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It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse-and How You Can, Too

It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse-and How You Can, Too

by Winifred M. Reilly


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With a focus on self-empowerment and resilience, this refreshing and witty relationship guide has a reassuring counterintuitive message for unhappy spouses: you only need one partner to initiate far-reaching positive change in a marriage.

Conventional wisdom says that “it takes two” to turn a troubled marriage around and that both partners must have a shared commitment to change. So when couples can’t agree on how—or whether—to make their marriage better, many give up or settle for a less-than-satisfying marriage (or think the only way out is divorce).

Fortunately, there is an alternative. “What distinguishes Reilly’s book is that she says a warring couple don’t have to agree on the goal of staying together; it takes one person changing, not both, to make a marriage work” (The New York Times).

Marriage and family therapist Winifred Reilly has this message for struggling partners: Take the lead. Doing so is effective—and powerful. Through Reilly’s own story of reclaiming her now nearly forty-year marriage, along with anecdotes from many clients she’s worked with, you’ll learn how to:

-Focus on your own behaviors and change them in ways that make you feel good about yourself and your marriage
-Take a firm stand for what truly matters to you without arguing, cajoling, or resorting to threats
-Identify the “big picture” issues at the basis of your repetitive fights—and learn how to unhook from them
-Be less reactive, especially in the face of your spouse’s provocations
-Develop the strength and stamina to be the sole agent of change

Combining psychological theory, practical advice, and personal narrative, It Takes One to Tango is a “wise and uplifting” (Dr. Ellyn Bader, Director of The Couples Institute) guide that will empower those who choose to take a bold, proactive approach to creating a loving and lasting marriage.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501125867
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 498,302
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Winifred M. Reilly is a marriage and family therapist, with a private practice in Berkeley, California. In her thirty-five years of clinical practice she has treated hundreds of couples—many of whom felt certain they were headed for divorce. Winifred has been a guest lecturer on marriage and sexuality, and her writing has appeared on Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, xoJane, and on her relationship advice blog, Speaking of Marriage. She is the author of It Takes One to Tango.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

Introduction xv

Part 1 For Better-Or Worse: How to Identify the Real Problem in Your Relationship 1

1 What in the World Did "I Do"? 3

Marriage may be challenging, but it isn't impossible

2 Why Marriage Can be so Hard 17

We're playing a game, and we don't even understand the rules

3 Don't be Afraid to Change First 44

How to become the front-runner for change in your marriage

Part 2 Now What Do I Do?: How to Implement Change by Yourself 69

4 It Gets a Lot Easier Once You Know What to Fix 71

If what you're doing isn't working, try something new

5 Keep Your Anxiety from Running the Show 90

Strengthen your tolerance for the things that push your buttons

What Happens Once You Calm Down? 111

Growing separately, together

7 The Big Picture 140

How to recognize what you're really fighting about

8 We All Play a Part 164

You have more power than you think

9 Marriage Is a Choice 181

Making peace with the little (and even big) things that drive us nuts

10 Hidden in Plain Sigh 194

How we get unhooked from our big-picture issues

Part 3 Welcome to Your Stronger, More Loving Relationship: How to Keep Learning and Growing-Separately and Together

11 360 Degrees and Sunny 219

The surprising truth about what makes happy couples happy

12 It Takes One to Tango 238

A pep talk for your journey

Acknowledgments 251

Appendix: Typical and Normal Ways People Avoid Differentiation 255

Notes 257

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