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Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples Paperback – September 1, 2001
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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.
"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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 book is not perfect. Deliberately aimed at a popular audience, the writing is sometimes too simplified. There are links and connections that can be inferred, but that are not spelled out in the book. And HH's optimistic methods are not likely to work for the deeply disturbed or traumatized individual, simply because the degree of change called for is too great.
I give this book to every couple I know, straight or gay, who are getting married.