Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

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The bestselling guide to transforming an intimate relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship, in an all new production of the revised and updated text—on CD for the first time

In Getting the Love You Want, Dr. Harville Hendrix presents the relationship skills that have already helped hundreds of thousands of couples to replace confrontation and criticism with a healing process of mutual growth and support. This extraordinarily practical guide describes the ...

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Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples (20th Anniversary Edition)

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The bestselling guide to transforming an intimate relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship, in an all new production of the revised and updated text—on CD for the first time

In Getting the Love You Want, Dr. Harville Hendrix presents the relationship skills that have already helped hundreds of thousands of couples to replace confrontation and criticism with a healing process of mutual growth and support. This extraordinarily practical guide describes the revolutionary technique of IMAGO Relationship Therapy, which combines a number of disciplines—including the behavioral sciences, depth psychology, cognitive therapy, and Gestalt therapy, among others—to create a program to resolve conflict and renew communication and passion.

Dr. Hendrix describes the three stages of intimate relationships, provides illustrative case studies and gives recommendations to help couples create a stronger bond between them. Step by step, he offers advice on how to communicate with greater accuracy and sensitivity, how to let go of self-defeating behaviors, and how to focus energy on meeting each partner’s needs.

With Getting the Love You Want, couples in any stage of a relationship can resolve their conflicts and achieve mutual emotional satisfaction.

Here is an extraordinary practical guide to resolving problems, using 16 exercises to enhance communication, stop self-defeating behavior, and achieve mutual emotional satisfaction. With Hendrix's advice, the all-too-common marital power struggle can be gradually transformed into a mutually beneficial process of spiritual and emotional growth.

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Editorial Reviews

Marion Solomon
Getting the Love You Want provides a road map for partners seeking a path to intimacy and passionate friendship.
Ann Roberts
. . . a remarkable book — the most incisive and persuasive I have ever read on the knotty problems of marriage relationships.
From the Publisher
“I know of no better guide for couples who genuinely desire a maturing relationship.”

—M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled

"Getting the Love You Want is a remarkable book—the most incisive and persuasive I have ever read on the knotty problems of marriage relationships."—Ann Roberts, Former President, Rockefeller Family Fund

"Harville Hendrix offers the best program I've seen for using the love/hate energy in marriage to help a couple heal one another and to become whole together."—T. George Harris, Editor-in-Chief, American Health magazine

"This book will help any couple find the love they want hidden under all the concealing confusion of a close and intimate relationship. I have seen these principles in application and they work!"—James A. Hall, M.D.

author of The Road Less Traveled M. Scott Peck

I know of no better guide for couples who genuinely desire a maturing relationship.
Ann Roberts

Getting the Love You Want is a remarkable book--the most incisive and persuasive I have ever read on the knotty problems of marriage relationships.
T. George Harris

Harville Hendrix offers the best program I've seen for using the love/hate energy in marriage to help a couple heal one another and to become whole together.
M.D. James A. Hall

This book will help any couple find the love they want hidden under all the concealing confusion of a close and intimate relationship. I have seen these principles in application and they work!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781427202406
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Publication date: 12/26/2007
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Edition number: 20
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 167,713
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 5.73 (h) x 1.56 (d)

Meet the Author

HARVILLE HENDRIX, PH.D., has more than 30 years' experience as an educator and therapist. He specializes in working with couples in private practice, teaching marital therapy to therapists, and conducting couples workshops across the country. Dr. Hendrix is the founder/director of the IMAGO Institute for Relationship Therapy. He lives in New Jersey and New Mexico.

Jack Garrett has narrated a number of audiobooks including Mary Jo Putney's The Burning Point, Ed Gorman's Shoot First, and Paulette Jiles's The Color of Lightning, which won an AudioFile magazine Earphones Award. Garrett also read Getting the Love You Want, 20th Anniversary Edition about which AudioFile magazine said, "Jack Garrett's vocal quality and nuanced dramatic skills are perfect for the emotional narrative as well as its prescriptive aspects. His genuine interpretation is steady enough to provide continuity and varied enough to keep listeners engaged throughout."

