Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner [NOOK Book]

Overview

As a follow-up to his bestselling book Life Strategies, Oprah acolyte Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D., moves from aiding the aimless individual to coaching the disconnected couple. McGraw has distilled his more than two decades of counseling experience into a seven-step strategy he calls "Relationship Rescue."

"I'm prepared to kick a hole in the wall of the pain-ridden, unhappy maze you've gotten yourself into, and provide you clear access to ...
See more details below
Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

As a follow-up to his bestselling book Life Strategies, Oprah acolyte Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D., moves from aiding the aimless individual to coaching the disconnected couple. McGraw has distilled his more than two decades of counseling experience into a seven-step strategy he calls "Relationship Rescue."

"I'm prepared to kick a hole in the wall of the pain-ridden, unhappy maze you've gotten yourself into, and provide you clear access to action-oriented answers and instructions on what you must do to have what you want," says Dr. Phil. His aim is to expose and eliminate the saboteurs that cause senseless damage to already-fragile marriages, and, like an emotional root canal, to replace them with values he says provide positive results. If you follow Dr. Phil's strategy, he will lead you on a precise journey to uncover your heart and then share it with your partner as part of taking the "risk of intimacy."

Dr. Phil leads you to "reconnect with your core" in the first five steps of his seven-step strategy. By no means a quick fix, there are in-depth and rigorous questionnaires, surveys, tests, and profiles that require a "brutally candid" mindset, with such fill-in-the-blanks as "List five things that today would make you fall out of love with your partner." With this internal work accomplished, you'll then move on to reconnecting with your partner during a two-week, half-hour-a-day short course. As a "dyad," you and your loved one take turns giving monologues on topics such as "The most positive thing I took away from my mother and father's relationship was..."

Once the "reconnection" has been established, Dr. Phil says the work shifts to a management role, as relationships are always a work in progress. Dr. Phil humorously refers to his own marriage throughout the book, sharing his mishaps and victories in learning to accept and enjoy what he sees as fundamental but complementary differences between men and women. --John Youngs
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786871124
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 29,349
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Dr. Phil McGraw
Dr. Phil McGraw is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters; Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner; Self Matters: Creating Your Life From the Inside Out; The Ultimate Weight Solution: The Seven Keys to Weight Loss Freedom, and his most recent book, Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The Ultimate Weight Solution Coookbook: Recipes for Weight Loss Freedom as well as The Ultimate Weight Solution Food Guide. His books have been published in 37 languages with over 22 million copies in print. Dr. Phil has a B.S, M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from North Texas State University with a dual area of emphasis in clinical and behavioral medicine. He has been a board-certified and licensed clinical psychologist since 1978, and appears on his nationally syndicated daily one-hour series, Dr. Phil. He lives in Los Angeles with Robin, his wife of 28 years, and their two sons, Jay and Jordan.

Biography

Many self-help authors have launched their careers via the beneficence of Oprah Winfrey, but only Phillip C. McGraw was able to parlay the talk show queen's admiration into a weekly friendly takeover of her show, near-guaranteed bestsellerdom, and, finally, his own talk show. He's gotten so much attention as "Dr. Phil" (a.k.a. "Tell It like It Is Phil") that he's moved from Texas to Hollywood and even guested with his fictional peer on NBC's Frasier.

McGraw delivers unapologetic, no-nonsense advice in a tough but colorful down-home twang -- hence his "Tell It like It Is" moniker. That old psychological bugaboo, denial, is chief among his enemies; and bluntness is his forte, whether he is exhorting someone to "get real" or demanding to know, "What were you thinkin'?" In short, "He's like your mama, without hair," as fellow psychologist Robert Butterworth told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

McGraw isn't unsympathetic, but he is realistic. As he told Barnes & Noble.com, "I am here to tell people how the world works, not how I think it should be or how you wish it would be, but how it is." McGraw met Oprah when he was hired to coach her in a suit by cattle ranchers for her alleged defamation of the beef industry. Oprah won the case, and it wasn't long before Dr. Phil was a regular feature on her show, challenging her guests in the same way he challenges his readers.

Though McGraw's style is quick and to the point, he does what many good personal therapists do: He asks difficult questions and encourages people to answer them with painful honesty. He also does what many therapists do not: He avoids emphasis on introspection about the circumstances and history that can contribute to a person's problems. "Whether the cards you've been dealt are good or bad, you're in charge of yourself now," he writes as part of "Life Law #2: You create your own experience" in his first, still-popular book, Life Strategies.

