- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (January 7, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684868784
- ISBN-13: 978-0684868783
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How Can I Get Through to You? Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Men and Women Paperback – January 7, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
"Conventional therapy has failed most couples," Real writes, and with over 20 years of marriage and family counseling experience, he's qualified to judge. Though traditional marital counseling has been prevalent for 30 years, divorce rates remain the same, and studies show that counseling has no lasting effect on either marital satisfaction or endurance. The author of I Don't Want to Talk About It, the national bestseller on male depression, Real is attuned to the characteristics of contemporary marriages and demonstrates insight into both male and female perspectives. The fundamental problem, he argues, is American culture's deeply entrenched "psychological patriarchy," which devalues all things feminine (including healthy relationships) and wounds males at an early age by disconnecting them from themselves and others. Men can't relate, and women can't teach them how ("If a wife truly demands that her emotional needs be met, she may indeed put her marriage on the line"). Counseling, too, fails them both in a "collusion of silence" as to what's really wrong. Real's alternative is "relational recovery." Identifying a healthy marriage as one following the repeated pattern of "harmony, disharmony, and restoration," Real teaches five skills for accomplishing the crucial, ongoing task of repair: holding the relationship in high regard, preserving intimacy and relational (i.e., authentically connected) speaking, listening and negotiating. With numerous scenes from his therapy sessions including quarrels most married couples will recognize Real deftly shows readers how to transcend "our culture's anti-relational bias" and move "out of patriarchy into healthy relatedness." This is a well-balanced and exciting new addition to the marriage-manual genre. Agent, Beth Vesel. (Jan.)Forecast: This breakthrough handbook should cause a stir in the marriage guidance field, with its acknowledgement of counseling's failings and exposing of what Real considers unhealthy fundamental American cultural values.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Two veteran family therapists have each written an excellent book on communication between partners. The author of I Don't Want To Talk About It, Real analyzes the reasons why men and women don't speak the same emotional language: boys' emotional relationships are squelched early on by peers, siblings, and fathers, whereas women learn to accommodate. Written with couples' therapy dramatizations, Real's book demonstrates his five relational skills: how to hold the relationship in regard, how to speak, how to listen, how to negotiate, and how to stay on course. Real, who is often called upon to arbitrate between couples as a last resort, is excellent at showing how couples can uncover hidden issues from the past and begin healing. The author of How To SayR It to Your Kids, Coleman takes a workbook approach to marriage therapy. He opens with six questions to which the couple must answer "happy" or "unhappy." He then explains his GIFTS technique in conversations: be Gentle, fix arguments with In-flight repairs, Find hidden concerns, use Teamwork, and reassure with Supportive comments. Each chapter begins with a scenario and continues with short tips under the "Have you heard?" heading, followed by "How to say it" and "How not to say it" and ending with "How to say it to yourself." Since chapter layouts are the same, the reader can easily pick out a problem area and read the two- to three-page chapter. Some topics include encouraging more conversation, rigid vs. flexible personalities, pregnancy, and cybersex. As popular marriage therapy manuals, these books are both suitable for public libraries and medical collections. The Coleman title is easier to use for a quick "fix," but Real's theories about men and women and how to take care of a marriage, though challenging, may prove more fruitful. Lisa Wise, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
make it a point to recommend _How Can I Get Through to You?
(Reconnecting Men and Women)_ to every couple in my practice. As
a man, husband (32 years) and father (of a son and daughter), I
credit this book with changing my life.
Although I have seen these issues play out over three decades of
leading partners through couples therapy, the wisdom and insights
that I've gleaned from this book have offered me a new
perspective from which to help couples help themselves.
Terrence Real speaks of the breakdown of couple relationships as
a mirror of societal gender conflict. We (patriarchal culture)
socialize boys to be competitive and girls to be compliant. When
men and women become joined in marriage, it is a union of two
different species. However Real moves beyond merely describing
the differences between men and women by recommending a radical
course of bringing the genders back into balance - and wholeness.
He refers to this as 1) empowering the woman and 2) reconnecting
the man. This core concept really speaks to me for I find that
the majority of the couples in my practice are living examples of
the corrupted communication patterns that Real describes through
his model and illustrates so well in case studies.
The greatest insight that I received from this material is an
understanding of the profound impact of the early disconnection
of men. As Real explains, both girls and boys are severely
wounded during the socialization process - but the damage to
boys is more significant because their disconnect (from
relationship, from their feelings and from all that is considered
"feminine") occurs at such an early (between 3 and 5 years) age.
I and all men walk around this planet with covert depression
because of the parts of us that got lost.
In my work with couples, I emphasize the skills of healthy
relating with the insights presented in this book as background. I now have a deeper understanding of where each party is coming from and I can better see their gifts, honor their wounds and hold a vision of what may be possible for them. In this way, I seek to empower the couple - by being the orchestrator who holds the sacred space for a more fulfilling relationship.
One of Real's most powerful contributions is his notion of the
five key Relational Skills. As I have seen in my practice, these
skills can be taught to and internalized by both parties in a
relationship." I've seen evidenced, internalized by both parties.
When a couple has the core skills and an intention to replace the
"control, revenge, resignation syndrome" with "harmony,
disharmony, repair", the future is much, much brighter.
This is work we all need to do.
This is the smartest book on couples I have ever read. It explains why so many men and women have so much trouble. It's full of ideas about how to make it better. The stories made me laugh and sometimes even cry, like a good novel. I loved every minute of it. And it's just brimming over with casual comments that are so profound. Like this - "The great paradox of intimacy is that in order to sustain closeness we have to be capable of bearing solitude inside the relationship." Or what Terry calls, "normal marital hatred." There are a million of these. I honestly can say I'd like to see everyone who wants their relationship to work to read this. It should be passed out along with marriage licenses. It is far and away the best thing I have ever found. Thank you!
Real thinks that the source of most marriage dysfunction is the socialization that boys and girls undergo in patriarchy, but that the need to change is much greater in men. Women have changed a lot, and men have not kept pace. Most women don't want the dead marriages that their mothers submitted to, but most men would not even be aware that there was a problem if their wives were not so unhappy and let them know it. So far so good.
Where it gets weird is where Real seems to think that women should make an effort to trust a man's promises to be "better," even when she has no particular reason to believe that he will be trustworthy. The last chapter is about a man who has proved repeatedly untrustworthy, and Real urges his skeptical wife to accept his promises to be a good boy in the future. The best he can say to this woman is that she should trust her gut feeling about whether or not to believe her husband's promises, but when her gut feeling tells her that she does NOT trust him, Real blames this on her mistrust of her father! The same old, same old: a therapist telling a woman that she is just hallucinating, that she is caught in some object representation from the past. Ok, sometimes this does happen; but sometimes bad stuff is happening IN THE PRESENT, and not just because it also happened in one's childhood.
I'm not sure why Real thinks that women should make so much of an effort to get back together with a man who has proven repeatedly to be a poor partner. Maybe he does this because our society offers only one form of the family: the heterosexual couple and their children. This form of the family never worked well, and its fractures are clear to see nowadays. HOw about a different concept of the family? The pre-patriarchal family was most likely a woman, her siblings, her mother, her mother's siblings, and all their children. Husbands and fathers did not exist, per se. Women had boyfriends, but these relationships were separate from true family life, and when they proved unsatisfactory, they could be quickly dissolved. The Na and Moso people of China still live this way.