The Don't Sweat Guide for Couples: Ways to Be More Intimate, Loving and Stress-Free in Your Relationship


The Don't Sweat Guide for Couples shows men and women how to make their intimate relationships more joyful and stress-free while maintaining their loving connection. Addressing such concerns as:

  • Remember the One You Fell For
  • Forget to Keep Score
  • Aim for the Extraordinary
  • Be the Bright Spot in Your ...
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The Don't Sweat Guide for Couples: Ways to Be More Intimate, Loving and Stress-Free in Your Relationship

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The Don't Sweat Guide for Couples shows men and women how to make their intimate relationships more joyful and stress-free while maintaining their loving connection. Addressing such concerns as:

  • Remember the One You Fell For
  • Forget to Keep Score
  • Aim for the Extraordinary
  • Be the Bright Spot in Your Partner's Day
  • Appreciate the Benefit of a Doubt
  • Cherish the Child in Your Partner
and many more, this book provides easy-to-do, yet profoundly life-changing strategies that will teach couples how to be less reactive, how to communicate more effectively, and how to have a more peaceful and carefree relationship.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786887200
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 10/17/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 784,470
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

Richard Carlson, Ph.D., was the author of the bestselling Don't Sweat the Small Stuff series. He passed away in 2006.

Kristine Carlson has a gift for creating lifelong relationships and is very dedicated to her family, friendships, and personal growth. She loves riding horses, running, and solitude. Richard and Kris were married for over 21 years. She lives in Northern California.


Richard Carlson, whose Ph.D. is in psychology, is considered one of the foremost experts in happiness and stress-reduction around the world. He is the author of fifteen popular books including the runaway bestseller, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and It's All Small Stuff, which was named the No. 1 bestselling book in America for two consecutive years, a feat never before achieved in publishing.

Dr. Carlson has become a worldwide phenomenon as well. His books appear in over 100 countries, resulting in over 40 million people worldwide reading one of the books in the Don't Sweat series. In 1997, he was chosen by People magazine as one of the most intriguing people to watch in the world and has been a popular guest on shows such as The View, Oprah, Today, and CNN.

Author biography courtesy of Hyperion Books.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northern California
    1. Education:
      San Jose State University, Pepperdine University; Ph.D., Sierra University

Read an Excerpt

Being part of a couple, in a committed relationship, is one of life's greatest treasures. That is, if it's a good one! All kidding aside, being a couple is a true gift. It provides the opportunity for love, companionship, friendship, family, and security. But, no matter how great your relationship may be, there is probably going to be at least some stress associated with it. The very fact that two people are together lends itself to some inherent issues — the need to compromise, forgive, accept differences, and sacrifice. Sometimes you disagree or have different wants, needs, and desires. You may have different goals and priorities, and must deal with each other's issues and moods.

The editors of Don't Sweat Press have done a beautiful job in creating a guide to overcome much of the stress usually associated with being a couple. The Don't Sweat Guide for Couples is a simple, practical collection of strategies designed to give you and your partner tools to work together better, let go of things easier, and focus your attention on the love you have for each other. Often in our relationships, we use our minds in self-defeating or negative ways that encourage our love to drift away. Becoming aware of this tendency and the power of our own thinking — is a magical tool for enhancing the love we have for our partners. It helps us eliminate any negative habits that may have crept into our relationships.

I encourage you to read this book alone, or side by side with your partner. Either way, I'm guessing you're going to learn some very helpful tools.

My relationship with my wife, Kris, is such an important part of my life. The two of us are committed to doing all we can to enhance the quality of our own relationship. Many of the ideas in this book resonated in our hearts, as I hope they will in yours.

Thank you for being committed to the quality of your relationship. I hope this book is of tremendous service to you and to your partner.

Treasure the Gift of Love,
Richard Carlson

Pleasant Hill, CA, June 2001

Remember the One That You Fell For

There is a period close to the beginning of most long-term relationships when we're so swept up in the excitement of the chemistry of being in love that we don't mind the things in our partners that will later become ingredients for stress. Most of us eventually get over this rosy view. But in the process of descending from the heights of infatuation, we can sometimes move too far in the opposite direction. We are no longer blinded by love, and have to grapple with the reality of another flesh-and-blood person. It's a natural, necessary, and healthy part of love, but it feels like a loss, and it causes pain.

