Saturday, September 1, 2007

Review: Improve your Marriage!

I read this book, well, because I'm a marriage counselor and consider it my duty to know what's out there in terms of the latest self-help material. People often come in with half-baked attempts at fixing their relationship based on some book they read, or Dr. Phil show they watched, and I have to pick up the pieces! Having said that, I highly respect Pat Love, one of the authors of this book.

I don't know if there is a man on the face of the earth who would read this book. Seriously. Even though it is co-written with Steven Stosny, who is a therapist who focuses on men's issues; and even though it is actually quite male-friendly; I just can't see my husband highlighting passages and saying "hey honey! You've got to come read this paragraph!" You know what I mean?

The good news is that it's a pretty good book for women to read. I have several women clients who desperately need couples counseling, but whose husbands will not set foot in the therapy room. I share with them my firm belief that a relationship can be changed one person at a time, and this book would be a great guide to help get them there. It preaches many of the things that I am continually saying to my clients, mainly that you want to conduct your relationships according to your own personal integrity of the kind of partner you want to be, regardless of how the other person is acting.

The book is full of stereotypes. To be fair, they address this head on in the beginning. If you happen to be a woman who does not want to have long emotional conversations with your husband, or if you happen to be a man who does not withdraw when faced with conversation -- this book might not make sense to you. Largely, though, women are pursuing connection through conversation, and men are wanting to have less conversation, already. So the book is valuable, but might not apply to everyone. What I like about it, though, is that it teaches you how to be a better, more loving partner. Which, even if you are in a great relationship, certainly can never harm you!