Fighting For Your Marriage: Full Review

Top 10 Marriage Books Reviewed

Top 10 Marriage Books Reviewed

Copyright 2010. Fighting for Your Marriage comes from 30 years of experience and research in relationships.  This research and experience led to PREP (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program) an evidence based program listed on the national registry.  This may be a great program but if a professional therapist is working hard to get through the material, then how will a couple in crisis find the time to read AND implement it.  It’s over 400 pages of detailed insights on marriage.  Fighting for Your Marriage illustrates several important concepts like: 5 Steps to Save Your Marriage, The Pursuit Withdrawal Pattern, The Speaker Listener Technique, 10 Hidden Issues, and much more.  While these are useful they are only the tip of the iceberg.  This was an overwhelming amount of information to digest, it covers everything, or at least if feels like it.

The Big Ideas In Fighting For Your Marriage

Fighting for Your Marriage illustrates several important concepts like: 5 Steps to Save Your Marriage, The Pursuit Withdrawal Pattern, The Speaker Listener Technique, and 10 Hidden Issues.

5 Steps to Save Your Marriage

I. Decide Don’t Slide

II. Do Your Part

III. Make it Safe to Connect

IV. Open the Doors to Positive Connections

V. Nurture your Commitment

The Pursuit Withdrawal Pattern

The pattern has been illustrated by other people.  Here we find the emphasis is on how negatively it impacts the relationship.

  • This pattern is a major contributor to the death of many marriages
  • The withdrawer is the one feeling more anxious, less confident, fearful, insecure, and inadequate
  • The withdrawer is in need of protection and defense
  • This pattern can infect friendly talks if not properly dealt with

The Speaker Listener Technique

This is a great idea.  When someone is talking you listen.  It counteracts escalation, invalidation, bias, and pursuit withdrawal pattern.  It will take practice before you can use it with topics likely to cause conflict.

Rules for Both of You

  • The speaker has the floor
  • Share the floor
  • No problem solving, focus on good discussion

Rules for the Speaker

  • Speak for yourself
  • Don’t go on and on
  • Stop and let listener paraphrase

Rules for the Listener

  • Paraphrase what you hear
  • Don’t rebut: your job is to speak only in the service of understanding your partner

XYZ Statement

Use this statement instead of name calling and judging.  For example, instead of saying “you’re an asshole and I hope you die in your sleep” Use the format “When you do “X” in situation “Y”, I feel “Z”.  It would look like this:

When you work late with your administrative assistant, I feel cheated.

The difference is really significant.  In the first statement we don’t have much to work with.  But in the second statement we can see much more clearly what is actually wrong.

10 Hidden Issues

You argue over the same stuff as every other couple.

Top 10 Arguments

1. Money
2. Children
3. Sex
4. Communication
5. Inlaws
6. Recreation
7. Drugs & Alcohol
8. Religion
9. Careers
10. Household chores

The top 10 arguments are not the real issue.  The real issues are the hidden issues.

10 Hidden Issues:

1. Power
2. Caring
3. Recognition
4. Commitment
5. Integrity
6. Acceptance
7. Respect
8. Love
9. Trust
10. Integrity

Personal Impressions

This was an overwhelming amount of information for a marriage therapist to digest.  It was a manifesto on marriage.  It must be a daunting and debilitating read for a couple in crisis.  So, if you are married and you want a manifesto on marriage because you want to stay that way, then read this book and practice what is in it.  There are good points on communication, family of origin issues, personal bias, conflict management, nurturing love and respect, preserving and protecting your friendship, having a sacred time for your marriage relationship, forgiveness, and enhancing your sex life.  There are some really good quotes that make you think.

“The choices you make during arguments can make the difference between being happy and connected or distant and angry.”

I have made  two criticisms, first was the sheer volume of information.  I feel like this is too much.  They could have 10 books and maybe they do.  The second criticism is the pursuit withdrawal pattern.  For those early in marriage it is very important to break this cycle effectively.  Their treatment of this is slanted.  In their discussion they focus on the withdrawer and their insecurity and anxiety.  The pursuer also feels insecure and anxious but the authors don’t address this.  In some ways this feels female focused rather than marriage focused.  A more balanced discussion on this is done in How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It.  Read our review here.

Take Away

“When your partner is upset about something going on in his or her life, how do you handle it? How do you provide the support that your partner needs at these important times? When you are distressed, upset, or concerned about something going on in your life, how does your partner react? How does your partner respond?”

If you or your partner are not responding well under these circumstances it may be time to go beyond a good book.  If new ideas just aren’t making it into your daily routine and changing your life maybe Leadershop can help.  Visit our Services Page to learn more about counseling and how it can help you win the fight of your life in the midst of your life.