Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition
Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition

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When Harville Hendrix writes about relationships, he discusses them not just as an educator and a therapist, but as a man who has himself been through a failed marriage. Hendrix felt the sting of his divorce intensely because he believed it signaled not only his failure as a husband but also his failure as a couples counselor. Investigating why his marriage dissolved led him to start looking into the psychology of love. Marriage, he ultimately discovered, is the "practice of becoming passionate friends."

As a result of his research, Hendrix created a therapy he calls Imago Relationship Therapy. In it, he combines what he's learned in a number of disciplines, including the behavioral sciences, depth psychology, cognitive therapy, and Gestalt therapy, to name just a few. He expounds upon this approach in Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples. His purpose in writing the book, he says, is "to share with you what I have learned about the psychology of love relationships, and to help you transform your relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship."

Divided into three sections, the book covers "The Unconscious Marriage," which details a marriage in which the remaining desires and behavior of childhood interfere with the current relationship; "The Conscious Marriage," which shows a marriage that fulfils those childhood needs in a positive manner; and a 10-week "course in relationship therapy, " which gives detailed exercises for you and your partner to follow in order to learn how to "replace confrontation and criticism ... with a healing process of mutual growth and support." The text is occasionally dry and technical; however, the information provided is valuable, the case studies are interesting, and the exercises are revealing and helpful. By utilizing his program, Hendrix hopes you too will be able to solve your marital difficulties without the expense of a therapist. --Jenny Brown

This national bestselling breakthrough guide (more than 400,000 copies sold in both editions) offers a realistic and accessible program to help couples heal one another and become whole together.

In Getting the Love You Want, Dr. Harville Hendrix presents the relationship skills that have already helped hundreds of thousands of couples to replace confrontation and criticism with a healing process of mutual growth and support. This extraordinary practical guide describes the revolutionary technique of Imago Relationship Therapy, which combines a number of disciplines--including the behavioral sciences, depth psychology, cognitive therapy, and Gestalt therapy, among others--to create a program to resolve conflict and renew communication and passion.
Getting the Love You Want describes the three stages of intimate relationships, provides illustrative case studies and gives helpful recommendations to overcome the obstacles in those stages to create a stronger bond between couples. First, he chronicles the stages of most relationships-attraction, romantic love and the power struggle-and suggests ways for partners to identify the conflicts associated with each of them. Then, he explores methods for achieving a "Conscious Marriage," where the early phases of romance are rekindled and confrontation is slowly replaced by growth and support. Finally, Dr. Hendrix incorporates these ideas into a unique therapeutic course, offering a series of proven exercises that lead to insight, resolution and revitalization. Step by step, he describes how to communicate with greater accuracy and sensitivity, how to let go of self-defeating behaviors, and how to focus energy on meeting each partners' needs.
With Getting the Love You Want couples in any stage of a relationship can resolve their conflicts and achieve mutual emotional satisfaction.

Customer Reviews:

  • Excellent book
    Harville is an excellent psychologist, a man of faith (but not fanatic), and very smart. My father in law gave me this book as a gift because we were dealing with the trauma of having an autistic boy. I gave this book to a behaviorist friend who loved it as a professional and as a wife. ...more info
  • Getting the Love You Want
    Very interesting ideas and a good read. Some examples:

    p3 The type of human being we prefer reveals the contours of our heart - Ortega Gasset

    p8 Most of us underestimate the scope of the unconscious mind (analogous to the stars in the sky that `come out at night).

    Brain structure:

    Brain Stem - Physical action (breathing, blood circulation, etc)

    Limbic system - generate vivid emotions

    Old Brain = Brain Stem + Limbic System. Main concern is self-preservation: "Is it safe?"

    Cerebral Cortex = New Brain - Cognitive functions; i.e., Conscious, alert, makes decisions, thinks, observes, plans, anticipates, responds, organizes, information, creates ideas - the part of your mind you think of as "You".

    The New Brain directly perceives the outside world. The Old Brain gets images, symbols and thoughts produced by the New Brain in broad categories: Is this someone to nurture, be nurtured by, have sex with, run away from, submit to, or attack.

    The Old Brian has no sense of linear time. Today, tomorrow, yesterday do not exist, everything that was, still is.

    Old Brain issues: Abandonment, Me vs. You Boundaries (Fusers vs. Isolators), Life & Death (we expect the outside world to take care of us),

    P12 In mate selection, we are looking for someone with a very specific set of positive and negative traits - we are looking for the people who raised us so we can heal old childhood wounds.

    The ultimate reason you fell in love with your mate, I am suggesting, is not that your mate was young and beautiful, had an impressive job, had a point value equal to yours, or had a kind disposition. You fell in love because your Old Brain had your partner confused with your parents! Your Old Brain believed that it had finally found the ideal candidate to make up for the psychological and emotional damage you experienced in childhood.

    P15 Eros = Life force

    P31 You Imago is a composite picture of the people who influenced you most strongly at an early age. A part of your brain recorded everything about them

    P55 Unconsciously, we want our partners to love us the way our parents never did - to satisfy unmet childhood needs, complement lost self-parts, nurture us in a consistent and loving way, and be eternally available to us.

    P62 People react to their partners as if they were carbon copies of their parents (or the people who raised them), even if all of their traits are not the same. In their compelling need to work on unfinished business, they project the missing parental traits onto their partners. Then, by treating their partners as if they actually had these traits, they manage to provoke the desired response. A colleague of mine claims that people either "pick imago matches, project them, or provoke them".

    P63 The Imago is not only an inner image of what we want in the opposite sex; it is also a description of our disowned self; i.e. our dark side - the parts of our being we try to ignore, the traits we disliked in our parents.

