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Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition Paperback – December 26, 2007
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“Hendrix provides much insight into how spouses can mature through one another.” ―Booklist
“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
“I know of no better guide for couples who genuinely desire a maturing relationship.” ―M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled
“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
“Getting the Love You Want provides a road map for partners seeking a path to intimacy and passionate friendship.” ―Marion Solomon, Ph.D.
“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.
Getting the Love You Want describes the three stages of intimate relationships, provides illustrative case studies and gives helpful recommendations to overcome the obstacles in those stages to create a stronger bond between couples. First, he chronicles the stages of most relationships-attraction, romantic love and the power struggle-and suggests ways for partners to identify the conflicts associated with each of them. Then, he explores methods for achieving a "Conscious Marriage," where the early phases of romance are rekindled and confrontation is slowly replaced by growth and support. Finally, Dr. Hendrix incorporates these ideas into a unique therapeutic course, offering a series of proven exercises that lead to insight, resolution and revitalization. Step by step, he describes how to communicate with greater accuracy and sensitivity, how to let go of self-defeating behaviors, and how to focus energy on meeting each partners' needs.
With Getting the Love You Want couples in any stage of a relationship can resolve their conflicts and achieve mutual emotional satisfaction.
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The situations described in the book were very, very recognizable to me and at times I felt it described it described me and my own feelings exactly. Read this book, even if it is just for the realization that you are not alone in your struggles to make something out of your marriage.
Nobody goes into marriage thinking they are going get divorced some day, but the statistics are grim. Roughly half of all marriages end up in divorce and of the remaining marriages probably 9 out of 10 couples sooner or later end up leading parallel lives where they try to find happiness and fulfillment outside of the relationship with their spouse. That means roughly only 1 in 20 couples end up building a lasting and fulfilling relationship that will last a lifetime. Are we expecting too much of marriage? Few of us would undertake an endeavor knowing there is only a 5% of succeeding, yet we do it anyway.
The book goes on to illustrate that we chose our partners for very specific reasons that few of us are even aware of. Out of thousands of potential partners we are attracted to some people that subconsciously meet very specific character and personality traits. In a sense, we all marry into our problems, the very things that attract us to our partners, become the very same issues that drive a wedge between us.
The book is very practical too in that offers specific exercises and guidelines for couples on how to interact with each other. But don't expect it to be easygoing by any means. I realize now that marriage takes a lot of hard work and commitment every day to make and stay successful. You have to make it a top priority in your life and take nothing for granted. Expect to do a lot of soul searching, be prepared to relive some gut wrenching and painful experiences from the past, be wiling to learn and undo the conditioned automated responses that you have always used, be prepared to be brutally honest to yourself and your spouse. I fear it might be too late for my own marriage but once you get through this catharsis, I do believe you might actually come out with a happier and more fulfilling relationship on the other end.
Regardless, I implore you to read this book. It might help you save your marriage or relationship before it's too late, but even if it does not, it might make you a better person, it will certainly help you build more meaningful relationships with other people and give you a better chance at building lasting and more meaningful future relationships. Good luck to all of you that need this book.
The purpose of the workbook is to help with the exercises in the text.
1) The exercises in the 2008 text have been completely renamed, edited and reordered. The exercises in the 2003 workbook have no relationship to the exercises in the 2008 text.
2) As described below by Hendrix, he found one exercise to be not therapeutic, and dangerous to the relationship. He removed this exercise from the 2008 text, and wrote an entirely new one to take its place. The harmful exercise is of course still present in the 2003 workbook.
Page xvii of 2008 edition of text, "Foreword to the Twentieth-Anniversary Edition--What We Changed," third paragraph in its entirety: "Third, the most substantive revision is replacing the original chapter 11 with an entirely new chapter. This chapter used to be titled 'Containing Rage,' and it was designed to help couples express the anger and frustration they had carried over from childhood. The chapter described an exercise called the 'Full Container' that guided each partner in venting his or her anger, while helping the other listen with more compassion. At the time, we believed that this catharsis would reduce the amount of tension in their day-to-day interactions. The opposite proved to be true. We discovered that the more couples practiced the exercise, the angrier they became with each other in their daily lives."