on June 15, 2007
If you are serious about your relationship, and both interested in learning your limitations, this is an exceptional resource.
The author describes the difference between men (who retreat into their caves to avoid intimacy and work on problems) and women (who retreat into anger to avoid problems and end up limiting initimacy). Becoming self aware is an essential aspect of operating in the world, if we are willing to be honest about our behaviors we can become more functional.
I also listened to the Audio version of the book and it was much more informative to hear the examples and conversations in this format. Having a tendency to drift when I read such examples, hearing them was better.
The behaviors identified, practices provided, and exercises are well worth the effort. We don't expect ourselves to be trained in our occupations, why is it we expect that we will be perfectly skilled to succeed in relationship? It takes learning, and enough esteem to realize we don't know everything about making it work.
This is a great start to intimate health.
on June 18, 2007
This is the BEST relationship book that I would recommend people read no matter if you are in a good, solid relationship and want to keep it that way, in a rocky relationship that you'd like to improve, or just thinking about someday being in a relationship. In fact, it is excellent even for those who are not going to be married - just socially interacting with other human beings!! Written by Terrence Real (a family therapist, who also specializes in male depression) this book certainly makes MY FRIENDS MUST READ list. Chapters are divided and activities arranged in such a way that individuals can work thru the book on their own (and see true positive changes in their relationships - with partners or friends) OR you can work thru it as a couple in addition to individual work. Real does makes some inaccurate statements about feminism and the feminist movements in our country, but I guess no book can be perfect and not everyone has background education in Women's Studies. :)
on February 6, 2007
This is not just another self-help book that will give you more tips and good ideas that you won't be able to implement. This is the book that will take you right to the core of what creates struggle in marriages and relationships, and help you fix yours step by step. The work this book lays out is not easy, but will lead you to happy relationship, as I can personally attest.
I am making this book required reading for all my clients and am planning to use it as workbook to help them put their relationships and marriages back on the right track. Get it, study it and you will see what I mean.
on June 7, 2011
Terry Real's reputation as a marriage counselor has couples flying in from all over the country for two-day intensive sessions. His estimate is that he has been able to prevent destruction of the marriage in about nine out of ten cases.
The New Rules of Marriage is a self-help book that will also be interesting to clinicians. Verbatim excerpts from sessions demonstrate Real's counseling style. He is not afraid to call people out on relationship-destroying behaviors, especially when grandiosity is involved. It is clear how as a family therapist he uses methods very different from those used by the typical individual therapist.
Real says, "Men are not all that unhappy in their marriages. They are unhappy that their women are so unhappy with them." He sees that a major source of wives' unhappiness is that they are trying to conform to either the traditional rules of marriage handed down from the beginning of the twentieth century or the "liberated" rules that have grown in popularity since The Feminine Mystique was published in 1963. He says that neither set of strategies will lead to the kind of loving marriage most people are looking for.
Real says, "The shift from seeing marriage as companionship to seeing marriage as a sustained form of intimacy is a transformation of historical proportions." This might be a bit of an exaggeration, and one might debate how "new" are Real's rules for a happy marriage, but I found them eminently sensible.
It is almost axiomatic that, "We are drawn to people whose issues fit perfectly with our own in a way that guarantees a reenactment of the old familiar struggles we grew up with." Real says that a great marriage is one in which the wounds of the past are healed. This, of course, is not easy, and there are many ways to get it wrong. He explains misguided "losing strategies" that people use to try to get their partners to change into the person who will make up for the hurts of childhood. The losing strategies just drive the partner away.
Real also explains what he calls "winning strategies," which doesn't mean strategies for winning arguments, but strategies where the marriage wins. He also has great ideas for renewing the romantic and sensual energy of a marriage.
I have seen some of these rules in John Gottman's work, some in Marsha Linehan's. I think Terry Real's success is due to his recognizing what rules work now, and to being able to explain them so clearly. Real is sensitive and realistic about the needs of men and women. The writing is colorful and well organized, and the case studies really make the material come alive. I learned a lot from The New Rules of Marriage, and I recommend it highly.