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Read an Excerpt

Getting the Love You Want, 20th An. Ed.

part ITHE UNCONSCIOUS PARTNERSHIP1THE MYSTERY OF ATTRACTIONThe type of human being we prefer reveals the contours of our heart.—ORTEGA Y GASSET 








WHEN COUPLES COME to me for relationship therapy, I usually ask them how they met. Maggie and Victor, a couple in their mid-fifties who were contemplating divorce after twenty-nine years of marriage, told me this story:"We met in graduate school," Maggie recalled. "We were renting rooms in a big house with a shared kitchen. I was cooking breakfast when I looked up and saw this man—Victor—walk into the room. I had the strangest reaction. My legs wanted to carry me to him, but my head was telling me to stay away. The feelings were so strong that I felt faint and had to sit down."Once Maggie recovered from shock, she introduced herself to Victor, and the two of them spent half the morning talking. "That was it," said Victor. "We were together every possible moment for the next two months, and then we eloped." "If those had been more sexually liberated times," added Maggie, "I'm sure we would have been lovers from that very first week. I've never felt so intensely about anyone in my entire life."Not all first encounters produce seismic shock waves. Rayna and Mark, a couple ten years younger, had a more tepid and prolonged courtship. They met through a mutual friend. Rayna asked a friend if she knew any single men, and her friend said she knew an interesting man named Mark who had recently separated from his wife. She hesitated to introduce him to Rayna, however, because she didn't think that they would be a good match. "He's very tall and you're short," the friend explained; "he's Protestant and you're Jewish; he's very quiet and you talk all the time." But Rayna said none of that mattered. "Besides," she said, "how bad could it be for one date?"Against her better judgment, the friend invited Rayna and Mark to an election-night party. "I liked Mark right away," Rayna recalled. "He was interesting in a quiet sort of way. We spent the whole evening talking in the kitchen." Rayna laughed and then added, "I suspect that I did most of the talking."Rayna was certain that Mark was equally attracted to her, and she expected to hear from him the next day. But three weeks went by, and she didn't hear a word. Eventually she prompted her friend to find out if Mark was interested in her. With the friend's urging, Mark invited Rayna to the movies. That was the beginning of their courtship, but it was never a torrid romance. "We dated for a while, then we stopped for a while," said Mark. "Then we started dating again. Finally, three years later, we got married." "By the way," added Rayna, "Mark and I are still married, and the friend who didn't want to introduce us is now divorced."Those contrasting stories raise some interesting questions. Why do some people fall in love with such intensity, seemingly at first glance? Why do some couples ease into a love relationship with a levelheaded friendship? And why, as in the case ofRayna and Mark, do so many couples seem to have opposite personality traits? When we have the answers to these questions, we will also have our first clues to the hidden psychological desires that underlie intimate love relationships.UNRAVELING THE MYSTERY OF ROMANTIC ATTRACTIONIN RECENT YEARS, scientists from various disciplines have labored to deepen our understanding of romantic love, and valuable insights have come from each area of research. Some biologists contend that there is a certain "bio-logic" to courtship behavior. According to this broad, evolutionary view of love, we instinctively select mates who will enhance the survival of the species. Men are drawn to classically beautiful women—ones with clear skin, bright eyes, shiny hair, good bone structure, red lips, and rosy cheeks—not because of fad or fashion but because these qualities indicate youth and robust health, signs that a woman is in the peak of her childbearing years.Women select mates for slightly different biological reasons. Because youth and physical health aren't essential to the male reproductive role, women instinctively favor mates with pronounced "alpha" qualities, the ability to dominate other males and bring home more than their share of the kill. The assumption is that male dominance ensures the survival of the family group more than youth or beauty. Thus a fifty-year-old chairman of the board—the human equivalent of the silver-backed male gorilla—is as attractive to women as a young, handsome, virile, but less successful male.If we can put aside, for a moment, our indignity at having our attractiveness to the opposite sex reduced to our breeding and food/money-gathering potential, there is some validity to this theory. Whether we like it or not, a woman's youth and physical appearance and a man's power and social status doplay a role in mate selection, as a quick scan of the personal messages in the classified ads will attest: "Successful forty-five-year-old S.W.M. with private jet desires attractive, slim, twenty-year-old S.W.F.," and so on. But even though biological factors play a key role in our amorous advances, there's got to be more to love than this.Let's move on to another field of study, social psychology, and explore what is known as the "exchange" theory of mate selection.1 The basic idea of the exchange theory is that we select mates who are more or less our equals. When we are on a search-and-find