Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner
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Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner

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by Phillip C. McGraw
     
 

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In his bestselling self-help bible, Life Strategies, high-profile psychologist Phil McGraw helped thousands of people break free from destructive habits and situations. Now he turns his attention to troubled relationships, providing a program of expert advice geared to reconnecting partners who are seriously committed to staying together. Filled with

Overview

In his bestselling self-help bible, Life Strategies, high-profile psychologist Phil McGraw helped thousands of people break free from destructive habits and situations. Now he turns his attention to troubled relationships, providing a program of expert advice geared to reconnecting partners who are seriously committed to staying together. Filled with questionnaires, checklists, and other diagnostic tools, this authoritative guide allows readers to pinpoint specific problems. McGraw then explodes ten of the most popular relationship myths about romance, problem-solving, and personality differences, replacing them with clear, action-oriented steps to help get partners back on the right track. He eschews the rhetoric of standard "couples therapy,'' stressing at every turn the importance of taking personal responsibility not only for yourself but for the state of your relationship. Finally he addresses such recurring problems as sex, fighting, and forgiveness and provides serious, hard-hitting advice on avoiding wrong thinking and dealing with real-life issues—even renegotiating the fundamental principles of the relationship.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Are you in a troubled relationship? Worried about the stability of your marriage or your future with your life partner? Have you considered counseling but forgone it for a lack of either time or money? Now you can get help for your floundering relationship and the next-best thing to your own personal counselor with Phillip McGraw’s self-help book Relationship Rescue.

At a time when the stability in relationships is at an all-time low and divorce rates still hang above the 50 percent mark, McGraw’s book is a welcome addition to the self-help market. Its intensive, hands-on approach makes it a standout from all the rest and may offer the best solution for many who are hoping to build (or resurrect) a meaningful and fulfilling relationship.

McGraw’s basic premise isn’t a revolutionary one. Like many before him, he preaches that the quality of a relationship depends on two things: the existence and strength of an underlying friendship and the degree to which the needs of both partners are met. It’s how McGraw goes about guiding the reader through the rescue process that makes this book stand apart from its competition -- a process that is not for sissies or for anyone who is less than fully committed to making his or her relationship work. The program McGraw advocates in Relationship Rescue isn’t geared toward figuring out why a relationship is broken but rather toward fixing it. And McGraw makes it clear up front that a serious commitment is required, for the process is neither easy nor comfortable.

An intriguing aspect of McGraw’s method is that it doesn’t require active involvement from the other partner in the relationship, though admittedly the whole process is more likely to succeed if both parties work together. Instead, McGraw puts the onus squarely on the reader’s shoulders, advocating a program of self-healing that will identify destructive behaviors, overcome damaging beliefs, and promote realistic goal setting for the relationship. The process involves an intensive program of self-analysis, brutal honesty, and accountability. McGraw directs readers to accept responsibility for their own happiness, to identify those obstacles that may be preventing it, and to take an aggressive and active approach toward achieving it. According to McGraw, fixing yourself will trigger changes in your partner’s behaviors and attitudes, changes that will ultimately salvage the relationship.

If this sounds like a monumental task, it is, but Relationship Rescue walks readers through the process one step at a time, providing the type of information, guidance, and “sessions” one might experience in a therapist’s office. The book contains guidelines to stimulate thought, questionnaires to help readers identify and deal with any emotional baggage they might be carrying, a provocative look at the types of behaviors that reflect one’s “dark side,” and even a scripted dialogue for when it’s time to approach the other partner. It’s an ongoing and lengthy process, replete with lots of homework.

McGraw’s tone is a refreshing one that brooks no nonsense and gets straight to the heart of the matter. He takes a firm stand on a number of issues, often coming down on the opposite side of the fence from many other current relationship counselors. He embraces the differences between men and women and defends certain types of disagreements as necessary evils. He emphasizes the importance of intimacy and vulnerability and dispels some commonly held myths about romance, love, and the nature of relationships. And his ideas on the necessity of conflict resolution may turn some modern-day counselors apoplectic.