There's no easy cure for the stresses of life as a couple. But your view of the person with whom you share those stresses can go a long way toward affecting how important you allow the stresses to become. When you remember the hows, whys, and wherefores of falling in love with your partner, you maintain a sympathetic, appreciative perspective of that person.

The process of remembering the one that you fell for starts within you. Think back to your first glimpse of your partner. Remember the details of your partner's personality, appearance, preferences, and habits. Think about how those aspects affected you when they were all new to you, and remember what you found attractive.

Remembering the one that you fell for can also be a two-way street. Take walks with your partner down "Memory Lane." In the early days of romance, you shared some powerful emotions and exciting times. Recalling them together can bring them back into focus and even spark new life in the here and now. Celebrate special occasions by returning to old haunts that have significance for you as a couple. Pull out old photographs, laugh about happy times, and plan activities that you used to enjoy doing together. Don't seek to recreate the past, but let it feed a richer experience in the present.

In short, make your shared history a powerful tool for a happier, more satisfying life with your partner. In the process, you'll free up room for a love that continues to grow and deepen.

Read the Same Book

It takes time for people to grow apart. It is the culmination of hundreds of separate choices made without reference to the health of the relationship. The partners go their own ways in activities that are most engaging, and save the mundane things for togetherness. The relationship can become associated with boredom and tedium.

In the same way, it takes time for people to build a strong foundation of mutual growth and vitality. This is meaningful time that a couple chooses to spend together in pursuits that are stimulating and challenging. Growing together instead of apart requires that you share life's learning curves with your partner, day after day, in a variety of ways.

Perhaps your partner plays golf, runs, skis, or boats. You may not have any background in these activities, but you can certainly learn. You may not have the physical ability or find that an activity doesn't grow on you. But you can appreciate what it takes, and be an active supporter in a variety of ways. Your partner's area of strength may be intellectual; it may be artistic; it may lie in home maintenance. Just participating alongside your partner gives you the opportunity to learn new skills and appreciate more about your loved one.

By the same token, share your own strengths. It may seem easier and more efficient to avoid the explanations and coaching time involved in sharing your strengths with your partner, but ease and efficiency don't necessarily feed mutual growth.

If you're both readers, read the same book, either separately or aloud to one another. Talk about your reactions to it. The content of the book becomes a shared experience that draws you together. Take up a new activity that neither of you has tried or mastered already. Sign up for dancing lessons or join a bicycling group. If you enjoy travel and have the means, plan trips to places neither of you have visited. If you're social types, make new friends in common.

With each choice to learn and grow together, you build a history of mutual support and an inventory of engaging activities that bond you and make you interesting to one another. By comparison, the things that lead to stress and friction will be boring. You won't want to expend any energy on them.

Be a Friend

Life partners do not necessarily treat one another as the friends they could or should be. There can be many reasons for this, but the net result is that these people have better friendships outside of their relationship than they do with their loved one.

It need not be this way. You can change an unsatisfying status quo. To begin, be the kind of friend to your partner that you would like to have. Stand close in support when times are tough, lend a shoulder to cry on in circumstances of sorrow, and offer a sympathetic ear when life is confusing. Congratulate your partner on success, and extend the benefit of a doubt when you don't understand what's going on. Maintain and express your confidence in your partner. In the act of being a friend, you will earn the right to have a friend in your partner.

You must also teach your partner how to be your friend in romance. Find a non-accusatory a way of communicating. Rather than expressing yourself in terms of "You never . . . " or "I wish you would . . ." focus on "It would mean a lot to me if . . ." or "One of the needs I have is . . ." In this way, you acknowledge that the needs are yours, and you allow your partner to make a gift of friendship to you.

When you extend friendship to your partner and you are rebuffed, you may want to take another look at your act of friendship. Are you focusing on what is important to your partner, or are you stubbornly offering only what you feel like offering? Are you treating your partner the way that you treat other close friends? Finally, have you taken into consideration any anger or pain that may be getting in the way? Sometimes the forward motion of a friendship is stalled because some necessary apologies were never made.

