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4.3 out of 5 stars23
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 7 December 2006
Susan Quilliam's book is vital to any couple who are, deep down, willing to work hard at saving their relationship. Quite rightly, there is no attempt by the author to mask the fact that there will be blood sweat and tears involved. Of course, sometimes a relationship can't be saved (while also it can be 'saved' for the wrong reasons), but where this book is the most effective is in its no-nonsense approach to breaching that chasm between the crisis and the deeper commitment of the title.

In co-operation with Relate, the invaluable family-orientated counselling organisation, Quilliam tackles a comprehensive number of possible crises experienced by couples and, most crucially of all, suggests a variety of possible reasons for the painful situation. Admittedly, many of the real reasons for a crisis (childhood trauma, deep-seated and mostly unconscious models of behaviour learned in early years) would be hard to uncover, analyse and resolve witout the aid of a trained counsellor and a long amount of time, but the book does offer some tips for couples to do their own therapy - whether it be taking time to talk, spending quality time together, or thinking about their personal needs. These tips are provided in the form of short quizes for both partners, exercises, tasks and surveys.

The book is peppered with fascinating and often moving accounts of genuine couples who have visited Relate counsellors. These are not only interesting from a psychologically insightful point of view, but also they may be of aid to readers who will spot certain familiar patterns of behaviour within these case studies, and therefore possible reasons for the behaviour, and ways to resolve it.

The book tackles sexual problems, communication issues and ways to assess and maintain a working relationship. However, what is paramount to remember once the book is read is the potential dangers (astutely pointed out by the author herself) of playing amateur-psychologist when trying to 'counsel' your own self or a partner. Such enterprises can genuinely do more harm than good. I would therefore suggest that this book be used in conjunction with couple or individual counselling, not as a substitute for it.

Used well, this book is a well-written and practical aid to rebuilding a relationship worth rebuilding.
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on 23 April 2001
A good barometer to how your relationship is going is to look at how your love life is now compared to when you first met? Acknowledging any relationship problem is the biggest step. This book will help you to look at problems and take stock of them. If you are committed to trying to make your relationship work this book will help by looking at the past to identify roots of problems and then gives good advice on how to handle change and how to communicate with your partner for both now and the future. I found this book to be a great reference and guide at a difficult time, however some of the exercises are based on you communicating reasonably well with your partner, you may be better to do these under the saftey net of counselling.
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on 21 April 2008
This is a helpful and practical guide for couples in crisis, which, as Quilliam herself points out, is most likely ot be helpful in conjunction with, not instead of, Relate counselling.

The book moves through four clear sections from the initial recognition of problems, to an understanding of their causes, through a phase of change, to eventually maintaining the progress you have made in the relationship for the years to come.

Case histories of real couples, tasks, talking points and quizzes help you to practically implement the book's advice in your relationship as you go along. This book may be really useful both for individuals in a troubled relationship or for couples working together, as it explores past influences from life before the relationship, whihc may be affecting what is going on without you even realising it. In addition, most of the exercises are set out in order to be accessible either to individuals or to couples doing them together. In this regard the book is very flexible and user friendly - it does not just apply to one specific type of reader.

A particularly useful aspect of this book is Quilliam's insight into the flawed reality of everyday life. She frequently mentions reasons why particular exercises might not be useful at a certain time, and points out moments when doubts may start to creep back into the relationship even after a period of progress, so the book doesn't feel like a preachy manual and you don't feel like a failure if something doesn't work or you slip back a few chapters. Most helpfully in this vein, it offers a superb final section on how to maintain your improved relationship once you have successfully worked through your problems, including tips on how to cope with setbacks and life changes, so that unlike some relationship books which feel like sticking plasters, only temporarily concealing problems and not healing them, the lifeline continues long after the book has been read.
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on 11 June 2014
Excellent book with some great plans and ideas. Sadly it didn't work for me but that was definitely not due to a lack of trying lots of different things... :-(
It doesn't really deal with trying to make something work when only one partner is willing to make an effort.
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on 2 March 2014
We found the tasks in this book useful as they made us evaluate our relationship. However, I found the writing very irritating as the grammar is terrible, punctuation poor and words/letters missed out. I've never read a published text with so many mistakes. It's also a marketing tool for Relate counselling & repeatedly sings the praises of counsellors.
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on 29 November 2013
Easy to read and full of great, common-sense advice for building a stronger relationship. Would highly recommend it to anyone!
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on 21 October 2012
Really easy to read and helped clarify why we act as we do to certain situations within a relationship. Delivery was very fast and the book was in good condition
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on 31 October 2013
Good little pocket sized book. I am a couples counsellor and will enjoy using it in session - will recommend it to clients.
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on 8 January 2012
It might be because this is the first relationship guide book I have read, but I found it a really good eye opener in to relationships, so if you and your partner are having trouble, get this book before (like me) they are not around to communicate the findings in this book. It will open your views to why your acting like this and what your partner might be fearing/feeling. It does cover loads of relationship aspects, which might not relate to your problems, I just highlighted the areas which I found helpfull.
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on 6 October 2013
really helpful what more can I say Amazon wants me to write more but it is a personal thing - but all the Relate guides are excellent
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