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Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples Paperback – September 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805068953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805068955
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (414 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Harville Hendrix writes about relationships, he discusses them not just as an educator and a therapist, but as a man who has himself been through a failed marriage. Hendrix felt the sting of his divorce intensely because he believed it signaled not only his failure as a husband but also his failure as a couples counselor. Investigating why his marriage dissolved led him to start looking into the psychology of love. Marriage, he ultimately discovered, is the "practice of becoming passionate friends."

As a result of his research, Hendrix created a therapy he calls Imago Relationship Therapy. In it, he combines what he's learned in a number of disciplines, including the behavioral sciences, depth psychology, cognitive therapy, and Gestalt therapy, to name just a few. He expounds upon this approach in Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples. His purpose in writing the book, he says, is "to share with you what I have learned about the psychology of love relationships, and to help you transform your relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship."

Divided into three sections, the book covers "The Unconscious Marriage," which details a marriage in which the remaining desires and behavior of childhood interfere with the current relationship; "The Conscious Marriage," which shows a marriage that fulfils those childhood needs in a positive manner; and a 10-week "course in relationship therapy, " which gives detailed exercises for you and your partner to follow in order to learn how to "replace confrontation and criticism ... with a healing process of mutual growth and support." The text is occasionally dry and technical; however, the information provided is valuable, the case studies are interesting, and the exercises are revealing and helpful. By utilizing his program, Hendrix hopes you too will be able to solve your marital difficulties without the expense of a therapist. --Jenny Brown --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Getting the Love You Want is a remarkable book--the most incisive and persuasive I have ever read on the knotty problems of marriage relationships."--Ann Roberts, Former President, Rockefeller Family Fund

"Harville Hendrix offers the best program I've seen for using the love/hate energy in marriage to help a couple heal one another and to become whole together."--T. George Harris, Editor-in-Chief, American Health magazine

"This book will help any couple find the love they want hidden under all the concealing confusion of a close and intimate relationship. I have seen these principles in application and they work!"--James A. Hall, M.D.

More About the Author

Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., a clinical pastoral counselor and co-creator of Imago Relationship Therapy, has more than thirty-five years' experience as an educator, public lecturer, and couples' therapist.

Customer Reviews

A very good book the information is helpful and timely, reading is easy to understand.
William Price
This book is great for couples that want to learn communication techniques that will better help their relationships.
Betty Prat
In part I, Dr. Hendrix describes the type of relationships most of us have - "Unconscious Marriage".
SH in Tampa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

328 of 343 people found the following review helpful By SH in Tampa on April 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
The relationship/self-help book market is booming. When looking for one of these books you are presented with a bewildering array of "experts" and "specialists", each with their pet theories about where men and women come from or what "rules" you should apply to your relationship.
It is rare to find a book written by an author with solid academic credentials and years of clinical practice. This book is one such find.
The book is organized into three parts. In part I, Dr. Hendrix describes the type of relationships most of us have - "Unconscious Marriage". In this section, he details how our childhood experiences, self image and ideals of romantic love combine to create an unstated power struggle between spouses. Often many books stop at this point, assuming that the reader can now go forth and solve their problems. Fortunately Dr. Hendrix continues.
In the second part, he describes what a more fulfilling relationship might look like, the "Conscious Marriage". He describes how to begin with commitment, stop destructive exit patterns, creating a zone of safety, understanding yourself and your partner, how to begin real self growth and containing rage. He closes by providing two examples of marriages that have been transformed by applying these techniques. The exercises and approaches described by Dr. Hendrix are hard. His most meaningful techniques are not quick tricks but require a lot of introspection and self awareness. As he mentions in his book, many couples may require external assistance (we did). However, his techniques provides lasting changes in the way that you interact with your partner.
The final part of the book is a series of exercises that help drive how the major points in each chapter of the preceding two sections.
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215 of 232 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying I am not a self-help book devotee. That said, this book has revolutionized my relationship with my husband and taken it to a new level. BUT... I recommend this book for only those seriously committed to REALLY wanting an honest, soul-fully deep relationship. This is not a quick fix book full of easy answers. If you are looking for a book to tell you how to fix your partner or get them to be what you want them to be, don't buy this book.
To make the concepts in Getting The Love You Want work, it takes a tremendous amount of gut wrenchingly honest introsepction, humility, willingness to do things completely differently, and total selflessness. It's hard work.
But if you do what this book suggests, your life will be forever changed ... in all your relationships. This book has changed my life and enriched it beyond belief. I read the book - my husband didn't. Although he was not a proactive participant in the process, his life has been equally impacted and we are getting all we ever hoped for from each other.
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177 of 193 people found the following review helpful By Michael Beverly on April 23, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I told a pastor friend of mine a short time ago that I was ready to start pursuing a relationship again he recommend this book. When I noticed that it referred to itself as a guide to couples I thought maybe he'd made a mistake recommending it to me, however, as soon as I started getting into it I realized why he thought it'd be helpful to read even before I got into a relationship.

I'd recommend this book to both couples in crisis and those just trying to make things better as well as to any, like myself, that simply want to work on knowing ourselves better before getting into a relationship. It is also very helpful in being able to form insight into how others relate to us in a relationship, why they expect what they do and why we expect what we do.

Some of the author's insight into how childhood wounds effect us are very helpful in seeing how some of our personality gets formed and how those traits affect both our partners and ourselves. When two people start a relationship they both have expectations, conscious and subconscious, of what they expect the other person to do for them. Obviously in a healthy relationship both people are trying to love and give to the other person because giving and loving and being unselfish are traits we all recognize as being "good" and honourable and most healthy people desire to be good or Godly in some form or another.

What is not so obvious, and what I found most helpful in my reading of this book, is that people go into a relationship with the expectation that the other person will heal us where we were wounded and hurt as children. This unconscious desire to have our partners fill the need left behind by our less than perfect parents often is the cause of the ensuing battles and eventual breakdown of relationships.
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91 of 98 people found the following review helpful By NURseRUN on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Two decades ago, while I was enduring the aftermath of a divorce, an acquaintance "tricked" me into reading this book. (That's an interesting story, but for another time.)

I had heard it said that unless we understand why we married our first spouse, we were almost certainly doomed to remarry the "same person". That I did NOT want to do. So, in order to avoid that dreadful prospect, I began reading this book.

At first I was appalled at Hendrix's explanation of why I had chosen my first wife. In fact, I was so offended (and frightened) by what he said, that I almost threw away the book. However, I was just desperate enough to keep reading. And, I am certainly thankful I did. By the end of the book, I was convinced Hendrix was absolutely right in his explanation of love (as a mental process) and why we choose whom we choose.

Twenty years later, I can testify that I am still indebted to this book. It has helped me avoid a number of HORRIBLE mistakes that I was initially inclined to make.

I would also advise anyone who will listen to read this book. Read it as if you're a single person, even if you're married. Read it if you want to understand why you make the decisions you make. Read it if you want to avoid multiple failures in relationships and all sorts of life-changing decisions.

As Solomon wrote: "The mind of the wise seeks knowledge. But the mouth of the fool feeds on folly." (Proverbs 15.14) This book might just be the first meal of wisdom you need.
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