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on February 10, 2011
I picked up this book looking for tips to "fix" my husband ... because, of course, he was the one who needed all the fixing.

What I got instead was a lesson on taking personal responsibility for my own actions -- within marriage, parenting or any other relationships. The book helps you improve your relationships by focusing on your self first, not on others. By being your best self, you can change the dance with your partner and improve your marriage. It's very empowering and life changing.

The author writes in a style that has you laughing on one page and can bring tears to your eyes the next. He cushions the painful truth with humor. Great read / great wisdom.
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on February 21, 2011
A couple of years ago, a friend gave me Hal's first book, ScreamFree Parenting. My friend didn't know I was a serious screamer with my kids but I'm so glad he gave it to me because it proved to be life-changing. In fact, I no longer consider myself a screaming mom. In my marriage, though, I've never been a screamer, so I wasn't sure how I'd respond to Hal's latest book, ScreamFree Marriage. Well, as he states in the book, not everyone "yells" when they scream. Some use the silent treatment, some cut off, etc. He does a good job of showing that all of those methods are still destructive to a good marriage. He also challenges the reader to focus on the only person they can control in the marriage: themselves. It's truly a challenge to grow up, take responsibility and grow closer to the one you love. I highly recommend this book!
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on February 11, 2011
I loved the book ScreamFree Parenting, but was initially skeptical of this book. I thought that as a person with a very happy marriage, this book might not have as much to offer me, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The information offered in this book can immediately improve any marriage, I believe. I was immediately able to see my own behavior towards my spouse in a much finer, meaningful way and realized that my marriage could go from great to awesome if I applied this material. The book follows the same writing style as ScreamFree Parenting and the same concepts of "ScreamFree Principles" so readers who have read the Parenting version will find it familiar. It also has a new section called a "Lab" in which you can "test" your ability to apply the concepts in real-like scenarios that are presented in the book. I'm very happy I picked it up and would recommend it to just about anybody!
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on March 1, 2011
It' so rare that I pick up a book about marriage these days and get excited. I'm a hardened marriage counselor and I've heard it all - most of which I either completely disagree with or am simply not impressed by. When I read the first few lines of Hal's preface in his new book ScreamFree Marriage: Calming Down, Growing Up, Getting Closer and got chills I knew I had a good one.
From the get go Hal lets his readers know that this is no ordinary marriage book. He asks readers to "Hold on" - to bear with him as he leads them step by step through the inherent challenges of marriage. At long last, a readable marriage book that asks more of married couples - that asks them to move past communication techniques and date nights. I'm recommending to all my clients and those who have read it are transformed by it. It helps give direction and focus to their hard work.
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on March 1, 2011
I felt kind of embarrassed by the title, really--who wants to be a "Screamer"? Apart from that, though, this book is excellent.

The author has a wonderful sense of humor. He is very easy to relate to, and very forgiving of his readers. The things that he talks about in this book make a lot of sense, and he uses great examples.

I had some trouble with the "lab" exercises. In theory it seems like a great idea to practice the steps of calming down, growing up, and getting closer, but actually I felt less capable after completing the exercises because I couldn't think of good answers.

When I got to the last two chapters, I felt like I might not be good at this, but then the final chapters gave me a great sense of hope. I realized it didn't matter if I knew what the lab people could do or not. The really important thing is that I try to be the best wife I can be for my husband. The author draws everything together really neatly, and you leave the book feeling empowered and like you know exactly what to do. (Even if you didn't in the labs.)

Although I am just getting started, I have consciously tried to follow the "ScreamFree" steps a few times now. As my husband and I have had conflict I've tried to Calm Down, Grow Up, and Get Closer with the steps the author discusses. I don't know if I'm doing things perfectly, but I do feel like my relationship with my husband has improved from my "ScreamFree" interactions with him. Following the steps diffuses conflict and makes things a lot sweeter; it changes our patterns of interaction.

This book would make a GREAT gift for a couple who is getting married, or for newlyweds. When we got married I promise I wasn't expecting only sunshine and lollipops, but it has been much, much harder than either of us expected. I think much of our conflict has been because of the lies our society believes about marriage (see Chapter 2). Things would have been much smoother for us if we would have read this sooner, even though we weren't "Screaming" when we got married.

