Don't expect to approach this workbook as if you were whizzing through a magazine quiz. Like the relationship that you are trying to revive, this workbook presents a big commitment. (There's no timeline suggested, but judging from the amount of work involved, common sense says to give it at least a month.) McGraw also urges readers to use this workbook in tandem with Relationship Rescue, even though there are similar exercises in both books. The hardcover book is geared toward helping readers identify "what's wrong and begin the process of restoration," he explains. The workbook helps readers begin the self-scrutinizing work that leads to change. Throughout this 287-page workbook, McGraw asks readers to be brutally honest while they examine the beliefs, behaviors, resentments, and expectations that they bring to the relationship. The four-part structure echoes the structure of his original book, starting with "Recover Your Core" and finishing with "Aim for the Best." Some of the exercises seem predictable, such as "list and describe five things that made you fall in love with your partner." Most of the time, though, the requests are profound and suggest a huge impact on a relationship. For example:
- "I am 100 percent accountable for my life, so I will take a responsibility for bringing a win/win spirit to the table day after day. I can show my optimism by..."
- "My partner does not deserve the effort I am about to invest. I deserve it, and our relationship deserves it. I will take the respect I have for our relationship and exercise it toward my partner. Some simple ways I can demonstrate the respect I hope to be shown myself are..."
This workbook won't change your partner or offer you relationship perfection, warns McGraw. The goal is "to reconnect with your own best self" (which is the foundation of McGraw's couples work). Nor is there a big prize upon completing the workbook. Instead, readers will find a personal letter from McGraw, emphasizing what's already been discovered--relationships aren't maintained and nurtured by a one-shot course, but rather by a strong commitment to one's highest self. It may sound anticlimactic, but as so many Oprah guests are likely to attest, it really works. --Gail Hudson