mission for a partner, we size each other up as coolly as business executives contemplating a merger, noting each other's physical appeal, financial status, and social rank, as well as various personality traits such as kindness, creativity, and a sense of humor. With computer-like speed, we tally up each other's scores, and if the numbers are roughly equivalent, the trading bell rings and the bidding begins.The exchange theory gives us a more comprehensive view of mate selection than the simple biological model. It's not just youth, beauty, and social rank that interests us, say the social psychologists, but the whole person. For example, the fact that a woman is past her prime or that a man has a low-status job can be offset by the fact that he or she is a charming, intelligent, compassionate person.A third idea, the "persona" theory, adds yet another dimension to the phenomenon of romantic attraction.2 The persona theory maintains that an important factor in mate selection is the way a potential suitor enhances our self-esteem. Each of us has a mask, a persona, which is the face that we show to other people. The persona theory suggests that we select a mate who will enhance this self-image. The operative question here is: "What will it do to my sense of self if I am seen with this person?" There appears to be some validity to this theory. We have all experienced some pride and perhaps some embarrassmentbecause of the way we believe our mates are perceived by others; it does indeed matter to us what others think.Although these three theories help explain some aspects of romantic love, we are still left with our original questions. What accounts for the intensity of romantic love—as in the case of Maggie and Victor—those feelings of ecstasy that can be so overpowering? And why—as in the case of Rayna and Mark—do so many couples have complementary traits? In fact, the more deeply we look at the phenomenon of romantic attraction, the more incomplete these theories appear to be. For example, what accounts for the emotional devastation that frequently accompanies the breakup of a relationship, that deadly undertow of feelings that can drown us in anxiety and self-pity? One client said to me as his girlfriend was leaving him: "I can't sleep or eat. My chest feels like it's going to explode. I cry all the time, and I don't know what to do." The theories of attraction we've looked at so far suggest that a more appropriate response to a failed romance would be simply to plunge into another round of mate selection.There is another puzzling aspect of romantic attraction: we seem to have much more discriminating tastes than any of these theories would indicate. To see what I mean, take a moment to reflect on your own dating history. In your lifetime you have met thousands of people; as a conservative estimate, let's suppose that several hundred of them were physically attractive enough or successful enough to catch your eye. When we narrow this field by applying the social-exchange theory, we might come up with fifty or a hundred people out of this select group who would have a combined "point value" equal to or greater than yours. Logically, you should have fallen in love with scores of people. Yet most people have been deeply attracted to only a few individuals. In fact, when I counsel single people, I hear again and again that "there just aren't any good men (or women) out there!" The world is littered with their rejects.Furthermore—and this is a curious fact—those few individuals that people are attracted to tend to resemble one another quite closely. Take a moment and think about the personality traits of the people that you have seriously considered as mates. If you were to make a list of their predominate personality traits, you would discover a lot of similarities, including, surprisingly, their negative traits.From my vantage point as a relationship therapist, I see the unmistakable pattern in my clients' choice of relationship partners. One night, in a group-therapy session, I was listening to a man who was three months into his second marriage. When his first marriage broke up, he had vowed to the group that he would never be involved with a woman like his first wife. He thought she was mean, grasping, and selfish. Yet he confessed during the session that the day before he had "heard" the voice of his ex-wife coming from the lips of his new partner. With a sense of panic he realized that the two women had nearly identical personalities. It appears that each one of us is compulsively searching for a mate with a very particular set of positive and negative personality traits.PLUMBING THE DEPTHS OF THE UNCONSCIOUS MINDFOR THIS HIGH degree of selectivity to make any sense, we need to understand the role that the unconscious mind plays in mate selection. In the post-Freudian era, most people have become quite adept at rummaging around in the unconscious for explanations of daily events. We talk knowledgeably about "Freudian slips," analyze our dreams, and look for ways in which the unconscious might be influencing our daily behavior. Even so, most of us vastly underestimate the scope of the unconscious mind. There is an analogy that might give a better appreciation for its pervasive influence. In the daytime, we can'tsee the stars. We talk as if they "come out" at night, even though they are there all the time. We also underestimate the sheer number of stars. We look up at the sky, see a smattering of dim stars, and assume that's all there is. When we travel