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Reconcilable Differences, First Edition

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This practical guide offers new solutions for couples frustrated by continual attempts to make each other change. In their decades of clinical practice and research in the field of couple therapy, Drs. Andrew Christensen and Neil S. Jacobson developed a therapeutic approach for couples based on one simple truth: no matter how much two people love each other, their differences will eventually cause conflict. But this reality does not have to get in the way of healthy, happy, and long-lasting romance. In fact, ...
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Overview

This practical guide offers new solutions for couples frustrated by continual attempts to make each other change. In their decades of clinical practice and research in the field of couple therapy, Drs. Andrew Christensen and Neil S. Jacobson developed a therapeutic approach for couples based on one simple truth: no matter how much two people love each other, their differences will eventually cause conflict. But this reality does not have to get in the way of healthy, happy, and long-lasting romance. In fact, learning to accept your differences in an atmosphere of empathy and understanding not only can help you recover from arguments more quickly--it also can lead to greater intimacy in your relationship.

Every couple has arguments, but what happens when recurring battles begin to feel like full-scale war? Do you retreat in hurt and angry silence, hoping that a spouse who "just doesn't get it" will eventually see things your way? Spend the time between skirmishes gathering evidence that you're right? Demand some immediate changes:or else? Whether due to innate personality traits or emotional vulnerabilities, there are some aspects of our behavior that are difficult to alter. But these differences do not have to get in the way of healthy, happy, and long-lasting romance. This practical guide offers new solutions for couples frustrated by continual attempts to make each other change. Aided by thought-provoking exercises and lots of real-life examples, readers will learn why they keep having the same fights again and again; how to keep small incompatibilities from causing big problems; and how true acceptance can restore health to their relationships.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Developers of Integrative Couple Therapy offer solutions for couples frustrated by continual attempts to make each other change, centering on accepting differences, and cultivating compassion and respect. They dissect typical relationship conflicts, and give examples of ways to acknowledge each other's emotional vulnerabilities and personality differences. For general readers. Christensen is a professor of psychology at UCLA. Jacobson was a professor of psychology at the University of Washington. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"Finally, a tested and therapeutic technique to help couples help themselves. It is straightforward, fair to both men and women, and each chapter is practical and wise. This is a book that couples can use together. It is easy to follow and not overwhelming. Most of all, this book will help couples in crisis to see each other's humanity and to find a way to understanding and acceptance and yes, change."--Pepper Schwartz, PhD, author of Love Between Equals

"This book speaks directly to the heart. Couples in conflict will recognize themselves in these pages and this reflection will gain their trust. The authors have written this book sensitively, with great clinical wisdom. Readers will learn how to heal their relationships and create the intimacy they want." --John Gottman, PhD, University of Washington, author of Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

"This well-researched and well-written book is exactly what quarreling couples need to extricate themselves from tangles of blame and accusation. It is not just a pep talk, but a practical, hands-on guide for all couples with conflicts--which is to say, all couples." --Carol Tavris, PhD, author of Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

"This is an insightful and inspiring analysis of the kinds of conflicts couples experience, and how they may change and experience greater intimacy. Eschewing easy answers and simple-minded solutions, the book tackles the complexities of intimate conflict in ways that clarify the contradictions and ironies that lovers confront. Based on their groundbreaking approach to couple therapy and their extensive research on marriage, Christensen and Jacobson offer couples sophisticated and powerful tools for reconciling their differences." --Elizabeth Loftus, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, President, American Psychological Society

"One virtue of the book is its utter realism....Offers a slew of tools that couples can use to reconcile their differences without the help of a therapist." --Jane Brody, New York Times

"Packed with data, wisdom, and common sense." --Polly Drew, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572302617
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/6/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 332
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author


Andrew Christensen, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, examines the effects of couple therapy. He has published widely on couple conflict and therapy.

Neil S. Jacobson, PhD, was Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington until his death in 1999. The author or editor of numerous publications, Dr. Jacobson was one of the world's most widely cited family therapists.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface xiii
Chapter 1. Three Sides to Every Story 1
Part I. The Anatomy of an Argument
Chapter 2. "You're Wrong!": Relationship Problems as Faults 17
Chapter 3. "How Can You Be That Way?": Relationship Problems as Incompatibilities 32
Chapter 4. "Can I Give to You Without Losing Me?": Incompatibilities over Love and Power 48
Chapter 5. "I Do but I Don't": Confusing Incompatibilities 63
Chapter 6. "You Know How to Hurt Me": Relationship Problems as Vulnerabilities 76
Chapter 7. A Cure Worse Than the Disease: Relationship Problems as Solutions 98
Part II. From Argument to Acceptance
Chapter 8. The Delicate Balance: Acceptance and Change 123
Chapter 9. A Story of Our Own: Acceptance through Understanding 140
Chapter 10. Walking in Your Partner's Shoes: Acceptance through Compassion 156
Chapter 11. Getting Some Perspective on the Conflict: Acceptance through Tolerant Distance 175
Part III. Deliberate Change through Acceptance
Chapter 12. The Dilemmas of Deliberate Change 193
Chapter 13. How Good Advice Can Be Bad for Your Relationship: Accepting the Foibles of Rules 212
Chapter 14. Why a New Approach Can Lead to the Same Old Thing: Using Your Own Story to Make Genuine Change 233
Chapter 15. Lost Battles Can Win the War: How Change and Intimacy Can Emerge from Defeat 249
Part IV. When Acceptance Is Not Enough
Chapter 16. "Don't Do That to Me!": Violence, Verbal Abuse, and Infidelity 273
Chapter 17. Call in the Professionals!: Couple and Individual Therapy 297
Appendix. Internet Resources 315
Bibliography 317
Index 321
About the Authors 333
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