This isn’t a warm and fuzzy book; in fact, readers who actually go through all of McGraw’s activities will find many of them downright uncomfortable. There are no platitudes or cutesy sayings here to provide short-term cover-ups; rather, the book reads like an intensive-care manual for saving a floundering relationship or resurrecting a dying one. Following McGraw’s plan may or may not succeed in rescuing a relationship, and, in fact, McGraw lists some scenarios where he doesn’t recommend making the attempt. But even if his plan fails to save an existing relationship, it is bound to leave the reader more self-aware -- much of McGraw’s focus is on breaking old habits so that the same mistakes aren’t repeated in future relationships. The resultant improvement in both emotional and mental health (which often equates to better physical health as well, due to lessened stress) can only have a positive effect on other, nonromantic relationships as well as any future romantic ones. (Beth Amos)

Library Journal
McGraw does a wonderful job of examining practical steps that can help to rescue floundering intimate relationships. From the beginning, he acknowledges that only one partner may be inspired to take the action he recommends. He says the core causes of relationship collapse include believing in relationship myths; failing to take personal responsibility for the relationship; and ignoring one's own "core consciousness" (i.e., that which is integral to one's own belief systems). He then helps the listener learn how these blocks can be identified and overcome. McGraw's acknowledged belief in a "Higher Power" might also bring comfort to users who desire a religious basis for healing. The advice itself, however, is mainstream, obviously based on McGraw's broad experience as a counselor, and will almost certainly inspire someone looking for help for a relationship in crisis. Librarians acquiring this program must be aware of limitations that may make it a secondary purchase. First, this tape is meant to be used over an extended period of time. Second, a "relationship test booklet" is included in the package--a small pamphlet that will soon be lost in most libraries. Finally, the author indicates that use of this book alone is enough to save a failing relationship. Most patrons, after reviewing the audiobook, will decide if they want to have their own copy or not. In the meantime, it may offer hope to anyone struggling to make a relationship work.--Kathleen Sullivan, Phoenix P.L. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Beth Amos
February 2000

Are you in a troubled relationship? Worried about the stability of your marriage or your future with your life partner? Have you considered counseling but forgone it for a lack of either time or money? Now you can get help for your floundering relationship and the next-best thing to your own personal counselor with Phillip McGraw's newest self-help book, Relationship Rescue.

At a time when the stability of relationships is at an all-time low and divorce rates still hang above the 50 percent mark, McGraw's book is a welcome addition to the self-help market. Its intensive, hands-on approach sets it apart from all the rest and may offer the best solution for many who are hoping to build (or resurrect) a meaningful and fulfilling relationship.

McGraw's basic premise isn't revolutionary. Like many before him, he preaches that the quality of a relationship depends upon two things: the existence and strength of an underlying friendship and the degree to which the needs of both partners are met. The different between McGraw's approach and that of others in the field is the way he goes about guiding the reader through this process. The program McGraw advocates in Relationship Rescue isn't geared toward figuring out why a relationship is broken but rather toward fixing it. His book is not for the fainthearted: McGraw makes it clear up front that a serious commitment is required, for the process is neither easy nor comfortable.

An intriguing aspect of McGraw's method is that it doesn't require active involvement from the other partner in the relationship, though admittedly the whole process is more likely to succeed if both parties work together. Instead, McGraw puts the onus squarely on the reader's shoulders, advocating a program of self-healing that will identify destructive behaviors, overcome damaging beliefs, and promote realistic goal-setting for the relationship. The process involves an intensive program of self-analysis, brutal honesty, and accountability. McGraw directs readers to accept responsibility for their own happiness, to identify those obstacles that may be preventing it, and to take an aggressive and active approach toward achieving it. According to McGraw, fixing yourself will trigger changes in your partner's behaviors and attitudes, changes that will ultimately salvage the relationship.

If this sounds like a monumental task, it is. However, Relationship Rescue walks readers through the process one step at a time, providing the type of information, guidance, and "sessions" one might experience in a therapist's office. The book contains guidelines to stimulate thought, questionnaires to help the reader identify and deal with any emotional baggage they might be carrying, a provocative look at the types of behaviors that reflect one's "dark side," and even a scripted dialogue for when it's time to approach the partner. It's an ongoing and lengthy process, replete with lots of homework.

McGraw's tone is a refreshing one that brooks no nonsense and gets straight to the heart of the matter. He takes a firm stand on a number of issues, often coming down on the opposite side of the fence from many current relationship counselors. He embraces the differences between men and women and defends certain types of disagreement as necessary evils. He emphasizes the importance of intimacy and vulnerability and dispels some commonly held myths about romance, love, and the nature of relationships. And his ideas on the necessity of conflict resolution may turn some modern-day counselors apoplectic.

This isn't a warm and fuzzy book; in fact, readers who actually go through all of McGraw's activities will find many of them downright uncomfortable. There are no platitudes or cutesy sayings here to provide short-term cover-ups; rather the book reads like an intensive-care manual for saving a floundering relationship or resurrecting a dying one. Following McGraw's plan may not succeed in all cases; in fact, he lists some scenarios that don't, in his opinion, warrant the attempt. But even if his plan fails to save an existing relationship, it is bound to leave the reader more self-aware. Much of McGraw's focus is on breaking old habits so that the same mistakes aren't repeated in future relationships. The resultant improvement in both emotional and mental health (which often equates to better physical health as well, due to lessened stress) can only have a positive effect on other, nonromantic relationships as well as any future romantic ones.