far away from city lights, we see a sky strewn with stars and are overwhelmed by the brilliance of the heavens. But it is only when we study astronomy that we learn the whole truth: the hundreds of thousands of stars that we see on a clear, moonless night in the country are only a fraction of the stars in the universe, and many of the points of light that we assume to be stars are in fact entire galaxies. So it is with the unconscious mind: the orderly, logical thoughts of our conscious mind are but a thin veil over the unconscious, which is active and functioning at all times.Let's take a brief look at the structure of the brain, that mysterious and complex organ with many different subdivisions. For simplicity's sake, I like to use neuroscientist Paul McLean's model and divide the brain into three concentric layers.3The brain stem, which is the inner and most primitive layer, is that part of the brain that oversees reproduction, self-preservation, and vital functions such as the circulation of blood, breathing, sleeping, and the contraction of muscles in response to external stimulation. Located at the base of the skull, this portion of the brain is sometimes referred to as the "reptilian brain," because all vertebrates from reptiles to mammals share this portion of the anatomy. For the purpose of this discussion, let's think of the brain stem as the source of physical action.Flaring like a wishbone around the top of the brain stem is the portion of the brain called the limbic system, whose function seems to be the generation of vivid emotions. Scientists can surgically stimulate the limbic system of laboratory animals and create spontaneous outbursts of fear and aggression. In this book I use the term "old brain" to refer to the portion of the brain that includes both the brain stem and the limbic system. Think of the old brain as being hard-wired and determining most of your automatic reactions.The final area of the brain is the cerebral cortex, a large, convoluted mass of brain tissue that surrounds the two inner sections and is itself divided into four regions or lobes. This portion of the brain, which is most highly developed in Homo sapiens, is the site of most of our cognitive functions. I refer to the cerebral cortex as the "new brain" because it appeared most recently in evolutionary history. Your new brain is the part of you that is conscious, alert, and in contact with your daily surroundings. It's the part of you that makes decisions, thinks, observes, plans, anticipates, responds, organizes information, and creates ideas. The new brain is inherently logical and tries to find a cause for every effect and an effect for every cause. To a degree, it can moderate some of the instinctual reactions of your old brain.4 By and large, this analytical, probing, questioning part of your mind is the part that you think of as being "you."OLD-BRAIN LOGICIN SHARP CONTRAST to the new brain, you are unaware of most of the functions of your old brain. Trying to comprehend this part of your being is a maddening task, because you have to turn your conscious mind around to examine its own underbelly. Scientists who have subjected the old brain to this kind of scrutiny tell us that its main concern is self-preservation. Ever on the alert, the old brain constantly asks the primeval question: "Is it safe?"As it goes about its job of ensuring your safety, your old brain operates in a fundamentally different manner from your new brain. One of the crucial differences is that the old brain appears to have only a hazy awareness of the external world. Unlike the new brain, which relies on direct perception of outside phenomena, the old brain derives its incoming data from the images, symbols, and thoughts produced by the new brain.This reduces its data to very broad categories. For example, while your new brain easily distinguishes John from Suzy from Margaret, your old brain summarily lumps these people into six basic categories. The only thing your old brain seems to care about is whether a particular person is someone to: (1) nurture, (2) be nurtured by, (3) have sex with, (4) run away from, (5) submit to, or (6) attack.5 Subtleties such as "this is my neighbor," "my cousin," "my mother," or "my wife" slide right on by.The old brain and the new brain, different in so many ways, are constantly exchanging and interpreting information. Here is how this takes place. Let's suppose that you are alone in your house, and all of a sudden, person A walks through the door. Your new brain automatically creates an image of this creature and sends it to your old brain for scrutiny. The old brain receives the image and compares it with other, stored images. Instantly there is a first observation: "This humanoid is not a stranger." Apparently encounters with this creature have been recorded before. A millisecond later there is a second observation: "There are no dangerous episodes associated with this image." Out of all the interactions you have had with this mystery guest, none of them has been life-threatening. Then, rapidly, a third observation: "There have been numerous pleasurable episodes associated with this image." In fact, the records seem to suggest that A is someone who is nurturing. Having reached this conclusion, the limbic system sends an all-clear signal to the reptilian brain, and you find yourself walking toward the intruder with open arms. Operating out of your new brain, you say, "Aunt Mary! What a pleasure to see you!"All of this has taken place outside your awareness