McGraw's sports-coach approach has also appealed to couples seeking help in revitalizing tired marriages or fixing troubled relationships. The year after publishing 1999's Life Strategies, McGraw released Relationship Rescue, offering a seven-step plan for imperiled unions (one key word: "renegotiate").

Most recently, McGraw devoted special attention to those who are simply "going through the motions," whether at work or at home. His Self Matters encourages readers to literally take an inventory of their lives, discover their "authentic selves," and redirect their courses accordingly. He harangues, he prods, and sometimes he makes people uncomfortable -- but darned if he doesn't get them to see things in a different way than they did before.

Good To Know

He has been married to his wife, Robin, for 26 years. They have two sons, 23-year-old Jay and 16-year-old Jordan. McGraw has told Good Housekeeping that he doesn't feel pressure to have a perfect marriage because of his public image. But, he adds, "My wife is an amazing woman. We have a great marriage because she won't have it any other way."

After getting his doctorate, McGraw went into private practice; but "when it came to the point that I really had to admit I didn't like what I was doing, that was a gut check because I was making an awful lot of money doing it," he told CNN in 2001. So he quit the practice in 1989 and co-founded Courtroom Sciences, Inc., a legal consultancy that conducts mock trials, behavioral analysis, jury selection, and mediation.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Oklahoma
    1. Education:
      Attended University of Tulsa; B.A., Midwestern State; Ph.D. in psychology, University of North Texas, 1979
    2. Website:

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.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Prologue: Get Real: Reconnecting with Your Core 1
1 It's Your Time; It's Your Turn 5
2 Defining the Problem 23
3 Blowing Up the Myths 46
4 Eliminating Your Bad Spirit 76
5 Reclaiming Your Core: The Personal Relationship Values 112
6 The Formula for Success 146
7 Reconnecting with Your Partner 192
8 Fourteen Days of Loving with Honesty 213
9 Red Alert: Relationships Are Managed, Not Cured 248
10 The Doctor Is "In" 266
Conclusion: A Personal Letter from Me to You 295
Appendix 301
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter One: It's Your Time; It's Your Turn

It has been fifteen years since I sat with Carol and Larry in my psychology office. They were a pretty typical couple--typical because they were having relationship problems. Like so many other couples, they were once absolutely certain that their deep love and optimism would make their relationship last. They had come together because they wanted to, because the idea of a life together felt so right, because they believed their union was the one thing that would complete them. They approached their relationship seriously, made sacrifices, and promised they would offer up their hearts and souls to each other.

And now here they were, trying to understand why the very thing that they once thought would make them so happy had left them feeling trapped, overwhelmed by an unspeakable feeling of disappointment. They were hurting, second-guessing themselves, wondering how something could go stagnant and painful so quickly. Carol swallowed, touching her throat with her fingers as tears slid down her cheeks. Larry stared out the window, his shoulders sagging, his chin propped on his fingers. Their relationship had become defined by a quiet desperation, punctuated by angry silences, which alternated with animated attacks on each other's character--and in a last-ditch effort they had dutifully sought out professional help. I am so tired of feeling alone, Carol told me. I feel like I want to scream or hit something, but I don't know what and I don't know why. We used to be so fresh and so alive--and now our love has become cold and bitter and lifeless. Is this it, is this all there is?

I started talking, giving Larry and Carol the same platitudes, the same conventional wisdom, that I and every other therapist in the country had been doling out for years. You're going to have to commit to solving your problems, I said. You need to communicate better, see things through your partner's eyes, try to resolve each and every one of your differences, remember your marriage vows. Just as I had been taught, I was acting warm and genuine as I trotted out all the usual reponses. But suddenly all I could hear myself saying was blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah. As I sat there, I asked myself, Has anybody noticed over the last fifty years that this crap doesn't work? Has it occurred to anyone that the vast majority of these couples aren't getting any better?

Here were these two people, searching for answers, and I realized I was telling them things about the nature of relationships that weren't going to make a damn bit of difference. My profession's advice was all well and good if life was an ivory tower or if our clients lived in some sitcom-like Ozzie and Harriet existence. But it did little for those relating in the real world with real problems, real children, real financial demands, real competition for affection, real stress. The vast majority of relationship advice offered in our society not only did not work, it didn't even come close to working. That was true then and it is true now. Research shows that over two-thirds of couples, married or otherwise, who attend relationship counseling are worse or at least no better after one year. The divorce rate in America refuses to drop below fifty percent, and twenty percent of us will divorce not once but twice in our lifetime. Clearly, pleasant and generic instructions on how to communicate better or theoretical musings that give you great insights about relationships just weren't going to cut it fifteen years ago and won't cut it now.

