on 17 August 2013
To me it was down to earth, practical, written straight from the heart. It advocates a way of dealing with upsets in relationships( and this can apply to any relationship, not just in marriage) where we learn not to just react, but to calm down and tune into ourselves to find out what we really want in the situation and to communicate this calmly, lovingly, authentically, not needing the other person to change but simply expressing clearly ( without judgement) what we want. Runkel argues many of us live in safe relationships where we do anything not to rock the boat, but inside we are longing for greater connection. By allowing ourselves to be vulnerable enough to risk rocking the boat, with no guarantees, we keep ourselves and the relationship alive. But this need to be done mindfully in a calm, generous, mature way. This is what he teaches and gives many examples of how couples have applied the work. I immediately applied it to an issue in my marriage and it has had the most profound effect of bringing us closer. I admit my husband was willing to listen and really heard when I expressed how I felt. But it did take courage as I didnt know how he would react.
The practise of calming down and not immediately reacting is also one that needs a lot of work as I find it doesnt come easily, but the rewards are immense. Likewise to be willing to look deeply inside ourselves and identify what we really want, from our authentic self, not from our child self having a trantrum, is something that takes time and reflection. Ultimately though I agree with Runkel that we are all wanting connection in relationship and he offers an excellent starting point on this journey.
on 5 May 2016
Thank you for this help. All marriages need help, and this was one of the most helpful books on marriage that I've seen. we have been married 40 years, and we've had great ups and downs. We've read a number of books, and tried the "communication techniques" taught in many other well meaning advise to improve our communication and marriage. But this seems to make more sense on the emotional and psychological and intellectual level. And it encourages us to be our best self, so that our marriage can be it's best - not melding and becoming so intertwined that we lose who we really are individually, but being "for" each other. (I think the other review on this book that I read rated a 1 star accidentally - and meant a 5 - read their review - very positive.) We've sent this to our married kids in hopes that they might be able to avoid some of the hurtful ways couples communicate and deal with conflict. We're encouraged and are grateful for how it has helped us. I'd highly recommend this book. (And go to their "scream free" website for links to other helps and videos.)