in only a fraction of a second. To your conscious mind, all that has happened is that your beloved Aunt Mary has walked in the door. Meanwhile, as you visit with your aunt, the data-gathering process continues. This latest encounter produces more thoughts, emotions, and images, which are sent to the limbic system to bestored in the part of the brain reserved for Aunt Mary. These new data will be a part of the information scanned by the old brain the next time she comes to visit.Let's look at a slightly different situation. Let's suppose that the person who walked in the door was not Aunt Mary but her sister, Aunt Carol, and instead of greeting her with open arms, you found yourself resenting the interruption. Why such a different reaction to these two sisters? Let's pretend that when you were eighteen months old you spent a week with Aunt Carol while your mother was in the hospital having another baby. Your parents, trying to prepare you in advance for this visit, explained to you that "Mommy is going bye-bye to the hospital to bring home a little brother or sister." The words "hospital," "brother," and "sister" had no meaning to you, but "Mommy" and "bye-bye" certainly did. Whenever they mentioned those two words together, you felt anxious and sucked your thumb. Weeks later, when your mother went into labor, you were lifted out of your crib in a sound sleep and transported to Aunt Carol's house. You woke up alone in a strange room, and the person who came to you when you cried was not your mother or father but Aunt Carol.You dwelled in anxiety for the next few days. Even though Aunt Carol was loving and kind to you, you felt abandoned. This primal fear became associated with your aunt, and for years the sight of her or the smell of her perfume sent you running from the room. In later years you had many pleasurable or neutral experiences with Aunt Carol; nonetheless, thirty years later, when she walks into the room, you feel the urge to run away. It is only with great discipline that you rise to greet her.NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENTTHIS STORY ILLUSTRATES an important principle about the old brain: it has no sense of linear time. Today, tomorrow, andyesterday do not exist; everything that was, still is. Understanding this basic fact about the nature of your unconscious may help explain why you sometimes have feelings within your relationship that seem alarmingly out of proportion to the events that triggered them. For example, imagine that you are a thirty-five-year-old woman, a lawyer in a prestigious firm. One day you are sitting in your office thinking warm, loving thoughts about your husband and decide to call him. You dial his number, and his secretary informs you that he is out of the office and can't be reached. Suddenly your loving thoughts vanish, and you feel a surge of anxiety: where is he? Your rational mind knows that he's probably calling on a client or enjoying a late lunch, but another part of you feels—let's be honest—abandoned. There you are, a sophisticated, capable woman, and just because your husband isn't available you feel as vulnerable as you did when your mother left you all day with an unfamiliar babysitter. Your old brain is locked in an archaic perspective.Or let's suppose that you are a middle-aged man, a middle manager in a large company. After a hectic day at work, where you manage to placate important clients and put the finishing touches on a multimillion-dollar budget, you drive home, eager to share your successes with your partner. When you walk in the door, you see a note from your partner saying that she will be late coming home from work. You stop dead in your tracks. You had counted on her being there! Do you recover from the disappointment and relish the time to yourself? Do you use the time to do a final check on the budget? Yes. But not before you head straight for the freezer and consume two bowlfuls of bland, sweet vanilla ice cream, as close a substitute for mother's milk as you can possibly find. The past and the present live side by side within your mind.Now that we've spent some time pondering the nature of the unconscious mind, let's return to our original discussion of mate selection. How does this information about the old brainadd to our understanding of romantic attraction? The curious phenomenon I noted earlier in this exploration was that we seem to be highly selective in our choice of mates. In fact, we appear to be searching for a "one and only" with a very specific set of positive and negative traits.What we are doing, I have discovered from years of theoretical research and clinical observation, is looking for someone who has the predominant character traits of the people who raised us. Our old brain, trapped in the eternal now and having only a dim awareness of the outside world, is trying to re-create the environment of childhood. And the reason the old brain is trying to resurrect the past is not a matter of habit or blind compulsion but of a compelling need to heal old childhood wounds.The ultimate reason you fell in love with your mate, I am suggesting, is not that your mate was young and beautiful, had an impressive job, had a "point value" equal to yours, or had a kind disposition. You fell in love because your old brain had your partner confused with your parents! Your old brain believed that it had finally found the ideal candidate to make up for the psychological and emotional damage you experienced in childhood.Copyright © 1988, 2008 by Harville Hendrix