--Beth Amos

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780641692079
Publisher:
Hyperion
Publication date:
09/19/2001
Pages:
302
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

RELATIONSHIP HEALTH PROFILE

Let's take an overall look at your relationship. The following is a broad questionnaire, a true/false test that includes items relevant to the health of you and your relationship. Again, be honest and go with your first reaction. Do not spend an excessive amount of time debating any one item.

Circle either True or False for each item.

1. I am satisfied with my sex life. True False
2. My partner doesn't really listen to me. True False
3. I trust my partner. True False
4. I feel picked on and put down. True False
5. I am hopeful about our future. True False
6. It is not easy to share my feelings. True False
7. My partner often says, I love you. True False
8. Sometimes I feel rage. True False
9. I feel appreciated. True False
10. I am out of control. True False
11. My partner is there for me in hard times. True False
12. My partner is harsh in his or her criticism. True False
13. My partner understands me. True False
14. I fear my partner is bored. True False
15. My partner doesn't like to share what's on his or her mind. True False
16. I imagine myself divorced. True False
17. My relationship is what I always dreamed of. True False
18. I know I am right. True False
19. My partner treats me with dignity and respect. True False
20. My partner is a taker. True False
21. We often do fun things together. True False
22. Sometimes I just want to hurt my partner. True False
23. I feel loved. True False
24. I would rather lie than deal with a problem. True False
25. We still have a lot of passion in our relationship. True False
26. I am trapped with no escape. True False
27. My partner thinks I am fun to be with. True False
28. Our relationship has gotten boring. True False
29. We enjoy going out on dates alone. True False
30. My partner is ashamed of me. True False
31. We trust each other a great deal. True False
32. We have become nothing more than roommates. True False
33. I know my partner will never leave me. True False
34. I am no longer proud of my body. True False
35. My partner respects me. True False
36. My partner constantly compares me to others. True False
36. My partner constantly compares me to others. True False
37. My partner still finds me desirable. True False
38. We just seem to want different things. True False
39. I am allowed to think for myself. True False
40. I feel crowded by my partner. True False
41. I am honest with my partner. True False
42. People have no idea what our relationship is really like. True False
43. My partner is open to suggestions. True False
44. My partner has shut me out. True False
45. My partner is my primary source of emotional support. True False
46. I feel judged and rejected by my partner. True False
47. My partner cares if I am upset or sad. True False
48. My partner treats me like a child. True False
49. My partner puts our relationship ahead of all others. True False
50. I'll never satisfy my partner. True False
51. My partner wants to hear my stories. True False
52. I chose my partner for the wrong reasons. True False
53. I look forward to our time together. True False
54. My partner thinks I am boring in bed. True False
55. My partner is lucky to have me. True False
56. My partner treats me like an employee. True False
57. I win my share of disputes. True False
58. I envy my friends' relationships. True False
59. My partner would protect me if necessary. True False
60. I am suspicious of my partner. True False
61. I feel needed by my partner. True False
62. My partner is jealous of me. True False

Now go back over your test and count all of the even-numbered questions to which you answered True. Write down the total. Now go back and count all of the odd-numbered items to which you answered False. Add that number to your True total to get your overall score.

Even-numbered "True" responses:

Odd-numbered "False" responses:

OVERALL TOTAL:

This test is designed to give you a quick snapshot of the health of your relationship. If your overall score is above 32, it is likely that your relationship is in extreme danger of failing. If your total score is between 20 and 32, then your relationship is seriously troubled and you may be living an emotional divorce. If your total score is between 12 and 19, then your relationship is probably about average (which is not great) and certainly needs work. If your score is below 11, then your relationship is well above the norm and may have isolated areas in which you can improve.


THE RELATIONSHIP BEHAVIOR PROFILE: YOUR PARTNER

Here are ten questions that will help organize and guide your thinking about why you feel the way you do about your partner. If some of your answers are the same to each question, that's okay. Use your journal, if you wish, to help you better understand your feelings.

