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Intimacy & Desire: Awaken the Passion in Your Relationship Paperback – May 1, 2011
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Readers sick of typical glossy-magazine self-help patter about reigniting romance, or the droning pomposity of most author-experts, will be pleasantly surprised with psychologist and sex therapist Schnarch (Passionate Marriage). He immediately catches readers' attention by agreeing that the common "just do it" approach to solving sexual problems is not only ineffective, but often results in one partner responding with a decisive "Don't tell me what to do!" That kind of understanding produces a number of unexpected bombshells-including "Marriage does kill desire"-which produce an uncanny effect: getting couples to stop and reconsider their emotions, quit blaming each other, and start to think (and act) differently regarding sexual situations, behaviors and attitudes. The book's flaws are more aggravating than genuinely problematic-a tendency to lean on jargon and trademark key phrases ("Four Points of Balance(tm)")-but O'Neill breaks down complex issues with loosely-drawn real life examples, illustrating the dramatic and fundamental changes that occur when couples have a greater understanding of desire, monogamy and the brain. The process is neither easy nor quick, but Schnarch's confidence is contagious. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Readers sick of glossy-magazine self-help patter about reigniting romance, or the droning pomposity of most author-experts, will be pleasantly surprised with psychologist and sex therapist Schnarch (Passionate Marriage). He immediately catches readers' attention by agreeing that the common "just do it" approach to solving sexual problems is not only ineffective, but often results in one partner responding with a decisive 'Don't tell me what to do!' That kind of understanding produces a number of unexpected bombshells--including 'Marriage does kill desire'--which produce an uncanny effect: getting couples to stop and reconsider their emotions, quit blaming each other, and start to thing (and act) differently regarding sexual situations, behaviors and attitudes breaks down complex issues with loosely-drawn real life examples, illustrating the dramatic and fundamental changes that occur when couples have a greater understanding of desire, monogamy and the brain. The process is neither ea --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The book is, indeed, fun to read. Schnarch can deftly shift between transcribing the words & thoughts of a counseling session to his principles of human interaction & growth, and on to sometimes salacious stories of couples getting it on -- not only sexually but mentally & emotionally, and in a more open, enlightened way. He breaks into a mercifully short few pages of techno-babble at the beginning of one chapter to show his inclusion or understanding of brain science, but that is the only lapse in the smoothly flowing writing in this book.
Schnarch presents a number of "moving parts" within our relationships that work to grow us personally & as a partner. And his approach is generally at odds with the common approach within our culture of accomodation or withdrawal from conflict. Instead, he suggests that confronting one's issues -- from one's family of origin or from one's current partner (and commonly they are one & the same) -- is the real path to growth. The process involves these key variable:
* All key dimensions of activity, including sex, have a high & a low desire partner.
* Our sense of self can be based on others' opinion (other validated) or on our own heart (self validated). Both are valid, but if one is predominantly other-validated, then one becomes reluctant to say or do things that will endanger our partner's good opinion of us. And that creates major problems often to the extent of losing our self in the process.
* The tension between autonomy & connectedness provides the opportunity for personal growth: the authors Crucible Approach (which he's trademarked).
* Mind mapping is the core process of understanding the thoughts & intentions of another. Only where you allow another to honestly & fully know you can you have that deep connection most of us seek.
* Mind mapping as well as personal integrity is intimately involved in maintaining collaborative alliances with your partner. Being able to maintain such a collaborative alliance most of the time over a prolonged time is what makes for a "good relationship."
* Being psychologically prepared to sustain an alliance, and the integrity necessary for it, requires individual skills that were collectively called "differentiation" in Passionate Marriage and are here more usefully detailed as his Four Points of Balance on page 72.
* Marriage is a people growing system. One of its key mechanisms is to give you 2 Choice Dilemmas, forcing choice between alternatives that are both desirable. It forces growth where we might otherwise be tempted to complacently stay within our comfort zone -- and thus stagnate within relationship.
* Desiring your partner is one such Choice. And positively choosing your partner is a key part of fully participating in relationship.
Reading this book or any book won't cure a troubled relationship. But it will give you guidence on how to face your own part in your troubles and, very importantly, give meaning to the fact of your relationship struggle. Yes its hard, but yes it is the felling of growth. Find that meaning and the hardship becomes very tolerable.
I highly recommend this book (and Passionate Marriage).
This is not your usual couple therapy in which you learn to accommodate and compromise. Schnarch is tough (as my friend who read his books said to me, “no quarter given” ) but respectful to his clients, and most hang in with him and appreciate his ability to be onto them and facilitate their open honesty with themselves and their partner – the result being the deep connection most of us seek.
Schnarch suggests simple awareness exercises for couples to encourage building alliance. They are something like meditating as a couple instead of alone. He sees this work as expanding the evolutionary process – a worthy challenge.
All the research tells you if you grew up in a dysfunctional system....did not bond with mom....you are screwed with having true intimacy with others.
The author lays out a plan to create intimacy and gives you a plan to keep it in your life.
Already I have recommended this book to 2 people and planning to give as gifts to couples I know who are getting serious about each other.