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Customer Reviews

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( 61 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Worth a Good Look

    I looked at this book from a different perspective than most readers. I didn't read it as a person in need of relationship advice. Rather, I read it as a person who has been happily married for 22 years. My question was, how closely did the advice in this book match what I was doing successfully? <BR/><BR/>A bestseller since 1988, the book is separated into 3 sections: <BR/><BR/>-the first part talks about how unmet childhood needs can affect your future relationships. <BR/><BR/>-the second part talks about a marriage that can fulfil your unmet childhood needs in constructive ways. <BR/><BR/>-lastly, part three is the exercises. Here you'll be taken through a series of exercises that you can do at home that have been actually used in the author's practice. They're easy to do and involve writing. <BR/><BR/>Well, that's a rough synopsis that should give you a little bit of a feel as to how the book is set up- and what its about. <BR/><BR/>So how closely did the advice in this book match what I have been doing all this time to create a successful 22-year marriage? Perfectly- both the book and I promote the idea that you have to work at your marriage to make it work! <BR/><BR/>And perhaps that's the best piece of advice of all: find constructive ways to make you marriage better- and that's one thing this book most certainly succeeds at.

    18 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 10, 2011

    do NOT recommend NOOK version

    there is a error in the NOOK version and 10-13 words or less are shown per page. This is apparently a publisher's error and B&N customer service cannot fix it. This book is impossible to read on the NOOK version.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2006