There's little in life that adds as much joy as a solid, supportive friendship with the person you've chosen as a partner. If you express what friendship means to you and pursue it explicitly in the context of friendship, you can move past the petty reactions that have grown out of wishing for it. Concentrate on attacking the problem at the source of the trouble, and the symptoms will take care of themselves.

Copyright © 2001 Carlson, LLC

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Table of Contents

Foreword 11
1. Remember the One That You Fell For 15
2. Read the Same Book 17
3. Be a Friend 19
4. Sing in the Shower 21
5. Turn Ruts into Rituals 23
6. Wait for the End of the Sentence 25
7. Learn Sign Language 27
8. Practice Praise 29
9. Share the Sandbox 31
10. Remember That Pigeonholes Are for the Birds! 33
11. Expect Surprises 35
12. Appreciate the Benefits of a Doubt 37
13. Study the "Who's Who" of Living Together 39
14. Find a Room of Your Own 41
15. Lose the Laundry List 43
16. Appreciate the Present 45
17. Expect to Learn 47
18. Speak Your Mind--No One Will Read It 49
19. Be the Bright Spot in Your Partner's Day 51
20. Know Your Limits 53
21. Have an Adventure Together 55
22. Give When It's Least Expected 57
23. Turn Differences into Complements 59
24. Lengthen Your Fuse 61
25. Love with an Open Hand 63
26. Cherish the Child in Your Partner 65
27. Try on a Different Pair of Shoes 67
28. Live the Life That You Always Hoped to Have 69
29. Build Bridges Instead of Walls 71
30. Emphasize the Estimable 73
31. Fly in Formation 75
32. Choose Where You Are 77
33. Forget to Keep Score 79
34. Make the First Move 81
35. Learn to Breathe 83
36. Think with Your Heart, Feel with Your Head 85
37. Aim for the Extraordinary 87
38. Extend Your Reach 89
39. Know Who You Are 91
40. Be a Cheerleader Instead of a Critic 93
41. Assume Nothing but the Best 95
42. Create an Atmosphere of Tolerance 97
43. Don't Pick the Scabs 99
44. Laugh Easily 101
45. Learn the Art of the Strategic Retreat 103
46. Lend a Hand Once a Day 105
47. Be the Partner That You'd Like to Have 107
48. Find Reasons to Say Thank You 109
49. Bend When the Wind Blows 111
50. Savor Every Bite 113
51. Take No Prisoners 115
52. Divide the Labor 117
53. Take a Break 119
54. Change the Scenery 121
55. Give More Than Necessary 123
56. Banish the Bogeymen 125
57. Be Your Own Best Friend 127
58. Honor Your Secret Knowledge 129
59. Throw a Snowball 131
60. Renew Your Promises 133
61. Define Common Space 135
62. Take a Bird's-Eye View 137
63. Plant a Tree 139
64. Retrain the Knee-Jerk Reactions 141
65. Be a Haven 143
66. Keep the Back Door Open 145
67. Talk with Your Hands 147
68. Don't Sweat the Tides 149
69. Do What You Love 151
70. Honor Your Partner's Roots 153
71. Turn Down the Volume 155
72. Admit It! 157
73. Delete "Failure" from Your Vocabulary 159
74. Listen with Your Other Ears 161
75. Tend to Your Business 163
76. Institute the "Time-Out" Strategy 165
77. Be Ready for Bright Ideas 167
78. Nuture Your Body 169
79. Nourish Your Spirit 171
80. Exercise Your Intellect 173
81. Share Your Offspring 175
82. Honor Your Own Roots 177
83. Maintain Some Mystery 179
84. Promote Pillow Talk 181
85. Make Meals into Dates 183
86. Once a Month, Trade Jobs 185
87. Volunteer Together 187
88. Sort, Dispose, and Donate 189
89. When in Doubt, Make Up 191
90. Listen Between the Lines 193
91. Test Your Judgment 195
92. Articulate Your "Ouches" 197
93. Resist Humor at Your Partner's Expense 199
94. Remember Love 201
95. Believe in the Power of One 203
96. Go Mountain Climbing 205
97. Delete the Negative 207
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2002

    A Blessing

    From an avid reader, this is hands-down my most prized book. It is wonderfully digestible and surprisingly practical and *so* easy to apply. Many thanks to the author.

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    Posted June 27, 2010

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