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Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage [NOOK Book]


Applying the methods and ideas espoused in his popular book Choice Theory, world-renowned psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. William Glasser, along with his wife, Carleen, offers a practical guide to an enduring, satisfying, successful marriage. Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage showcases eight real-life histories of troubled couples and presents simple, practical solutions to overcoming the pitfalls illustrated therein. Keeping love alive and strong is not as difficult as you think; let the Glassers and...

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Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage

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Applying the methods and ideas espoused in his popular book Choice Theory, world-renowned psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. William Glasser, along with his wife, Carleen, offers a practical guide to an enduring, satisfying, successful marriage. Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage showcases eight real-life histories of troubled couples and presents simple, practical solutions to overcoming the pitfalls illustrated therein. Keeping love alive and strong is not as difficult as you think; let the Glassers and this indispensable book show you how!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Psychiatrist William Glasser, founder of an eponymous institute, and his wife, Carleen, who teaches relationship workshops there, follow earlier relationship books (Getting Together and Staying Together) by laying out the secrets to a happy marriage through what they refer to as choice theory, a simple enough, commonsense theory based on the premise that every action and reaction is a personal choice and can therefore be controlled. Many of the Glassers' tips are mere rehashings of what other books on the market already have to offer. The Glassers list the Seven Deadly Habits of marriage (criticism, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing and bribing) and recommend replacing them with positive habits like supporting and encouraging. Another concept the authors introduce is the "quality world," which is defined as "a feel good world created from our own most pleasurable feelings." It's necessary to know and negotiate around each other's quality worlds (he likes wine with dinner; she abhors it). At a mere 112 pages, this is a quick read, and the comics and case studies at the beginning of each chapter aid in illustrating the lessons in a way that makes them even easier to understand. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Psychiatrist Glasser (Reality Therapy in Action) resurrects his central tenets in this slim self-help volume cowritten with wife Carleen, his collaborator on similar books (e.g., Getting Together and Staying Together: Solving the Mystery of Marriage). Invoking his therapeutic mantra that we can only control our own behavior and not that of others, Glasser presents eight case histories of couples with marital troubles whom the Glassers have counseled and provides steps for executing the right choices to avoid similar difficulties. While these lessons are at times intuitively obvious, Glasser makes cogent observations that can be readily implemented. First, he advocates relinquishing attempts to exert external control, arguing that we should instead focus on choices geared toward changing ourselves. Also, he writes, acquainting ourselves with our partners' "quality world," or reality, will assist in improving our relationships. While these suggestions may aid those experiencing relationship problems, the book is no panacea. Like Thomas A. Harris's I'm OK-You're OKand Eric Berne's Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis, it is destined for transience. Recommended for large public libraries.
—Lynne Maxwell

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061741500
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 697,745
  • File size: 791 KB

Meet the Author

William Glasser, M.D., is a world-renowned psychiatrist who lectures widely. His numerous books have sold 1.7 million copies, and he has trained thousands of counselors in his Choice Theory and Reality Therapy approaches. He is also the president of the William Glasser Institute in Los Angeles.

Carleen Glasser, M.A., is a senior instructor at the William Glasser Institute and the author of two books for children.

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First Chapter

Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage

Chapter One

Lesson One

External Control Can Kill a Marriage

Now that you have read John and Meredith's stories we would like to teach you the first lesson of this book. While we can't guarantee success, if you both believe—despite a great many marital problems including infidelity or even an incident or two of abusive behavior—there is still some love left in your marriage, what we will teach you will help. But what we teach will take some effort on both your parts. Depending on the life you have been choosing to live, some partners will have a harder time with this material than others. Certainly, Meredith might have trouble with this information. Our advice is to be patient with yourself and with each other.

What you will actually learn is how to treat, not only each other, but all the important people in your life differently from the way almost all of you were treated as children. What will be difficult for many of you to learn is that, no matter how others treat you, we will teach both of you not to return their treatment in kind.

We see you as people who were happy together at the start of your marriage, like Meredith and John, but are now in a long-term unsatisfying relationship. Like most unhappy couples, you have both complained about your marriage and blamed each other for your unhappiness, but neither of you understands exactly what went wrong and you have no idea what to do about it. You have thought about separation or divorce, but for many reasons—children, money, family, religion, or fear of starting over by yourself—you have stayed together.You also may believe that the misery of staying together is preferable to the unknowns of separation.

After many years of teaching couples better ways to treat each other in their marriage, we have come to the following three conclusions which are the core beliefs of what we teach—regardless of how unhappy the couples are.

First: All the couples who come to seek our help are unhappy. But as miserable as you are, we do not believe there is anything wrong with either of your brains. An unhappy brain is perfectly capable of creating a huge range of psychological symptoms, such as depression, anger, anxiety, or pain, but neither of you needs psychiatric medication. In fact, if one or both of you are on psychiatric medication, its adverse effect on your brain may be part of your problem.

As a board-certified psychiatrist, I have never prescribed psychiatric medication for unhappiness, and I have no intention of starting now by recommending it to you. If you will keep this first core belief in mind—that you are unhappy but you are capable of learning how to be much happier with each other than you are now—we are on our way.

Second: When we are in an unhappy marriage, in almost all instances we blame our partner for our unhappiness. This blaming will actually increase your unhappiness. We will not talk about fault. The problem you have is neither new nor your fault. Like Meredith and John, it is how you choose to relate to each other in your marriage. It is essentially how all unhappy couples relate as they, like lemmings, travel down that slippery slope.

Third: Both partners are using a world psychology that we call external control. It is a world psychology because almost all human beings marry, and when they have difficulty with each other in the marriage, they all employ this psychology. The use of this psychology is by far the main source of marital unhappiness. It is also the main source of all human unhappiness, but in this book we will focus on you and your marriage.

We call this destructive psychology external control because using it, the husband (who is external to his wife) may try to control her, and the wife (who is external to her husband) may try to control him just as Meredith is trying to control John. The symptoms one or both of you suffer from—for example, depression, anxiety, anger, and fear—are caused by your unsuccessful attempt to control the other, your unsuccessful attempt to escape from the control of the other, or as in many instances both attempts going on at the same time.

Although external control is by far the main source of all marital unhappiness, we are almost certain that very few people in the world have any idea how damaging this psychology is to their relationship. Let us begin by explaining that a psychology is a very common way we relate to each other. There are many psychologies we employ when we are getting along well with each other, such as the caring and supporting psychology we call love. Or the caring and encouraging psychology that permeates the relationship between a teacher and a pupil immersed in successful learning.

External control is a psychology in which people who practice it always know what is right for other people. Because they know what is right, they feel obligated to try to coerce others to behave the way they want. This coercive psychology is so universally accepted that almost all married people in every culture on Earth use it as soon as the infatuation ends. That is when they start to try to control the other or escape from the other's control. The less successful they are, the more difficult the marriage gets and the more they use this psychology.

Even if the couple stays together, all the love and even friendship is soon drained from the marriage. Although millions of married people firmly believe in external control, it has no upside. It indiscriminately harms every marriage in which it is employed.

Later in this book we will explain why everybody uses external control, but here we want to alert you to what it is so that you can recognize it as you use it in your marriage. As we will also explain later, it is exclusively a human psychology; no other creature uses it.

Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage. Copyright © by William Glasser. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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