    An enduring resource for any relationship

    I recently renewed my acquaintance with a book that¿s had a significant influence on my life--Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, the classic relationship handbook by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. This book remains an essential addition to the library of couples who want to create loving, fulfilling, joyful and enduring relationships. The exercises in Part III of the book are themselves invaluable and can empower willing couples to deal with the challenges that arise in every relationship and, perhaps, eliminate repeated visits to the marriage counselor. First published in 1988, I first came upon this book in the early 1990s. My second marriage had just gone down the tubes, and I was struggling to understand why. How could my former wife have left me when just a few short years ago, she was so totally in love with me? It was not until I read Getting the Love You Want, that I realized I was relying on her to take care of me, to somehow make me whole, responsibilities she had not signed up for, needs that were impossible for her to satisfy. So I began a process of deep introspection: How did I help create the breakdown of my relationship and, ultimately, how I could go about initiating a more conscious relationship the next time around? A few years later, a number of Harville¿s exercises included in Part III of Getting the Love You Want played a significant role in forming the foundation for my romantic partnership with the woman who I would later marry, including: (1) Creating a joint vision for the relationship--Being clear about what each of us envisioned for our relationship (2) Mirroring--Learning to really hear what my partner is saying and letting her know I have done so and (3) Re-romanticizing--Sharing specific information with one another about what pleases me, what pleases her and agreeing to perform those acts of pleasure regularly. Today as I was re-examining Getting the Love You Want to write this review, I came upon the final exercise in the book--Visualization of Love. I instinctively began following the instructions--visualizing Shonnie as a whole spiritual being, who like all of us, has been wounded. And I imagined that the love I was sending her at that moment was healing her wounds. Finally I imagined the love I¿d sent her coming back to me and healing my wounds. Afterwards I sat for a few moments in quiet gratitude--for my life, for Shonnie, for Harville and for the wisdom that he so readily shares with us.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    This Book Will Take Your Relationship to Another Level

    I bought this book at the recommemdation of my marriage counselor. At the time, my wife and I could barely stand to be in the same room, let alone function in a relationship. Divorce was imminent. Having not had much luck with relationship self-help books, my hopes were not too high. By the time I was 100 pages in, things were already starting to get better. My view of my wife and our relationship completely changed. The methods described in this book, which center around the concept of thinking about what you're not putting into a relationship instead of dwelling on what you feel you aren't getting out of it, made an instant impact. Also, some of the principals taught in this book can be cross-applied other relationships beside marriage. I highly recommend it to any couple in pain and contemplating divorce. I have been enthusiastically recommending it to all my friends. If your marriage or relationship seems irretrievable or like a lonely, miserable death march to the grave, read this book before you make any permanent decisions.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

    Insightful, page-turner

    I love this book. My first inclination was to give copies to my boyfriend, mother, friend- anyone in a relationship. It gives me new hope that relationships do not have to end in frustration. I felt like the authors were writing about me- it was very insightful and deep. I couldn't put it down. The exercises are very difficult at times, but well worth the effort.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This book helped save our relationship.

    This book helped open our eyes to why we chose each other and the problems inherent in our relationship. Once we obtained an understanding of how our actions make our partner feel, we were better prepared to start working things out in our relationship. We have also purchased the workbook that goes with this book so that we can better follow the step-by-step process of learning and listening to one another. We are very excited about this process and for the first time, are looking forward to living a passionate friendship together with the right tools!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

    I purchased the first edition back in the late `80's I believe. At that time I personally found the information innovative. The fact that Dr. Hendrix and his wife, who has been honored for her work in helping women, have personally proven that the contents of the book work. Plus, they are now teaching what they have learned together, to qualified therapists. I purchased "Getting the Love You Want" as a gift this time. As always, it's up to the individual/ couple to take what they've learned and use it in a positive way.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2006


    The book is an easy and enjoyable read. I gleaned great number of pearls of wisdom and revealing insights about my marriage, myself and the reasons I do those things that make my spouse irritated. The author presents 16 exercises, which you can do together with your spouse to work on your relationship. They are interesting and practical, blended in a very readable format. Keep in mind however that this is not a quick fix book full of easy answers. In it, Dr. Hendrix introduces the imago model, which he developed as a tool for understanding relationship problems. His approach is quite interesting to read as you will discover the 'roots' of some of your marriage problems and will gain greater insight. I found this book valuable and directly applicable to my life. It gives you the tools to understand yourself as well as your partner. From that, you can start resolving long standing problems. It really helps you to get below the surface problems and deal with underlying issues. Near the end you are presented with two couples where everything you have learned is applied to show how situations can go from bad to blissful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2004