That day with Carol and Larry was a turning point in my life. I decided that if I continued imparting the conventional wisdom, I would be cheating them and everyone like them out of any chance they had to turn their relationship around. I resolved right then and there that I was going to get real about why relationships were failing in America and what needed to be done to turn the tide. People needed a solid, practical way to reframe their lives and their lifestyles in order to create a healthy relationship rather than live in such a way as to maintain and support a bad one. It didn't matter that I had more degrees than a thermometer. I decided that I was going to have to be willing to get my hands dirty in the ugly side of life, stop dispensing easy advice, and meet the Carols and Larrys of the world where they were in their lives as well as in their relationships.

That's what this book is all about. I'm going to tell you what I believe is the truth about what you have to do to meet your needs and the needs of your partner, and exactly how to rebuild the foundation of your life so that you can have a fulfilling relationship.

What I am going to tell you will not have a thing to do with textbook communication theories like active listening or relating with empathy. I'm not going to cry with you, and I'm not going to gently hold your hand. I'm not going to try to make you and your partner feel better by having you write mushy love letters to one another and then put roses on your pillows at the end of the night. If you are looking for something to read that will act like a quick salve on your emotional wounds, then I recommend you give this book to someone else--because I want to shake you back to your very core, to wake you up, and then help you start designing a memorable life and a memorable relationship.

I admit, I am pretty much an in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is sort of person. And I want you to know that this book is not going to make things easy for you. This book is designed as a clarion call--an unapologetic command that you strip away all your defenses and fears, that you break through the clutter of your past, that you raise your standards of personal excellence, and that you stay diligently on course so that you may get what you want in your life. My mission is to help peel away the layers of confusion and distorted thinking that have dominated your relationship, peel away the false world you have constructed, put you back in touch with your inner core of consciousness, and help you find the answers that work.

And I recognize that means that a whole lot of you need a lot of answers. Relationships in general, and marriages and families in particular, continue to disintegrate before our eyes. Families are losing their focus, and domestic violence, abuse, and emotional dysfunctions have gone vertical. The epidemic is like a train careening at an ever-increasing speed down a steep hill--and if you're reading this book, that means you, too, are probably on that train and could very well be barreling toward disaster.

I know you had no intention of getting on this train. All you wanted to do was love somebody and be loved right back. You believed a relationship was the one thing that would complete you. You weren't an idiot, you weren't some masochist who looked for a relationship so that you could suffer, and you sure weren't lazy. Nonetheless, here you are. And we both know that no matter how much willpower you have to keep hanging in there, there is a line out there that, if pushed across, you will say, That's enough, I won't take this another minute. You know yourself well enough to realize that if you cross that line, it will be the beginning of the end. You know your dignity and your heart can take only so much, and if it is violated one too many times, then you will finally dig your heels in and this deal will be over in a flash.

That line may still be looming way out in your future somewhere, or at this very moment you might be walking that line like a tightrope. But I'm here to tell you that I want to keep you from crossing that line. You may not know how or why your relationship got into such a mess, but I do know. I know what you're going through, and I know how it all happened to you. What I'm about to say may sound arrogant, and if it does, I am sorry for being so blunt. But after having been to hell and back with thousands of couples in a variety of settings, I've gotten street smart. I know how to get your relationship under control and back on the right track. And if you stay with me through this book, I'll show you what you've been missing, and I'll lead you to clear answers, starting with this one: you are not inadequate or incompetent when it comes to a relationship. The brutal and sad fact is that the deck has been stacked overwhelmingly against you.

IT'S A WONDER YOU'VE MADE IT THIS FAR

If you know anything about me through my recent writings or my television work, then you know I am the last person on earth ever to tell you that you are a victim or that there is somewhere besides yourself to look to as the cause of this or any other situation that now defines your life. But the very society that has taught you that it is good and right and natural to share your life with another person, the same society that in large part defines and measures success by how you manage your relationships and your family, never bothered to teach you how you are supposed to do that.

