into Lillian's basically kind nature." pg. 76 "Now we have defined the three major sources of conflict that make up the power struggle. As the illusion of romantic love slowly erodes, the two partners begin to: 1. Stir up each other's repressed behaviors and feelings. 2. Reinjure each other's childhood wounds. 3. Project their own negative traits onto each other. All of these interactions are unconscious. All people know is that they feel confused, angry, anxious, depressed, and unloved. And it is only natural that they blame all this unhappiness on their partners. They haven't changed--they're the same people they used to be! It's their partners who have changed!" pg. 77 "What makes people believe that hurting their partners will make them behave more pleasantly? Why don't people simply tell each other in plain English that they want more affection or attention or lovemaking or freedom or whatever it is that they are craving? . . . Once again our old brains were to blame. When we were babies, we didn't smile sweetly at our mothers to get them to take care of us. We didn't pinpoint our discomfort by putting it into words. We simply opened our mouths and screamed. And it didn't take us long to learn that, the louder we screamed, the quicker they came. The success of this tactic was turned into an 'imprint,' a part of our stored memory about how to get the world to respond to our needs: 'When you are frustrated, provoke the people around you. Be as unpleasant as possible until someone comes to your rescue.'" pg. 77-78 "When partners don't tell each other what they want and constantly criticize each other for missing the boat, it's no wonder that the spirit of love and cooperation disappears. In its place comes the grim determination of the power struggle, in which each partner tries to force the other to meet his or her needs. Even though their partners react to these maneuvers with renewed hostility, they persevere. Why? Because in their unconscious minds they fear that, if their needs are not met, they will die. This is a classic example of what Freud called the 'repetition compulsion,' the tendency of human beings to repeat ineffective behaviors over and over again." pg. 79 "Although some of the tactics of the old brain may be self-defeating, its fundamental drives are essential to our well-being. Our unconscious drive to repair the emotional damage of childhood is what allows us to realize our spiritual potential as human beings, to become complete and loving people capable of nurturing others. And even though our projections and transferences may temporarily blind us to our partners' reality, they're also what binds us to them, setting up the preconditions for future growth." pg. 86 "Once you become skilled in this nondefensive approach to criticism, you will make an important discovery: in most interactions with your partner, you are actually safer when you lower your defenses than when you keep them engaged, because your partner becomes an ally, not an enemy." pg. 87 "Let's start with a definition: a conscious partnership is a relationship that fosters maximum psychological and spiritual growth; it's a relationship created by becoming conscious and cooperating with the fundamental drives of the unconscious mind--to be safe, to be healed, and to be whole." pg. 88 "What are some of the differences when you become conscious? The following list highlights some of the essential differences in attitude and behavior: Ten Characteristics of a Conscious Partnership 1. You realize that your love relationship has a hidden purpose--the healing of childhood wounds. 2. You create a more accurate image of your partner. 3. You take responsibility for communicating your needs and desires to your partner. 4. You become more intentional in your interactions. 5. You learn to value your partner's needs and wishes as highly as you value your own. 6. You embrace the dark side of your personality. 7. You learn new techniques to satisfy your basic needs and desires. 8. You search within yourself for the strengths and abilities you are lacking. 9. You become more aware of your drive to be loving and whole and united with the universe. 10. You accept the difficulty of creating a lasting love relationship. In an unconscious partnership, you believe that the way to have a good relationship is to pick the right partner. In a conscious partnership you realize you have to be the right partner. As you gain a more realistic view, you realize that a good relationship requires commitment, discipline, and the courage to grow and change; creating a fulfilling love relationship is hard work." pg. 88-90 "As the couples began shifting their focus away from demanding that their existing relationship meet all of their needs to focusing on what their relationship needed from them, they began to make remarkable progress." pg. 103 "It's as if all couples collude to maintain a set distance between them. If one person starts encroaching on the other's territory, the other has to back away. If one person starts vacating the territory, the other has to pursue. As with a pair of magnets with like charges facing each