on June 13, 2012
"Would you rather be right or married?" is one of the pragmatic questions posed by author Terrence Real in his book "The New Rules of Marriage" and clear questions like this addressing issues of control and "rightness" can cut through the walls that maintain distances between people and drive them to marriage disaster. The book doesn't really have any "new rules" but rather a lot of good sense taken from what a grandmother or grandfather would have offered before the plague of I-gotta-be-Me therapists came on the scene to preach the sermons of Fritz Pearls. For example Real addresses the idea of "Unbridled self expression" as being healthy by noting how self-serving and even hostile such an unloading of emotional baggage on another often is. The unloading may feel better to the dumper but the damage to the relationship in the process can often serve to make things worse. One early reviewer claimed that Real was putting men down because the clear logic offered by a male point of view was being dumped in favor of the more emotional outpourings of the female. As a "recovering" therapist (and a man who supports men AND women and the fact that they often see the world differently) Real reads as being very even-handed, clear, honest and compassionate with both men and women. This is a very easy read, no preaching and nothing here that doesn't work in the real world of relationships. The book helped in my relationship, one, I am happy to say, with very few difficulties to begin with, but clearly it can be a HUGE help even in one that seems headed over a cliff. If two people want a thing to work this book offers just the help needed.
I'd give it Five Stars but I think we tend to overdo the "Wow!" thing these days.
on August 25, 2008
I read TR's previous two books while trying to save my 16-yr old marriage. I even went to see him for a full-day (w/ my ex-) and a half-day. Full cost: $11,000. In hindsight, TR punched through the psychobabble of 4 previous therapists and hit home on how both of us were sabotaging the relationship. Our marriage was one of those were the woman was running from self-analysis and I sought the safe-space of a therapists office. Net net, she didn't take his advice and I did (to be more honest and less nice) - which he had predicted; two months later we separated and I am now in a much more intimate, loving relationship with my second wife.
on November 15, 2011
I'm on disc 4 of 5 of this audiobook that I checked out from our local library (read by the author). Despite not even being finished yet, so far I have heard so much more than I have ever found in another book. NEVER have I encountered a book that seems to so clearly dissect what is going on in modern relationships, and better yet, TECHNIQUE AFTER TECHNIQUE for improvement.
Not everything Dr. Real says is easy to hear, trust me. I cringed and despaired as Dr. Real went through all of the things that I do wrong. I also rejoiced when he discussed the things that my partner does that I find unbearable -- there were plenty of "HE GETS IT!" moments. I suspect there will be plenty of those for everyone! There is plenty of blame to go around re what is causing so much divorce and unhappy marriages. But crucially, there is a technique for each situation, ...SIMPLE TECHNIQUES that any earnest person can use right away.
What this book does is change your frame of reference and expectations from early 20th Century marriage values, to the realities of the 21st Century relationship. Dr. Real takes into account post-women's-lib complexities, describing how marriages have changed over the history of the United States. Very insightful. With this information, you can go about strategies to start building what he calls "full-respect living" into your marriage.
One of the things I really like about this book is that in addition to nailing behavior patterns that we all have heard by now are toxic (acting out, cheating, addiction, verbal and physical abuse, criticism, nagging, irresponsibility, low self-esteem etc.), that he has tremendous insight into the equally poisoning behaviors of ommission -- withdrawal, people who have to be always right, grandiosity, half-hearted commitment, among others. You seldom see discussions of these harder-to-identify behavior patterns in such certain and clear terms. Dr. Real identifies ALL of these things as being destructive to relationships. Better yet, he gives you TOOLS to identify and re-frame all of these things. You will for sure see your partner and you will also see yourself in this book. Which is great! That is where the new rules begin...with you!
I especially liked that Dr. Real doesn't blame or judge. On the contrary, he says that these behaviors are almost universal these days; hence the need for a new set of rules. Also, he explains how from his years of experience, in EVERY CASE we attract the partner that is going to push our most hurtful buttons because we choose relationshipos to resolve issues that still need healing from our childhood.
It seems that if couples manage to follow the techniques in this book that they will be ensconsed in full-respect living (with a side bonus of not just their marriages, but all of their relationships)...and if they are not re-kindling romance, at least they can live in low-or-no-conflict supportive partnerships. If you are lucky and have the right partner, maybe even relationships that are vibrant and fulfilling.
If you are the only one in your relationship using this book, even so you will move toward being centered and empowered, knowing that you are doing your absolute best to treat your partner respectfully, while at the same time finding and setting the boundaries and limits that you need. Using tools in this book you will identify your partner's bad habits and hurtful behaviors, and you will have what you need to avoid falling prey to them time after time. You will also learn how to clean up your own act so your partner will be comfortable.
Whether you are with someone who is "the right person" for you, or not, I believe Dr. Real gives you tools here to empower yourself and your marriage. If both partners use these concepts and techniques, it seems that it could not fail to bring couples to a truly respectful partnership, if not much more.