    Thought Provoking

    Great book. Definitely makes you look deeper into your relationship, while finding and maintaining balance. The exercises stimulate conversation and open communication between you and your partner.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2002

    The only way out is through

    This book saved my marriage and made it everything I wanted my marriage to be. It helped me understand why we were always fighting....always on each other last nerve...and why our fights emotionally hurt so deeply. If you are really interested in a lasting relationship with your partner, this book can make it possible. But you and your partner have to BOTH be willing to read the book and follow it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2014

    Love the book.

    Now, because of this book, my girlfriend loves me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Not very helpful

    The whole premise is based on childhood memories. Whatever happened to character building in ones personal life? Whatever happened to transformation of life in Jesus Christ?

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2011

    Incredible book and a must read

    Don't bother reading my review just get the book...

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Getting The Love You Want, A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix

    This is an excellent resource to help untangle the issues that confuse us about relationships and the choices we make or have made. It offers a different and insightful new approach to healing a relationship than what has typically been offered in the past (at least what I've read). It's exciting in that help seems hopeful and possible if two people are willing to do the work and are committed to the relationship and the process. I highly recommend this book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2006

    Good exercises to stretch in a relationship

    The author believes that we attract people who are perfect for our personal evolution. All the trying aspects are an opportunity to resolve what we have disowned in ourselves. A good book that depends on the partner to cooperate.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2005

    Three phases I've been through

    The three phases talked about in this book are what I have gone through in my marriage. Insightful observations are the rule herein. You can't go wrong with this book and another like it, 'How to Date Your Wife' by Stan Cronin. You will be happy to own both.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2004

    Love's Mysteries Revealed

    Why are we attracted to the people we are attracted to? Why does it so rarely work out? What happened to us as children to make us the way we are? What we need is a dynamic healing relationship and here are the directions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2003

    An Interesting Concept

    This book offers tangible help in trying to develop a strong relationship with your partner. The exercises were interesting as long as both people involved participated. As a companion to this book, I used I Need You: The Ultimate Relationship Guide by Sheryl L. Draschil to simply the process and expand on the communication process.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2003

    Innacurate, misleading and immatuure approach

    The 'mirroring' techniques and such in this book, to my mind, are based on pandering to each partner's insecurities, rather than their individual (and thus mutual) growing up and maturation into full love. I nearly got divorced following the suggestions here, and buying into its whole general outlook. I cannot recommend highly enough the far more tough-minded and real-world PASSIONATE MARRIAGE by Dr. David Schnarch. Thank God my husband and I found it! Now THAT'S a book that'll rock your world and help you shift your entire way of thinking, and open out into truly grown-up, loving, hot relationship --- the kind that eschews the psuedo-guarantees that Hendrix and his ilk support but life refuses to deliver. And you can do this without the assent of your partner --- no kidding! A pity that Oprah plugged this inferior book, which enshrines dysfunction rather than health (including the natural, if at times painful, processes of intimate committed relationships.) .

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2002

    Awesome & Eye Opening

    Oh, my goodness! Dr. Hendrix simply nailed everything I did wrong leading up to my divorce. Love is complicated! Biologically driven urges for classical beauty & "alpha" males, to "exchanges" of point values based on physical appeal, social & economic status, etc., to "persona" driven urges to enhance our self-esteem, to unconscious complusions to select mates that include both the positive AND NEGATIVE qualities of our parents and/or to recover our original wholeness and "lost self." YIKES! No wonder as few as 5% of us have deeply satisfying relationships and over 50% end up getting divorced. Better read this one if you want to improve your odds!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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