  • List five instances of your partner's loving behavior toward you during the last month.
  • List five instances of unloving or hateful things your spouse has done to you during the last month.
  • List and describe your partner's five best qualities.
  • List and describe your partner's five worst qualities.
  • List five things which you have asked or scolded or nagged your partner to correct or improve, but which your partner has not corrected or improved.
  • List five things that made you fall in love with your partner
  • List five things that today would make you fall out of love with your partner.
  • Describe your partner's sexual relationship with you, paying particular attention to your partner's:
  • Pattern of initiation
  • Frequency
  • Quality
  • Problems
  • Describe your partner's tendency or lack thereof to focus on you, paying particular attention to:
  • Desire for being physically close
  • Desire to talk with you one-on-one
  • Desire to spend time alone with you
  • Desire to protect you or comfort you during times of need
  • Desire to please you
  • Do you look forward to seeing your partner at the end of a day? If not, write in your journal the reasons why. Be as specific as possible. If your partner complains about the way the house looks, write it down. If it's a look on your partner's face, write that down. If it's because you feel you have to invent conversation to make things pleasant between the two of you, write that down too.


THE RELATIONSHIP BEHAVIOR PROFILE: YOU

That was the easy part. Now here are ten similar questions that you absolutely must answer with total honesty and candor to help organize and guide your assessment about the way you think about yourself, and about the way you and your partner relate. These are questions that you might not think to ask yourself, so consider them carefully. Resolve right now that you are not going to lie to yourself. Propel yourself to deal with the truth about yourself, even if it hurts. Prepare your heart and mind to be open rather than defensive. It is cowardly to blame, and it is cowardly and self-destructive to be in denial. Use your journal, if you wish, to help you understand why you feel the way you do.

  1. List five instances of loving behavior toward your partner during the last month.
  2. List five instances of unloving or hateful things you have done to your partner during the last month.
  3. List and describe your five best qualities.
  4. List and describe your five worst qualities.
  5. List five things which your partner has asked or scolded or nagged you to correct or improve, but which you have not corrected or improved.
  6. List five things that made your partner fall in love with you.
  7. List five things that today would make your partner fall out of love with you.
  8. Describe your sexual relationship with your partner, paying particular attention to your own:
    • Pattern of initiation
    • Frequency
    • Quality
    • Problems
  9. Describe your tendency or lack thereof to focus on your partner, paying particular attention to:
    • Desire for being physically close
    • Desire to talk with your partner one-on-one
    • Desire to spend time alone with your partner
    • Desire to protect or comfort your partner during times of need
    • Desire to please your partner
  10. Does your partner look forward to seeing you at the end of a day? If no, write in your journal the reasons why. Be as specific as possible. If you tend to complain to your partner about the day you've had soon after you see your partner, write that down. If you tend to have a stressful look on your face when you see your partner, write that down. If it's because you feel a sense of dread upon the sight of your partner, write that down too.

I hope this test helps you understand that fixing a relationship means a lot more than fixing your partner. In fact, as I will insist over and over throughout this book, there is no need for you to approach this rescue mission from the perspective of straightening your partner out. Trust me, you've got a lot of work to do yourself. This is not about winning out over your partner; this is about winning for the relationship.

You will also hear me frequently say throughout this book that you must approach your relationship with a willingness to own your part of the problem. Whatever your partner repeatedly does in your relationship, he or she does it at least in part because of how you respond. You teach your partner how to treat you--or how to continue treating you--by the way you respond. You either elicit, maintain, or allow the behavior by your own responses. If, for example, your partner takes certain excesses in the relationship or is consistently rude and insensitive, I promise you he or she has learned that such behavior is acceptable because of the way you have responded. You may in fact have actually rewarded your partner for such behavior by giving in, abandoning your position, or by getting so upset that you no longer can express adequately what you feel and believe.

Acknowledging your own problems can be most refreshing when you realize that at last you are getting real about what is going on. I am betting you will find that that willingness to take a non-defensive look at yourself can and will be inspiring to your partner.

Meet the Author

Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D., has worked in the field of human functioning and strategic life planning for over twenty years. He is the co-founder and president of Courtroom Sciences, Inc., and has been associated with some of the highest-profile litigation cases in the country, including Oprah's highly publicized "Mad Cow" suit. A professional psychologist, he lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and family.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
1950
Place of Birth:
Oklahoma
Education:
Attended University of Tulsa; B.A., Midwestern State; Ph.D. in psychology, University of North Texas, 1979
Website:
http://www.drphil.com

