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Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples [Paperback]

Harville Hendrix
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company; 25 Anv Rev edition (26 Dec 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805087001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087000
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Hendrix, Harville

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Repairing Your Relationship (and Your Childhood) 28 May 2008
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Before counselor Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. teaches you how to improve your relationship, he asks you to think about why you were attracted to your partner in the first place. The answer, he explains, is that you were looking for a mate who possesses the same basic qualities as your parents. Why? Because people subconsciously seek relationships with those who will exorcise their childhood pain. Unfortunately, most people tend to reopen - as opposed to healing - these wounds in their adult liaisons, leading to the "power struggle" that ensues in many relationships. Hendrix and his wife, Dr. Helen Lakelly Hunt, say that the way out of this destructive cycle is to practice the tenants of "Imago Relationship Therapy," which they created. Their therapeutic approach includes making a true, lifelong commitment, treating each other in a loving manner, learning how to communicate constructively and eliminating negativity from your relationship. You may well find some benefits in the Imago approach even if you don't fully buy Hendrix's basic parent-seeking premise. The authors have trained some 2,000 therapists to use this approach, although Part III offers solid exercises you can do yourself. If you are seeking a relationship self-help book that discusses how to avoid getting hurt, how to deepen your communication and how to build a long-term connection, getAbstract recommends this bestseller.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  355 reviews
310 of 324 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the few books that may really change your life 10 April 2001
By SH in Tampa - Published on
The relationship/self-help book market is booming. When looking for one of these books you are presented with a bewildering array of "experts" and "specialists", each with their pet theories about where men and women come from or what "rules" you should apply to your relationship.
It is rare to find a book written by an author with solid academic credentials and years of clinical practice. This book is one such find.
The book is organized into three parts. In part I, Dr. Hendrix describes the type of relationships most of us have - "Unconscious Marriage". In this section, he details how our childhood experiences, self image and ideals of romantic love combine to create an unstated power struggle between spouses. Often many books stop at this point, assuming that the reader can now go forth and solve their problems. Fortunately Dr. Hendrix continues.
In the second part, he describes what a more fulfilling relationship might look like, the "Conscious Marriage". He describes how to begin with commitment, stop destructive exit patterns, creating a zone of safety, understanding yourself and your partner, how to begin real self growth and containing rage. He closes by providing two examples of marriages that have been transformed by applying these techniques. The exercises and approaches described by Dr. Hendrix are hard. His most meaningful techniques are not quick tricks but require a lot of introspection and self awareness. As he mentions in his book, many couples may require external assistance (we did). However, his techniques provides lasting changes in the way that you interact with your partner.
The final part of the book is a series of exercises that help drive how the major points in each chapter of the preceding two sections. Relevant and helpful, their main point appears to be to draw the reader into applying the theories presented in the book to their own situation. In this respect, they are helpful.
We have tried a number of different books/techniques to help our relationship and we found this one to be the most helpful by orders of magnitude. I hope it works well for others
167 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid insight, not just for after problems start. 23 April 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I told a pastor friend of mine a short time ago that I was ready to start pursuing a relationship again he recommend this book. When I noticed that it referred to itself as a guide to couples I thought maybe he'd made a mistake recommending it to me, however, as soon as I started getting into it I realized why he thought it'd be helpful to read even before I got into a relationship.

I'd recommend this book to both couples in crisis and those just trying to make things better as well as to any, like myself, that simply want to work on knowing ourselves better before getting into a relationship. It is also very helpful in being able to form insight into how others relate to us in a relationship, why they expect what they do and why we expect what we do.

Some of the author's insight into how childhood wounds effect us are very helpful in seeing how some of our personality gets formed and how those traits affect both our partners and ourselves. When two people start a relationship they both have expectations, conscious and subconscious, of what they expect the other person to do for them. Obviously in a healthy relationship both people are trying to love and give to the other person because giving and loving and being unselfish are traits we all recognize as being "good" and honourable and most healthy people desire to be good or Godly in some form or another.

What is not so obvious, and what I found most helpful in my reading of this book, is that people go into a relationship with the expectation that the other person will heal us where we were wounded and hurt as children. This unconscious desire to have our partners fill the need left behind by our less than perfect parents often is the cause of the ensuing battles and eventual breakdown of relationships. Often the net result of this inability to get our partners to heal us is divorce.

I feel very positive about what I learned in this book and while certainly no panacea, I believe that anyone with an open mind and a desire to learn about themselves and have a greater empathy for their mates will get something positive here. I give it a strong recommendation to both married couples and those that intend to be in the future.
194 of 210 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Changing!!! 27 Feb 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Let me start by saying I am not a self-help book devotee. That said, this book has revolutionized my relationship with my husband and taken it to a new level. BUT... I recommend this book for only those seriously committed to REALLY wanting an honest, soul-fully deep relationship. This is not a quick fix book full of easy answers. If you are looking for a book to tell you how to fix your partner or get them to be what you want them to be, don't buy this book.
To make the concepts in Getting The Love You Want work, it takes a tremendous amount of gut wrenchingly honest introsepction, humility, willingness to do things completely differently, and total selflessness. It's hard work.
But if you do what this book suggests, your life will be forever changed ... in all your relationships. This book has changed my life and enriched it beyond belief. I read the book - my husband didn't. Although he was not a proactive participant in the process, his life has been equally impacted and we are getting all we ever hoped for from each other.
81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 Years Later 9 Aug 2010
By LEE OKELLEY - Published on
Two decades ago, while I was enduring the aftermath of a divorce, an acquaintance "tricked" me into reading this book. (That's an interesting story, but for another time.)

I had heard it said that unless we understand why we married our first spouse, we were almost certainly doomed to remarry the "same person". That I did NOT want to do. So, in order to avoid that dreadful prospect, I began reading this book.

At first I was appalled at Hendrix's explanation of why I had chosen my first wife. In fact, I was so offended (and frightened) by what he said, that I almost threw away the book. However, I was just desperate enough to keep reading. And, I am certainly thankful I did. By the end of the book, I was convinced Hendrix was absolutely right in his explanation of love (as a mental process) and why we choose whom we choose.

Twenty years later, I can testify that I am still indebted to this book. It has helped me avoid a number of HORRIBLE mistakes that I was initially inclined to make.

I would also advise anyone who will listen to read this book. Read it as if you're a single person, even if you're married. Read it if you want to understand why you make the decisions you make. Read it if you want to avoid multiple failures in relationships and all sorts of life-changing decisions.

As Solomon wrote: "The mind of the wise seeks knowledge. But the mouth of the fool feeds on folly." (Proverbs 15.14) This book might just be the first meal of wisdom you need.
85 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This books actively helps you restore relationships. 30 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on
The wonderful thing about Hendrix's book is that it is designed to help you restore your relationship not just understand how it fell apart.
We marry often by chance or peer pressure and live to wonder how "we got into this."
Hendrix shows us how to meet our own legitimate needs and understand how to meet our partners'.
In the end we cannot badger our partner into changing or loving us.
It is us who must change and in doing so we change the conduct of our partner.
We need to understand both, but work on ourselves.
Any one who feels stress in any relationship should read and understand the "imago" and our limbic brains use of it.
As Tina Turner says, "Whats love got to do with it,...its just a second hand emotion"
Well she half right. Visceral love has a lot to do with who we married, but mature love has as much to do with staying married.
Dr Hendrix is terrific.
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