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How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It Paperback – April 29, 2008
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“If you've ever told your spouse, ’I talk until I'm blue in the face,’ or ’It's in one ear and out the other,’ stop whatever you're doing and read this book immediately! You're about to discover why talking things out isn't always the best way to get through to your spouse or achieve more closeness and connection. More important, you'll learn exactly what you need to do today to truly transform your relationship forever.”
---Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW, founder of divorcebusting.com and author of Divorce Busting and The Sex-Starved Marriage
About the Author
Patricia Love, Ed.D., is an acclaimed therapist and speaker and author of four books, including Hot Monogamy and The Truth About Love. She has appeared on Oprah and Today and on CNN, and has contributed to many magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Self.
Steven Stosny, Ph.D., is a therapist who specializes in men’s issues and has appeared on Oprah in two highly rated shows on men and marriage. He is the author of You Don't Have to Take It Anymore: Turn Your Resentful, Angry, or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate, Loving One.
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I know/knew our particular "issues" are very common in marriage, but "talking" about them just made them all the more blatantly painful. Worst of all, nothing we tried was even remotely "fixing" anything. I was at the point I that I was fed up. I sure wasn't going to "cave in" to her demands for what I felt were even more changes to my behavior or even further concessions from me. It was painfully obvious that she was in a place where she refused to budge on anything. Our sex life went from "pretty good" to "gone". Every session seemed to just make the situation worse. The issues we had were now openly on the table but resolution was no where in sight. So now we were aware of the problems, but no solutions were in sight.
Don't get me wrong, counseling and therapy weren't entirely a "bust". Because of the time we spent there, I learned a whole lot about "my part" in our marital problems and probably never would have found this book without experiencing the personal growth I needed. I willingly began to work on "me" and stopped focusing on "her". In this regard, the counselling and therapy was "great" for identifying our issues, my issues, and eventually pinpointing a probable cause for our "sexual meltdown". But my repeated gut reaction was that we kept going in the same old circles, never quite getting to "what" was causing it and "what" we might do to heal our marriage.
As a man, if something broken I want to know what it is, why it broke, what it was that broke it, what I need to do to fix it, and then obtain the proper tools and materials to do my best to repair it. If I caused it to break, then I will learn what not to do the next time, or at least the time after that. I also know that if I am really upset, mad, angry, frustrated, that it is useless for me to even attempt the repair until I can calm down and regain my focus.
I could not see why it was so hard for specialists in this field to guide us in the right direction. Yes, they helped me understand many of the parts involved that were in disrepair and sometimes pointed me in the right direction to fix each part, but damn, where were the instructions we needed to put the "whole" thing back together and tell us what was broken and how it got that way in the first place?
We were both living in misery. I was lost for answers despite hundreds of hours of reading and researching, working a 12 step program, diligently attending the counseling sessions while spending thousands of dollars, and though I was gaining newfound perspectives on "me", I, we, could not find a way that would put "us" back together again.
I went to my own private psychologist, she went to a psychotherapist for EMDR therapy, I became involved with a great codependency program in our area specifially for me, and she continued in her 12 step codependency program. We both began reading book after book, each one great at describing the "what", but never adequately addressing the "why", and more importantly, "why" what we were doing wasn't bringing us any closer to having any hope all of ever resolving our "issues", of making our marriage loving and compassionate like it once was.
And then... what I now consider to be a miracle, happened. On one of my so far futile quests for answers, I stumbled across this book. The title intrigued me, so I dug a little deeper. Research on this book indicated it had excellent reviews by some of the other prominent writers in this field. The few negative reviews of note were written by a few marriage counselors in what I now feel were vain attempts to justify their stereotypical approaches, which simply were not working for me, for "us". (This book even explains why the mainstream approach to helping couples with relationship problems will almost NEVER work for a man.)
Steven Stosny and Patricia Love approached our marital breakdown from a perspective NO ONE had fully put together for me, for us. Yes, I was familiar with every term they use, even a few of the concepts, but this book FINALLY provided us both with the reasons WHY what we were doing wasn't working and probably never would work.
Both Steven and Patricia were well-schooled in the traditional approaches to relationship counseling, but guess what? After years and years of using the standard approaches and either failing, or having "less than optimal" success, they decided to uproot the system and try and figure out WHY it wasn't working. The result of their efforts is an astoundingly different way of looking at marriage, relationships, the differences in the way men and women process things, and the differences in our emotional makeup. (John Gray grasped parts of this in his "Mars and Venus" books)
In the end, our "issues" aren't the problem, at least they aren't at the root of the problem, they are more like "symptoms" from deeper underlying causes which, until this book, remained an unidentifiable mystery to me, to us.
If your marriage feels broken, unrepairable, damaged beyond hope, I urge you to read this book. All the pieces of our indecipherable martital problems puzzle which I felt were written in hieroglyphics, were suddenly were comprehendable. Finally, someone had created a basket which would hold all our "issues", personal problems, and did so in a logical straighforward manner, explaining EXACTLY what was going on. For me, as a man, even more importantly, they explained "WHY" it was happening and provided understandable reasons for it.
If you have looked for answers as diligently as I have, felt you have truly done your best, taken every step you could think of to put your marriage back together, and like me, still found yourself going in circles, spiralling hopelessly down an eddy of despair, read this book. If your partner is as flustered about your marriage as you are and just as committed to making it work as you are, the approach brought forth in this book will change your lives.
I have no motivation for writing this review, I had never heard of Steven Stosny or Patricia Love. It is extremely rare for me to take the time to review any product, no matter how good. For me to take the time to do this, a product or concept has to be life-altering, absolutely phenomenal. I felt I owed it to any other couple out there that may be going through the pain and misery I have. I am not exaggerating anything with regard to what I have learned from this book, am still learning from this book and daily applying to our relationship. I simply felt compelled to write this review because I know how miserable a failing marriage can be.
For the first time in years I feel real hope and firmly believe that our marriage is on the mend. My wife and I are reading and rereading this book off the same iPad, at the same time. No, our issues are not yet resolved, we haven't even tried at this point. But the weight that those issues put on both of us is gone. We now know the basis from which our problems stemmed aren't so much the "issues" themselves, but more in the why and how they became so magnanimous in the first place. We weren't connected anymore and our attempts at "talking through it" just made it all worse. Thankfully, we have been given a way to work through things with love and compassion, because we are finally "connected" again, and understand the primary reasons we lost this connection and just couldn't get it back.
My hope and prayer for anyone reading this review is that you too find the comfort and solace, peace and serenity, that the information in this book will provide you. And that you are finally able to "reconnect" with the one you love.... and stay that way.
I like that this is not a quick fix book. It gives you actual tools and scenarios from which you can work. If one works at developing the listening, etc. skills, they present, these skills can become second nature.
The messages in this book can be expanded well beyond a marriage. For example, in writing a proposal to an employer for a service you would like to have at that business, think in terms of the employer being more than adequate, in fact s/he is an outstanding employer. That way you can present your service from the perspective that the outstanding employer would want your service. As Seth Godin says, "Marketing to just the rational mind makes no sense, because the rational mind almost never decides anything by itself." We want to help people feel more than adequate. We want people to feel valued and secure.
Finally, I truly believe that if I had read this book some years ago, I would have much better understood why the relationship was going in the direction it was and how I could have either improved it or gotten out of it.