Think about it: the requirements for a driver's license are tenfold the requirements for a marriage license--to drive, you at least have to take a test to demonstrate some level of knowledge and competency before you are turned loose. Yet our collective society is willing to turn you loose with someone else's life for two bucks and a signature down at the courthouse. You probably got your only lessons about being in a relationship by watching your parents. The problem with that is they no doubt had less instruction and knew less about relationships than you do. You went to school and learned how to read and write, add and subtract, but you never went to a class that taught you how to understand your emotions. At no time did you ever receive any systematic education about what to expect in a relationship or how to behave in one. No one ever taught you how to relate. No one ever taught you how to select a good mate. No one ever taught you how to be a husband or a wife. And no ever taught you what to do when things went wrong. If you think about it, no one even taught you how to define what wrong was.

As a result, you probably chose your mate for the wrong reasons and then proceeded into your relationship with ill-defined skills, goals, and expectations. And then came the double whammy: when you went looking for help, most of those in the helping professions, with their textbook therapies and psychological theories, seemed to have absolutely no understanding of how to help you. It is amazing to me how this country is overflowing with marital therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists, counselors, healers, advice columnists, and self-help authors--and their approach to relationships is usually so embarrassing that I want to turn my head in shame.

It's time for the double-talk and fuzzy thinking to stop. In this journey, the one through the pages of this book, you won't be relying on theory and bad information. You will be relying on techniques and realities for creating and managing a healthy relationship. Instead of resorting to another round of expensive therapy or reading some warm and fuzzy euphemisms that could very well keep you from doing those things that can genuinely help you, you're going to learn the truth--and the truth is that your relationship is in trouble because /Italic/ you /Roman/ set it up that way.

Read that sentence again: your relationship is in trouble because /Italic/ you /Roman/ set it up that way. And let me be real clear, I'm not saying that you set it up that way because you were in a bad mood once in a while. You didn't set it up that way because of something really outrageous that you did one time five months or five years ago. You set it up that way by actively, consistently, and efficiently designing, programming, and choreographing your entire lifestyle to generate and then support a bad relationship. You have chosen to live in a way in which no other result could occur.

I will say this over and over before you finish this book: it is not possible for you to have a seriously defective long-term relationship unless you have generated and adopted a lifestyle to sustain it. Every single person in every walk of life has a lifestyle that supports who and what he or she is. If you are a healthy, vibrant, efficient, and productive person who is in touch with your core of consciousness, then I know without question that you have a lifestyle that supports that manner of living. If you are an emotionally pained and relationally troubled person who has lost touch with your core of consciousness, I know that you have a lifestyle that supports that too. You cannot have a bad relationship unless your lifestyle is characterized by stress, pressure, distraction, and a harried and chaotic existence. Moreover, if you are living in a dysfunctional relationship with another person, it's because you have a dysfunctional relationship with yourself.

I'm not blaming you; I'm just telling you how it is. A bad relationship cannot exist if it is not fed and nurtured in some way. If you think I am wrong, just look out your window. If you see weeds in your yard or in the field next door, they didn't just happen. Some way, somehow that weed had to get started. And what's more, it had to be fed and nurtured in some way. It didn't grow in concrete; somehow the environment had to support its very existence or it could not be.

I'm not saying you necessarily chose any environment or lifestyle consciously, and I'm not saying that you generated your dysfunctional relationship on purpose. But I'm telling you that the reality of your relationship along with your overall lifestyle and your relationship with yourself are one hundred percent inextricably intertwined. If you have not designed and carried out your life to create or allow distance instead of intimacy, combativeness instead of cooperation, blame and rejection instead of accountability and acceptance, you cannot maintain the erosion and pain that you are now experiencing. Problems don't flourish in isolation. They have to have help and nurturance.

As an example, simply compare the lifestyle of someone who is chronically and morbidly overweight with the lifestyle of someone who is fit, energetic, and of normal weight. I will promise you that both of these people have designed their worlds to sustain what they have become. The overweight person will use food differently. You will find that he or she lives to eat, while a person of normal weight eats to live. This is a painful truth, but it is the truth. When it comes to your relationship, you have chosen to live patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior that have generated something that is not giving you what you want. You are living to suffer instead of loving to live. That has to change, and it has to change first before anything else will begin to fall into place.

I have no doubt that many of you at this very moment are saying, Wait a second, Dr. Phil. All your talk about getting me straight is just great, but you have no idea what a jerk my partner can be. You have no idea what manner of hell my partner brings into my life. I'm fine about making my life better, but what about my partner? Why all this total focus on me? I'm just one-half of this deal!