other, there's an invisible force field keeping couples a critical distance apart. There is not enough safety in their relationship for them to feel comfortable being more closely connected." pg. 107 "The other reason couples avoid intimacy is fear, specifically the fear of emotional pain that might replicate what they experienced in childhood. On an unconscious level, many people react to their partners as if they were enemies. Any person--whether parent or partner or next-door neighbor--who is perceived by the old brain to be a source of need gratification and then appears to be withholding that gratification is catalogued by the old brain as a source of pain, and pain raises the specter of death. If your partner does not nurture you and attend to your fundamental needs, a part of you fears that you will die, and it believes that your partner is the one who is allowing this to happen. When a basic lack of nurturing is coupled with an onslaught of verbal, and in some cases physical abuse, the partner becomes an even more potent enemy." pg. 110 "Isolaters often have a difficult time with this [Reromanticizing] exercise. They want to cooperate, but they just can't think of anything their partners can do for them; they don't seem to have any needs or desires. What they are really doing is hiding behind the psychic shield they erected as children to protect themselves from overbearing parents. They discovered early in life that one way to maintain a feeling of autonomy around their intrusive parents was to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves. When they deprived their parents of this valuable information, their parents were less able to invade their space. After a while, many isolaters do the ultimate disappearing act and hide their feelings from themselves. In the end, it is safest not to know." pg. 129 "When you accept the limited nature of your own perceptions and become more receptive to the truth of your partner's perceptions, a whole world opens up to you. Instead of seeing your partner's differing views as a source of conflict, you realize that they are a source of knowledge: 'What are you seeing that I am not seeing?' 'What have you learned that I have yet to learn?' Relationships give you the opportunity to be continually schooled in your own reality and in the reality of another person. Every one of your interactions contains a grain of truth, a sliver of insight, a glimpse into your hiddenness and your wholeness. As you add to your growing fund of knowledge, you are creating reality love, a love based on the emerging truth of yourself and your partner, not on romantic illusion." pg. 135-136 "Principle 1: Most of your partner's criticisms of you have some basis in reality. Criticism of partner: 'You are always so disorganized!' Partner doling out the criticism answers the following questions: - How do I feel when my partner acts this way? - What thoughts do I have when my partner acts this way? - What deeper feelings might underlie these thoughts and feelings? - Did I ever have these thoughts and feeling when I was a child? Principle 2: Many of your repetitious, emotional criticisms of your partner are disguised statements of your own unmet needs. Principle 3: Some of your repetitive, emotional criticisms of your partner may be an accurate description of a disowned part of yourself. Principle 4: Some of your criticisms of your partner may help you identify your own lost self." pg. 137-139 "In order to deepen your understanding of your partner's subjective reality, you need to train yourself to listen and communicate more effectively. To do this, it helps to know something about semantics, the science of describing what words mean. Even though you and your partner speak the same language, each of you dwells in an idiosyncratic world of private meanings. Growing up in different families with different life experiences has given you separate lexicons." pg. 140 "Difference is a fact of nature. When you assume that your partner is identical to you, you are negating your partner's existence. In a healthy relationship, you realize that you live with another person who is not an extension of you. Your partner is a unique individual who has an equally valid point of view. Failure to recognize each other's separate existence is the major source of conflict between partners." pg. 143 "When you put these experiences into words, they are rewoven into the fabric of your being and you experience 'becoming whole.' Ultimately, this experience extends beyond your personal boundaries and helps restore your connection to the universe. When talking together reaches this profound level, it becomes a spiritual experience. When you connect at the local level of a personal relationship, you connect at the cosmic level with the transcendent." pg. 144 Book: borrowed from SSF Main Library.