Getting the Love You Want: Full Review

Copyright 1988

Getting the love you want is a program designed to help couples eliminate negativity, create safety, and develop intimacy in a 10 session timeline.  There are issues and themes explained here that resonate like many of the other books on the Top 10 Marriage Books Reviewed.  What is helpful is this: within marriage you have the opportunity to heal your hurts, serve one another, and become whole in ways that no other relationship will facilitate.  Most people are too fearful to take on such a task so their marriage never fulfills their healing potential.  I think this book tries to explain how marriage can heal your deepest wounds.

Key Points

“People choose mates with complementary traits.  What people are doing in these yin/yang matches is trying to reclaim their lost selves by proxy.”  The lost self is the idea that we disowned part of our self in childhood because our caretakers couldn’t except and affirm it for some reason.  Let’s face it, we get upset with our kids over how they act like us.  It is our stuff manifest in them that we find most disturbing.  So we punish them for being us.  This disowned part is what we need to reclaim and we hope that our spouse can help us do that. Unfortunately, we have matched our spouse to an image of our caregiver, the type that is least likely to give us what we need.

What does this mean as the spouse?  Well, this person has disowned a part of themselves and for their own growth they need to reclaim it.  So, we end up with this complimentary relationship where one person receives love and grows in their ability to stretch into doing new things and vice versa.  With the lens fixed on marriage, rather than individuals, we can clearly see the beauty of the whole.  Marriage holds the opportunity for wholeness where each person is completing the other.

These things are happening on a deep level, one in which we are not fully aware.  The path forward is to make a partnership that is mysterious something that we consciously engage in. There are 10 characteristics to a partnership that is conscious and intentional.

10 Characteristics of Conscious Partnership

  1. You realize that your love relationship has a hidden purpose- the healing of childhood wounds.
  2. You create a more accurate image of your partner.
  3. You take responsibility for communicating your needs and desires to your partner.
  4. You become more intentional in your interactions.
  5. You learn to value your partner’s needs and wishes as highly as you value your own.
  6. You embrace the dark side of your personality.
  7. You learn techniques to satisfy your basic needs and desires.
  8. You search within yourself for the strength and abilities you are lacking.
  9. You become more aware of your drive to be loving and whole and united with the universe.
  10. You accept the difficulty of creating a lasting love relationship.

This book has been around through many trends in the marriage self-help industry.  It shows it’s age when they try to blend Freudian psychoanalysis with modern neuroscience.  I appreciate the humility in the various editions.  Harville Hendrix tells you what exercises worked and which ones didn’t and why they changed them over the years.  This book is filled with exercises and communication how-to’s.  I wouldn’t do most of them as a therapist let alone as a participant, and God forbid I have to do the “holding exercise” in public.  They are too “California” for me.  These criticisms are about my insecurities and anxieties.

Leaders Take-Away

Marriage Can Heal

“Stop criticizing your partner’s divergence from your ideal and start learning how to connect.”  Think about this, you and I criticize others for doing things differently than we do.  Stop your negativity, criticism, and contempt.  Leaders recognize that it takes screwing things up to produce something.  The people who never make mistakes never get anything done.  One of the keys to leadership is appreciating what other people bring to the table and how you can help bring out what they don’t even know they have to offer.  Be accepting and encouraging.

Finally, consider what it really costs to spend your life acting.  Many couples have already divorced, they just don’t know it yet.  They remain married and are living separate lives for the children, the money, security and the fear of what others will think.  This is called the Invisible Divorce.  Their partnership is a business arrangement not a whole and healing marriage.  Do what you must to bring your secrets into the light and work on your marriage.

If new ideas just don’t seem to transform your marriage in the midst of daily live then maybe we can help.  Visit our services page to learn more about Marriage counseling at Leadershop.