Trust me, I do know what you may well be living with, and I promise you, your partner will get his or her turn in the barrel. But in all likelihood, your partner isn't sitting right beside you reading this book. You're the only one reading it. My only input, my only influence, is with you, so that is who I am focusing on, and if you are smart you will do the same. But I do know it takes two to tango, and if you are able to change yourself, if you are able to create a different lifestyle and environment in which your relationship takes place, if you are able to regain your own power and reclaim your right to dignity and respect, then your partner is going to be seriously affected.

You can't control your partner. You can't make changes for your partner. You can't tell your partner what to do. But you can inspire your partner. You can give your partner a whole new set of behaviors and new set of stimuli to respond to. If you drop out of the destructive mind-set and vicious circle of mutually frustrating interactions that are causing your relationship to implode, if you drop out of the fight and start living a new way, it's going to be real difficult for your partner to continue spewing and seeking venom. You can stop sabotaging yourself and your relationship, and you can start inspiring the kind of reactions you want from your partner. In the face of such constructive input, he or she can't fight alone, argue alone, or continue to be offended. Your partner can pout for a while, perhaps withdraw and be suspicious for a while, but eventually he or she is going to feel pretty stupid sitting over in the corner while you seem to be getting so very much happier and so much more optimistic and at peace with yourself.

RESCUING YOUR RELATIONSHIP MEANS RESCUING YOU

Besides, what's the alternative--to allow your current lifestyle to persist, a lifestyle that with each passing day broadens the gap between you and your hopes and dreams? This isn't brain-surgery or quantum physics here--what you are doing, how you are living, is not working. Plain and simple, it is not working. If you do not push yourself to find out what it is in your lifestyle that isn't working, what it is about your lifestyle that has created and supports this negative relationship, you will continue to suffer. You will continue to work on the wrong things that have nothing to do with the status of your relationship at the expense of that which most certainly determines its success or failure. You will try to believe that it's okay to forget some of your dreams, telling yourself that at least you are secure and comfortable. You'll find yourself relying more and more upon the language of losers, telling yourself that you know you should do something about your plight and that you'd like to change but that you just aren't sure where to start. When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences, so you must start choosing differently right here, right now, by being open to this book and everything in it.

So now you know where we're headed. If you are going to rescue your relationship, the first lifeline we have to throw is to you so that you can pull yourself out of your emotional swamp. By changing how you treat yourself, you alter the most important element of the entire equation. It means altering the environment in which your relationship exists and changing the priorities that dictate your time and energy. You must redesign the backdrop or context in which your relationship occurs. Until you begin to live with dignity, respect, and emotional integrity, you will not have that quality and level of interaction with anyone else. As I like to say, you cannot give away what you do not have. If you don't have a pure and healthy love and regard for yourself, how can you possibly give that to anyone else? And if you can't give it to anyone else, then how can you possibly expect to have it reciprocated?

I am not suggesting that you become someone you are not. I am suggesting that you become the best of who you are. Right here, right now, you can stop hurting, and you can start changing your life. You may feel like you are lost in a maze from which there is no real exit, no route that leads back to your core of consciousness and all of the strength and wisdom that resides there. Well, I'm all about creating a route and an exit for you whenever and wherever you want it. I'm no longer caught up in ivory tower ideology. All I want to do is create good results. I'm prepared to kick a hole in the wall of the pain-ridden, unhappy maze you've gotten yourself into, and provide you clear access to action-oriented answers and instructions on what you must do to have what you want.

But as I said, I need your help. You have to be willing to admit that when it comes to conducting a relationship, whatever you are thinking and feeling and doing is not working. You have to be willing to move your position on some very deep beliefs and long-held emotions and behavioral patterns. When I say move your position, I mean that you must be willing to utterly change the way you think, feel, and act in relationship to yourself and your partner. This can be harder than you could ever imagine. I am asking you to give up your security blankets and free-fall. I am asking you to hit the erase button on ideas that you may have been holding for ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years. I am asking you to wipe the slate clean and start over in your thinking. Bottom line, I am asking you to believe once again that you are a qualified person who deserves a quality relationship. Getting back in touch with your core of consciousness will remind and convince you that there is nothing wrong with you that justifies your having less than a rewarding relationship in which you can live, love, and laugh every day of your life.

Are you ready to embrace a new kind of thinking, a new belief system, a new way of looking at yourself and your partner? To see if you're ready to move forward in this book, answer the following questions.

QUESTION
Can you forget what you think you know about managing relationships?

QUESTION
Can you decide to measure the quality of your relationship based on results instead of intentions or promises?

QUESTION
Can you decide that you would rather be happy than right?

QUESTION
Can you stop playing the blame game and recognize that it is a new day?

