Top positive review
61 people found this helpful
fighting to stay together
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.