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    framework idea is that each person was trained into certain parts of their personality by caretakers' small acts or reactions. now you look for a partner based on those personalities - someone who has the parts of your parents so you can replay your childhood feelings, but also someone who has the parts of yourself you gave up to get love so you can live vicariously - but not too much or you get too envious. Which I think isn't really out of bounds - your primary caretaker is the first love atta framework idea is that each person was trained into certain parts of their personality by caretakers' small acts or reactions. now you look for a partner based on those personalities - someone who has the parts of your parents so you can replay your childhood feelings, but also someone who has the parts of yourself you gave up to get love so you can live vicariously - but not too much or you get too envious. Which I think isn't really out of bounds - your primary caretaker is the first love attachment. We definitely develop traits/ behaviors to try to get love. I'm just not sure it stops after childhood. I'm not sure I can really apply this framework to me? I just can't seem to make any progress thinking this way. Maybe because I just don't have strong memories of my childhood or my caretakers before I was a teenager. Also the I just cannot imagine a couple being willing to do the exercises until they're about to throw in the towel. Maybe even then. Plus I've changed though my relationships. "Lost self: those parts of your being that you had to repress because of the demands of society. False self: the facade you erected in order to fill the void created by this repressing and by lack of adequate nurturing. Disowned self: the negative parts of your false self that met with disapproval and were therefore denied." "One bit of make-believe in which virtually all lovers engage is trying to appear more emotionally healthy than they really are. After all if you don't appear to have any needs of your own your partner is free to assume that your goal in life is to nurture not to be nurtured. And this makes you very desirable indeed." "At some point in their relationships most people discover that some aspect of their partner's character, a personality trait they once thought highly desirable, is beginning to annoy them." I have seen this as a main reason for breakup. Hendrix says this is because we find a person with this complementary trait that we desire (because we lost this trait ourselves) but as time goes on we see the taboo side of the trait and get uncomfortable with our own repressed traits. "In most interactions with your spouse you are actually safer when you lower defenses than when you keep them engaged because your partner becomes an ally not an enemy." "Instead of fighting we started asking for what we wanted. It's made all the difference." Exercises 1: Relationship Vision: together each write down "We are [positive statements about a satisfying relationship you have or wish to have]' Share sentences, underline shared, add items you also want to your list separately: rank (1-5) your list according to importance, circle 2 top important, mark any difficult to achieve together: make a combined list from the above 2: relax, imagine youth (go through childhood home and talk to each caretaker) 3: record all positive traits of all caretakers, list all negative traits of all caretakers, circle things that seem to trigger/impact most. Complete the sentence: what I wanted most as a child and didn't get was... As a child I repeatedly had these negative feelings. 4: List recurring childhood frustrations and reactions 5: together parent-child roleplay. "parent" being empathetic, "child" says feelings. switch roles. write summary of your partner's wounds. no criticism. check for accuracy. 6: list partner's positive traits, list negative traits, cirlce most impactful. compare to ex3, star similar traits. complete "what I enjoy most about my partner is..." "what I want from my partner and don't get is..." 7: Complete: "I have spent my life searching for a person with these character traits.." with ex 3 first lists, "when I am with this kind of person I feel..." "and I wish that person would give me" "when my needs aren't met I have these feelings" "and I often respond this way" (ex4) 8: imago dialogue, together and often. sender starts with I sentence, receiver mirrors, sender indicates correct or not (correct and mirror until accurate). receiver asks if more about that (if so repeat). when complete mirror all communication. receiver validates message (understands logic, may not agree). receiver expresses empathy about feelings (checking to see if correct feeling). do this for what learned above. 