QUESTION
Can you be willing to move your position on how you approach and engage your partner?

QUESTION
Can you be willing to get real and be honest with yourself, about yourself, no matter how painful it is?

QUESTION
Can you stop the denial and be completely, totally honest about the state of your current relationship?

I know that right now it may be difficult for many of you to honestly answer yes to all of those questions. Either way, don't give up, at least not until I tell you two very important things.

BUCKING THE TREND: YOU CAN MAKE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WORK

First: it is not too late. If you do not allow yourself to believe and accept that, you will think your way out of this relationship before we have the chance to save it. You may think your relationship has failed, you may feel like you have tried everything, you may feel tired, deflated, and defeated, but I'm telling you, you have to get that thought out of your head or you are dead in the water with an anvil tied around your ankle. No matter how many times you've been hurt--no matter how many times you've been disappointed, no matter how many times you've believed it could be different only to be blindsided again--you have to be willing to give yourself one more chance. Even if you have hurt so long and so badly that you aren't at all sure if you care whether your relationship survives; even if you're not sure you can ever subject yourself to any more pain from a relationship; even if you do not feel motivated or very hopeful, you can start getting out of your ditch if you will just say to yourself, I /Italic/ wish /Roman/ I felt good about my relationship again. That's all we need. If all you can muster in your mind and heart is to say, I wish I felt good about this relationship again, and I wish I felt lovingly toward this person again because I know that at least at one time in my life, those emotions felt good, then that is enough of an ember for us to fan into a flame.

Second: you are not alone. You might feel bewildered and demoralized right now, engulfed by the loneliness that comes with a deteriorating relationship. You may feel intimidated and overwhelmed by what may seem like insurmountable problems or hurts that tend to run so very, very deep. But I want you to know that from now on, you have a partner. You have a partner who is willing to walk with you through this intimidating maze of emotion and who is willing to interact without judgment or criticism, but with the willingness and courage to tell you the truth. I am going to be that partner for you. I have now counseled thousands of people and taught tens of thousands in seminars, helping them create and maintain the key relationships in their lives. I have learned what you know and, more important, what you don't know about sharing your life with another person. I have designed this approach to meet you at whatever point you find yourself in your relationship and give you the power to make changes--power that can come only from learning the absolute naked, unvarnished truth. Indeed, once you learn the real truth about how you got into this mess, and then once you learn what you can do to get rid of the mess, you will shudder to think you almost walked away. You are closer to success than you could ever imagine if you just have the courage to get real with yourself.

We will not proceed in a random fashion. The strategy for rescuing your relationship involves seven major steps. First, we will focus on defining and diagnosing where your relationship is now, because you will never be able to change what you do not acknowledge. Only if you are able to define specifically, precisely what is wrong with you--as well as what is wrong in your relationship--will you be able to set reasonable goals for change. I'm talking about taking your understanding about yourself and your relationship to a whole new level. It is one thing to say, It hurts; I don't like the way I feel; something is missing. It's another thing to get to what is structurally, behaviorally, philosophically, and emotionally not working. Only when you figure out what the problem is can you match a solution to it. You will be amazed at the power this knowledge gives you as you pursue the rescue of this relationship.

Second, we must rid you of wrong thinking. As I stated earlier, you haven't suffered just an absence of information; you have suffered a poisoning of your thinking by an infusion of wrong information. This wrong information--the myths that abound about relationships--have sent you down the wrong road, pursuing the wrong alternatives to poorly defined problems. If you have misdiagnosed the problem as we just discussed, and then unknowingly embraced faulty thinking in these popularized myths, you're living a life where you are resorting to the wrong treatment for the wrong problems.

Third, it will be important to blow the whistle on your own negative attitudes and behaviors and the specific ways you do irreparable harm to your own relationship--in other words, how you interact in ways that are in direct opposition to the healthy self that is defined in your core of consciousness. You can't get defensive here and start complaining about your partner, because I promise you that based on results, you are going to find plenty to fix in yourself before you ever get to focus on your partner. You either get it or you don't, and it's only when you start getting how and why your relationship is not what you want will you be able to start shaping it into what you do want. The fact that you are the focus should be great news because you can control you!

Only then, after understanding the full extent of your wrong thinking and bad attitudes and actions and the powerful impact they have on your relationship, can you move to the fourth step, which is to internalize a set of what I call Personal Relationship Values that will become the new foundation for your relational life. It's these Personal Relationship Values that lead you back to your core, emotionally tune you in to the best parts of yourself, and behaviorally set you up to give your partner positive things to respond to.