Really, though, even marriages without much emotional reactivity would probably gain a lot by reading this. I think there are things in this book for everyone.
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on March 18, 2011
The book is super, the concepts are really on target for so many people. This material reminds me: "You start going through the book, and then the book starts going through you." When I'm doing parenting... probably 1/4 of the questions are about parenting issues where one partner is on a different track.
ScreamFree Parenting addresses that, but THIS will help get those relationships repaired, or more functional. I find through the ScreamFree concept that easing a little of the parenting or family pressure gives a lot of hope.

I hear of many couples with young children & teens splitting up... a lot of it is partners finding a more "satisfying" relationship, perhaps through social media. ScreamFree Marriage hits those 2 main issues of BOREDOM and RESENTMENT (and other problems) straight on.

The video program will be great to add to my Premarital Coaching, as well as for my Marriage seminars themselves. Another great product from the team at [...]
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on February 25, 2011
I loved ScreamFree Parenting and anxiously waited for the publication of ScreamFree Marriage. The no-nonsense advice and real life examples make the ScreamFree series useful. What Hal Runkel has to say makes sense and he pulls from his own experience with marriage as well as those he has helped. There are no magic tricks here and that's what I love. ScreamFree Marriage focuses on the same princples that made ScreamFree Parenting so successful - the focus on one's self as an emotionally healthy individual. As Jim Rohn once said, "For things to change, you must change. For things to get better, you much get better."
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on February 11, 2011
I really enjoyed Hal's first book, ScreamFree Parenting. It has made a huge impact on my life, not only in how I parent, but in the way I view and participate in relationships period! I have anxiously awaited this new title, and it does not disappoint. Hal and Jenny Runkel hold up incredible ideals, while also admitting their own difficult moments and vulnerability. I highly recommend this book and hope many others will share the same enthusiasm for the ScreamFree concepts.
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on November 7, 2011
My husband and I have been reading this book together and I have honestly felt like the author wastes most of the space on the page STILL trying to get me to buy the book: "This book is going to revolutionize your marriage!" Guess what? I ALREADY BOUGHT THE BOOK, NO NEED TO KEEP SELLING ME WITHIN THE PAGES OF THE BOOK. Five chapters into the reading I'm wondering why he is still trying to sell me and why he hasn't revealed his earth-shattering, "revolutionary" way of having a mature, calm marriage. "Calm down," he says. "The rules about fighting fair and anger management are lies." Not so. This gentleman has unfortunately neglected to consult with his predecessors and contemporaries. Researchers such as Gottman, LePoire, Yerby and Arnold are (in my humble opinion)some of the more reliable authorities on relashionships. If you are able, try to check this book out from the library before you buy it to see if it might work for you. I wish I had done the same.
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Common sense, that elusive gift that gets shrouded by emotional overlay in all manner of interpersonal interaction but most often in marriage, is the basis of this book by husband/wife (or is the wife/husband?) team Hal and Jenny Runkel - Hal being a marriage and family therapist/relationship coach and Jenny the one that prods the progress of their online ScreamFree Institute. Together they have composed this in many ways antithetical 'marriage counseling' book: they postulate that there are many 'lies' about marriage and their mission is to clarify the realities of marriage and bring a couple to a level of understanding and mutual appreciation and respect that will result in not only a better marriage - but also in a more dynamic physical aspect of the partnering!

In the early portion of the book the theme is set in the following fundamentals: 'If you're not under control, you cannot be in connection'; 'It's not what you have in common, it's what you have inside'; The only communication skill you need to learn is Authentic Self-Representation'; It's better to get rubbed the wrong way the to never get rubbed at all'; If you want a warm marriage, you have to walk through fire';and 'Intimacy always begins with an "I". Not impressed? Too logical? Too threatening? Then this little book is probably the antidote you need for your relationship values and acting out that prevent you from having a solid marriage.

There are many many books on marriage counseling out there and doubtless if you're in a shaky (even at times....) marriage you've read lots of them. Where Hal and Jenny Runkel differ in there presentation is the realistic presence of it all. They share a sense of humor and yet offer straight handed guidance cues. This is about as strong a book as you'll find on mending - no, remolding - your marriage, and uncovering a path to a future of total satisfaction with your mate. Grady Harp, April 11
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