9: close your exits by listing ordinary exits. imago dialogue about these exits. mark the exits you can change easily and those it would be hard to change. write out which you'll stop and why. 10: identify what partner does that pleases you, recall things used to do that made feel good, list things you've wanted, combine all lists and rank 1-5. look at partner list and mark the ones you cannot do. do two of behaviors on list each day for next 2 months (start with easiest), acknowledge when partner does one. do not base you doing for partner on what they do for you. 11: make a list of things your partner secretly wants or liked in the past -surprise your partner 12: make separate lists of fun, exciting activities you can do together especially physical - combine lists and do them 13: list the things you adore about partner: physical traits, positive character traits, behaviors, expressions of love you feel. tell these to partner getting more intensely excited as progressing to next list (in that order) 14: list affirmations you'd like to hear from your partner. they read your list to you 'praise flooding'. hug and talk about how you feel. 15: list your things partner does and negative feeling elicited (I feel x when you). examine the global desire behind it (I would like to feel x when you y) and a specific positive request to get you there (for x time I would like you to). rank the requests in importance to you. take partner list and rank in ease to you. opportunity to grant 3-4 requests to partner per week 16: hold partner while they tell about pain of childhood. mirror and cradle. ask what worst part and thank them. switch. 17: separately: write all negative traits you've thought or said about partner. write down evidence/related behavior. circle most hurtful. repeat with positive traits. visualize negative behavior then release and visualize a positive behavior and note how you feel. imago dialogue on your self discoveries (not what you don't like). replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. tell partner about positives. don't criticize negative behaviors (make requests) and release negative thoughts or memories 18: divide sheet into 6 boxes. move negative caretaker/partner list to first box. (disowned self) write description of self without these traits (I am [short positive trait]) in next box. next line copy over positive caretaker/partner list. (lost self). write description of self with these traits expressed in next box. think about the things you had to do to get caretaker love or things you do now to get people to like you - list. (false self). description of self without these traits. note when second side boxes don't match reality and visualize change to true self. 19: visualize partner as whole spiritualized being, wounded. Imagine your love healing those wounds then coming back and healing your wounds. energy flowing back and forth.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Once upon a time two soul mates reunite after unconsciously searching for each other since being wrenched apart in a past life. When they reunite, they are mutually overwhelmed by a strange familiarity. They marvel at the feeling that they’ve known each other forever and are exactly where they’re meant to be. The relationship launches into the stratosphere and bliss abounds. Until one day…the criticism starts. The nagging begins. The stratosphere begins to vibrate with tension, tempers, and tear Once upon a time two soul mates reunite after unconsciously searching for each other since being wrenched apart in a past life. When they reunite, they are mutually overwhelmed by a strange familiarity. They marvel at the feeling that they’ve known each other forever and are exactly where they’re meant to be. The relationship launches into the stratosphere and bliss abounds. Until one day…the criticism starts. The nagging begins. The stratosphere begins to vibrate with tension, tempers, and tears. When it comes to love, who doesn’t crave a fairy tale? Not Harville Hendrix. And, for very good reason. In Getting the Love You Want – A Guide For Couples, Hendrix obliterates the aforementioned fairy tale with his Imago Theory. Rather than stemming from a supernaturally romantic place, Harville’s premise is that we are actually unconsciously and intensely drawn to those potential partners that most resemble that caretaker we all had…the one who intentionally or unintentionally chipped away at our youthful psyches. A mother, father, grandparent, brother, sister…any caretaker from whom we desperately sought love and approval yet somehow came up short. No, we’re not masochists…we’re hopeful. Maybe this time around, their love and approval will be forthcoming and our hole(s) will be patched. The good news is that with this book and mutual motivation, it’s entirely possible for a couple to heal their hurt inner children together. This is far from a light read. It’s packed full of sometimes mind spinning technical information. It’s for those individuals who crave deep self-awareness or those couples who are serious about healing each other. If you’re single, check out Keeping The Love You Find. In exchange for relinquishing the fairy tale, you’ll exponentially increase the odds of landing in a healthy relationship.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Jellick