Then comes the fifth step, in which you will be taught one of the most basic and powerful formulas active at the core of human functioning: the specific formula for a successful relationship.

RED ALERT: The formula will do you no good until you've mastered the first four steps. Without completing the first four steps, you are likely to blow your chance to apply the formula effectively. Be patient enough to prepare for success. The will to win is eclipsed by the will to prepare to win. So don't jump ahead and try to work the formula. You will get there soon enough, and if you do the work, you will arrive ready.

In our sixth step, we begin the reconnection process. Many of you have allowed the connection with your partner to remain broken for many years. For others, it is simply weakening, and distance is beginning to creep in. Either way, whether preventative or remedial, this will be the time to reopen negotiations, to work through a series of critical steps in order to learn how to deal with your own needs and your partner's needs in a way that sets you up for success.

One of my mantras is that you have to name it before you can claim it. You have to decide what you really want out of your relationship, what you want from yourself and your partner--and we will learn how to do that. As part of that reconnection process, you will go through a highly structured and powerful fourteen-day program where you and your partner begin to enact your new life--where the process of reconnection actually takes place before your eyes.

Finally, in our seventh step, you will learn how to manage your relationship once you have reconnected with your partner. Let's be honest. Neither you nor your partner were born yesterday. You have lots of emotional baggage, and we will spend considerable time on how to make sure that emotional baggage gets jettisoned so you can have a fresh start and a new chance in your relationship. And to make sure you are prepared for what lies ahead in the real world, I will give you another chapter that deals with the issues that define day-to-day life in a relationship, including topics as intimate as sex and as volatile as fighting and physical abuse.

RELATIONSHIP: PROJECT STATUS

To accomplish these seven steps, you must do one thing, starting right now. You must put your relationship on what I like to call Project Status. This means that you must consciously decide to actively, purposefully work on improving your situation each and every day. I don't mean that you need to want to or intend to work on it. I mean /Italic/ do it /Roman/ , every single day. Discipline yourself to do the work. You make time for other things in your life every day--you're able to take out the trash every day, you're able to get the children to school every day, you're able to get to your job every day--and your work on your relationship should be no different. You are going to have to set aside time each day to get this relationship recharged and to do the specific things that are assigned over the course of this book. You will get out of this project what you put into this project. It may mean that you must consciously reschedule or forgo other activities in order to make the time needed to work on the relationship. It may mean that you change your long-term schedule in terms of everything from weekends to vacations to allow you to deal with the relationship's demands. Putting your relationship on Project Status means that it becomes of great conscious importance to you.

Putting your relationship on Project Status also means you must be committed for the long haul. A tried and true formula fits the need here: Be--Do--Have. Be committed, do what it takes, and you will have what you want. Don't decide to work on your relationship for some preset period of time. You have to commit to work on this until. You have to work on this until you have what you want, not until some arbitrary time limit expires. I suspect that it took you a good while to get things this screwed up, so give yourself equal time to get the relationship right.

Throughout this journey there will be setbacks, there will be pain, there will be disappointment, but there also will be change. Stay committed to facilitating that change. You have to be committed to the long-term development of an entirely new lifestyle of thought, feeling, and action. It is not enough to have some sort of desire or hope that you will develop a better relationship. You must be willing to reach down and find that long-hidden hunger for excellence that lurks somewhere inside you, and then you must be willing to unleash it.

You must take a stand that you are going to defy the odds, defy your own insecurities, and defy the conventional wisdom that has failed you so miserably. Set this personal standard for yourself from the very beginning. Adopt a philosophy of passion that says, I will not quit. I will not allow my hopes and dreams to be pushed aside. Never forget, this life is your only shot. This is no dress rehearsal. You must be willing to reach for what you want and reach right now. And if you are willing to settle for less, then that is exactly what you will get.

Finally, to be in Project Status means that you don't forget about the importance of your relationship with yourself. You must demand nothing less than the best of yourself and for yourself. You must tell yourself that it is not wrong to want it all. It is not wrong to demand dignity, love, honor, and romance in your life. You must decide that you are worthy of everything that you want. You must decide that peace, joy, and abundance in a relationship is not just for other people. It is for you. It is not selfish to want it, it is not naive to want it, and it is not immature to expect it. What /Italic/ is /Roman/ immature is to sell out and settle for less than what you really want.