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Relationship Rescue 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Relationship Rescue is my pick as the top book of 2000. This book deserves many more than five stars. It is as close as you can get to having a hands-on guide to improving your relationships as you can get without having a trained counselor present. It's too bad that most people will take on this book because they have a bad or failing relationship. It would be much better to start with this approach in the beginning. I hope marriage advisors, parents, living together couples, and engaged people will become familiar with this book and recommend it to others. The book is extremely direct. The author makes it clear that you have to first change yourself before you can change you relationship. The book is extremely well structured for easy use both as a book and as a workbook. It is divided into seven steps (define and diagnose where the relationship is now; get rid of your wrong thinking about relationships; find out what you are doing to hurt the relationships; internalize the values needed to build and maintain strong relationships; the necessary format for a strong relationship; and how to reconnect and manage the relationship). Each section is filled with diagnostic questions for you and your partner to use, as well as directions for implementing what you learn. The process involved is a good one. It begins with identifying stalled thinking, works on stallbusting that thinking, and then builds new habits that will work better. The steps are extensive, but you can take them in bite-sized amounts. Before you are done, you will be sharing what you have done with your partner. I have to believe that anyone who was told that their partner had been working on these questions and exercises would be very impressed by the commitment to the relationship that this effort represented. It can help overcome a lot of thoughtlessness that may have preceded that sharing. If your relationship is on the rocks, that idea of reconnecting can be scary. I was impressed to see that the book provides a 14 day program to help you with exercises that help reconnect you emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Most counselors would probably not give you this much guidance. You can improve the benefits you will find here by also using the excellent workbook that is sold separately. It contains many more questions and a convenient place to write them down. You can read my review of that as well, if you like. One of the finest things in life is to have a great relationship with other people. This book gives you the necessary background to move in that direction. The rest is up to you, as the author says. Give it a shot! You have a great quality of life to win! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution
Guest More than 1 year ago
I gave this book a try. But, like so many books on relationships, this book with its 'ten relationship values' is oversimplified. Once my husband (17 years) fell madly in love with someone at work, no book would have salvaged the situation. I am not playing victim or showing 'learned helplessness'. My ex husband had decided to leave us, period, whether I read some book or not. In summary I feel McGraw is way too optimistic believing that every relationship can be salvaged. Rather than 'Relationship Rescue', the book should be titled 'Relationship Values' and given to new couples, so that you build a strong relationship in the first place. Dr Phil refers to his grandparents' 55 year marriage and that's heartwarming, but it just isn't possible for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Practical, common-sense advice, engagingly written. This is one of a handful of books that I think can change anyone's life for the better. This one is easier reading than the others, but not particularly lightweight like so many out there that you can't suggest it to 'smart' friends who can benefit from it.
Yonkers_Mom More than 1 year ago
This book was used as a text in a relationship class. It was very insightful and an easy read. Most people will find it helpful in the search to enhance your awareness of what a relationship is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Phil is up front and straight out. No small talk. He gets straingt to the point and has excellent teqniques for rejuvinating anybody's relationship.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good tool that helps understand that relationship problems go way beyond specific symptoms and have a deeper component. Nice way to start the process of figuring out how to have happier relationships.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was having a world of problems in my marriage and I did not know where to look. After being inspired by some of the things Dr. Phil says on TV, I decided to read this book. Boy am I glad I did! Dr. Phil has this ability to take it right to you and this is what I needed at the time. His words punched right through my walls of denial and forced me to make a real objective re-evaluation of myself and my relationship. It did wonders for me. After having this rejuvenating experience, I decided to explore and learn more about relationships and personal development. I have now found a more advanced book on relationships and personal development that is absolutely excellent! It is called 'The Ever-Transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato. It is more theoretical but an excellent read if you are one of those people who 'gets it!' It has taken me one step closer to inner peace and happiness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We all have the tendency to try to blame others and change other people when they don't like something about their relationships. In this book, Dr. Phil convincingly shows us that we need to first change ourselves if we want to improve on our relationships. He explains how our relationships are truly a reflection of who we are inside and guides us through a step by step procedure to change ourselves (and consequently, our relationships) for the better. Another book that provides an even deeper understanding of relationships without getting into expert terminology is Dr. Toru Sato's 'The Ever-Transcending Spirit'. It is already a bestseller among my circle of relationship counselors and I'm sure it will be for anyone interesting in improving their relationships.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN. I CRIED. I THOUGHT. I REALIZED THAT MY RELATIONSHIP COULD WORK WITH A LOT OF POSITIVE THINKING. THANKS DR PHIL.
Guest More than 1 year ago
He tells it like it is and pulls no punches. Read this book only if you can handle the truth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rescuing dying relationships takes hard work, and MacGraw offers A WHOLE NEW WAY of looking at problem-solving. If you feel you've tried the usual way of solving marital discord and it hasn't worked, look into this book. It MAY be just what you need to save your relationship. Also, it offers great insight into how to keep your relationship tuned and in good condition. I say - go for it!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Cuase if it is plz tell me!
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Real useful information with concrete action steps.
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