    I could relate to many aspects of this book but wonder if it's similar to reading a book of medical ailments and being sure you have most of them! Human nature is fascinating and perhaps the reason self help books have boomed is because we all have insecurities & dark sides that we would like to transcend somehow...but is this realistic? And that's really my question with this book...is it realistic to expect to create a near perfect relationship...after all...we are all imperfect and nothing we I could relate to many aspects of this book but wonder if it's similar to reading a book of medical ailments and being sure you have most of them! Human nature is fascinating and perhaps the reason self help books have boomed is because we all have insecurities & dark sides that we would like to transcend somehow...but is this realistic? And that's really my question with this book...is it realistic to expect to create a near perfect relationship...after all...we are all imperfect and nothing we do will ever change that. I'm sure improvements can be made and I don't deny there is interesting insights into the power struggles you get into in relationships & what maybe behind them but I'm always wary of authors of self help books describing how perfect/ideal things are going to be once you've just followed all the steps...really?? My number one problem however is that I just feel silly talking in the prescribed 'therapeutic' way. Surely someone could come up with a similar practice of being able to listen & empathise that sounds like normal people speaking instead of it sounding so weird and fake...I don't feel listened to I just feel like you're trying your techniques on me?! It's too bizarre!! Addition to this review - Jan 2016 - I take it all back. My partner & I have been using the techniques in this book with some guidance from a counceller (trained in this technique) a few times and we have committed to doing it once a week....it had changed our lives! Our relationship is thriving...god bless this book. I'm changing to 5 stars!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    The main themes revolve around our attraction to partners based on our "lower" brain (aka brainstem and limbic systems) memories of childhood. The theory is that we chose people who remind us of both the positive and negative composites of early childhood providers. In this way we find a partner with whom we can heal the early wounds, so that the relationship becomes a vessel in which we naturally are given the chance to heal each other spiritually, working back towards a sense of wholeness. The The main themes revolve around our attraction to partners based on our "lower" brain (aka brainstem and limbic systems) memories of childhood. The theory is that we chose people who remind us of both the positive and negative composites of early childhood providers. In this way we find a partner with whom we can heal the early wounds, so that the relationship becomes a vessel in which we naturally are given the chance to heal each other spiritually, working back towards a sense of wholeness. The positive aspects of the partner would be aspects of yourself that were denied early on, so you draw these missing elements into your life. The negative aspects are the ones you want to heal. So if you had a parent that did not pay much attention to you, you might draw in a partner who does not pay attention to you in some fundamental way. He says that we get the opportunity to address these issues with each other, and that the work we would need to do in order to help heal the other partner, is also the work we need to do for ourselves. So that distant partner would make some efforts to be more attentive in order to heal the other, but in so doing would be working on strengthening a weaker aspect of themselves.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Gaya

    Some 20 years ago, psychotherapist Harville Hendrix had a few couples coming to his consulting room. He discovered that the reason people fall in love with this or that particular person resides on unconscious ground, mainly based on early-life experiences with their caretakers. In other words, what we really seek through our love partners is to resolve the “unfinished business” we had with our parents and the childhood wounds we still carry within ourselves. The problem is that more often that n Some 20 years ago, psychotherapist Harville Hendrix had a few couples coming to his consulting room. He discovered that the reason people fall in love with this or that particular person resides on unconscious ground, mainly based on early-life experiences with their caretakers. In other words, what we really seek through our love partners is to resolve the “unfinished business” we had with our parents and the childhood wounds we still carry within ourselves. The problem is that more often that not, our love partner is (unconsciously) seeking the same thing with us and we end up being unable to satisfy each other’s needs. These findings led Hendrix to the development of Imago Therapy, which consists in: 1) becoming conscious of that state of affairs, 2) building a relationship vision, 3) learning how to really listen to our partner’s needs and expressing our own, while avoiding the pitfall of the power struggle, 4) remomanticizing our lives. In short, a very good book, with a set of hands-on exercises to practice Imago Therapy. I would dare say that the Imago Dialogue is a practice that goes far beyond couples and can be applied to any sort of human interaction.

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