It is not wrong to want, expect, demand, and aspire to a relationship in which you are treated with honor, dignity, and respect. It is not unrealistic to believe that your mate can and should be your soft place to fall. It is not a pipe dream to believe that God has provided for you another person in this world whom you can trust with your most intimate and vulnerable secrets and needs.

I am not suggesting that blind optimism or denial about the risks is the right approach. I am not telling you to pretend that there are not problems, or that they will go away. I am asking you to exercise the belief within yourself that you can do this, and that your relationship can be much better. I have often said, Sometimes we make the right decision, and sometimes we have to make the decision right. If you want the information, tools, and specific plan of action you need to make that decision right--to genuinely create change in your own life, rescue your relationship, and turn it around--then keep reading. You will find in these pages the no-nonsense but powerful strategy that can get you and your partner reconnected.

You might not like hearing about all of it. You might not like having to blow up a bunch of deceptive but highly destructive myths about what makes a relationship work, and you might not like having to confront the truth about yourself--but I predict that you will love the outcome. You will love that you will be able to reprogram yourself for success rather than failure, that you will be able to go from an individual hoping for a future to an individual making your future happen. And then both you and your partner can begin working to get what you want, to stop the pain that both of you are feeling, and to create more peace, love, and the deepest of joy in your relationship. Dr. Phil's Relationship Evaluation Exercises

(Excerpted from Chapter Two, "Defining the Problem.")

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.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 64 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2001

    Creating, Improving, and Rescuing Your Relationships

    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

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 21, 2006

    Oprah likes him, but he didn't help me

    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.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 19, 2000

    One of the books that can change life for the better

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Relationship Help

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 4, 2006

    CHANGING

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 28, 2005

    Nice work...

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 29, 2004

    Just what I needed!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 13, 2003

    Great book on Relationships

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 12, 2002

    GREAT BOOK

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 8, 2000

    Excellent

    He tells it like it is and pulls no punches. Read this book only if you can handle the truth.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 26, 2000

    Becky Whetstone says: BUY THE BOOK!!

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 3, 2013

    Wow

    Real useful information with concrete action steps.

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

    Posted October 12, 2012

    it's a workbook

    it would be nice to know that theres tons of pages where you are supposed to answer questions, reflect, etc before you purchase this where you cant write on it....very aggrivating

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I also recommend Sugar's "The Silent Crisis Destroying America's Brightest Minds"

    One day these two crusaders will meet and sparks will fly.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 22, 2004

    Values in relationships

    Any relationship can be hit by saboteurs that cause senseless damage to fragile marriages, and, like an emotional root canal, to replace them with values will provide positive results. Dr. Phil's strategy leads us on a precise journey to uncover our heart and then share it with our partner as part of taking the 'risk of intimacy.' A good read indeed, just like the 'The Power of Positive Habits' by Dan Robey, which teaches us how to 'Improve Our Relationships' Automatically.

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

    Posted January 10, 2003

    Excellent "how to" book

    If you want to improve on yourself and your relationship, this is an absolutely excellent book that tells you how to think and what to do step by step. It isn't easy but if you truly understand what Dr. Phil is saying and go through with it, your relationship will improve. If you want to have a deeper understanding of relationships and what it truly means to love, I'd also recommend Rhythm, Relationships, and Transcendence by Toru Sato

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

    Posted July 10, 2001

    A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REVISOR

    DR. PHIL HAS A GREAT TELL IT LIKE IT IS WAY. HE REALLY MAKES YOU STOP AND THINK NOT ONLY A ONE-SIDED STORY. I WOULD RECOMMEND ALL COUPLES EVEN THE ONES JUST STARTING OUT TO READ THIS BOOK.

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

    Posted July 18, 2001

    Food for Thought....

    Dr.Phil is the most refreshing voice in therapy that has come along in a great while. Not for the whiney or squeamish! Get ready to face the biggest fear you have...YOURSELF!

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

    Posted May 25, 2001

    One of the best!

    Mr. McGraw has the ability to get to the root of many relationship problems and give common-sense solutions. This book is like a slap upside the head to where you are saying: 'Ahhh, so that's why.' For a possible solution to your problem, read this book. Perry Rose, author of I Love You...Will You Marry Me?! & Women, Sex And Dating, For The Single Man.

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

    Posted April 7, 2001

    Positive and encouraging

    Dr.McGraw's book affirms the struggle in relationships and gives a helpful guide. Diagnosing is a tough early challenge; then applying the formula for health follows. Hard work, worthwhile change, then the prospect for relationship growth ahead.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)