    P64 People try to exorcise their denied negative traits by projecting them onto their mates. They look at their partners and criticize all the things they dislike and deny in themselves. Taking a negative trait and attributing it to their partner is a remarkably effective way to obscure a not-so-desirable part of the self.

    P65 Elements of the Power Struggle:

    1. We stir up each other's repressed behaviors and feelings.
    2. Reinjure each other's childhood wounds
    3. Project their own negative traits onto each other.

    P65 What makes us believe that hurting their partner will make them behave more pleasantly? Why don't people simply tell each other in plain English that they want more affection or attention or lovemaking or freedom or whatever it is that they are craving? Answer - When we were babies we didn't smile at our Mothers to get them to take care of us - we screamed! The success of this tactic was turned into an imprint about how to get the world to respond to our needs. "When you are frustrated, provoke the people around you. Be as unpleasant as possible until someone comes to your rescue and figures out what your problem is.

    P67 Stages of the Power Struggle:

    1. Shock (the long anticipated healing is not to be)
    2. Denial (see things in the best light possible)
    3. Anger (either your partner has changed or your were deceived all along)
    4. Bargaining (I'll be nicer it you'll be smarter)
    5. Despair (try to find happiness outside the marriage)

    P73 It's the Old Brain that is responsible for our infantile response to frustration, the `cry or criticize' response that only results in further alienation.

    P75 In most interactions with your partner, you are actually safer when you lower your defenses than when you keep them engaged, because your partner becomes an ally, not an enemy.

    P76 Ten Characteristics of a Conscious Marriage:

    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 - they are not your parents, or your negative traits. They are not your Savior, but another wounded human being struggling to be whole.
    3. You take responsibility for communicating your needs and desires to your partner.
    4. You become more intentional in your interactions - be more constructive.
    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 new 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 good marriage. In an Unconscious Marriage you believe you have to find the right partner. In a Conscious Marriage you realize you have to be the right partner.

    P78 All the people in the world are strangers. If you want a friend, you're going to have to go out and make one.

    P79 Some people are caught up in concepts and ideas, not feelings. They hid their vulnerability behind their formidable intellect, which prevents any genuine intimacy.

    P84 Most of us go thru married life as if we were asleep, engaging in routine interactions that give us little pleasure. We have forgotten who we are. We come into the world blazing trails of glory, but the fire is soon extinguished, and we lose sight of the fact we are whole spiritual beings. We live impoverished, repetitious; unrewarding lives and blame our partners for our unhappiness.

    It is only when we see marriage as a vehicle for change and self-growth that we can begin to satisfy our unconscious yearnings.

    P89 What is your vision for your marriage? What would you like it to be like? E.g.

    1. We enjoy each other's company
    2. We are financially secure
    3. We spend time together doing things we both enjoy
    4. We settle our differences peacefully
    5. We have satisfying and beautiful sex
    6. We are healthy and physically active
    7. We communicate easily and openly
    8. We meditate together
    9. We are each other's best friend
    10. We trust each other
    11. We work well together
    12. We share important decisions
    13. We meet each others deepest needs
    14. We have daily private time

    P93 Why do people spend so much time avoiding intimacy? Anger and Fear. "I am angry with you for not meeting my needs", and fear of pain.

    P108 People who grew up experiencing a great deal of repression tend to have a particularly hard time with the Reromanticizing exercise. They have difficulty coming up with any requests, or they sabotage their partner's efforts to carry them out. They are hiding behind the psychic shield they erected as children to protect themselves from overbearing parents.

    P149 Love and Anger are two sides of the same coin. We feel joyful and loving when our life force (Holiness) is allowed to flourish. We become angry when it is thwarted. We become angry when the promise of life is denied.

    P186 Focus on yourself. You should realize that what you are doing for your partner is what you're doing for yourself. It's about your personal growth. When you stretch to meet one of your spouses needs, you are reclaiming part of yourself.

    ...more info
  • Must-read for anyone considering marriage
    I got this book at church and highly recommend it. Hendrix delves into the mysteries of relationships and marriage with a practical look at why some work while others don't. I was prepared to reject this book as yet another shallow-self aid for couples but lost all skepticism within the very first chapter. Hendrix's advice is all the more personal because he discusses his own failed marriage frankly and it's clear that he can sympathize with the pain some couples face because he's been there himself.

    If you're a person who avoids professional counseling because you can't relate to a "pro" who clearly hasn't had a single bad thing happen in his own life or marriage, then this book is DEFINITELY for you. I found the chapters on dealing with the
    baggage of abusive relationships both invaluable and compassionate. Highly recommend this book to anyone who needs help, and I hope more churches, like mine, use it as a resource because it speaks to REAL PEOPLE....more info
  • What you lacked in childhood effects who you are now
    What you lacked in childhood effects who you are now - that is what this book is based on. Some people hate that theory. I was indifferent about it.

    It did have some valid points - but it was no life changing lesson in my opinion. However, we are seperated, so maybe our mind-sets are different....more info
  • Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!
    I read this book, and after talking it up to my husband, he asked me to get him the book on CD so he could listen on his commute to and from work. The lessons you learn not only about your relationship, but about yourself make this an indispensable addition to any library. You don't need to be in a crisis situation to benefit from the information in this book--it will add depth to even the best of relationships. You learn about such things as "exits" (I'm the queen of exits, and have slowly omitted them from my daily life--in great thanks to this book) and addresses the reasons we behave as we do, and why we chose the partners we have chosen. Not in any condescension or "you need therapy" way, it shows us how we were programmed either through relationships as kids or rules (such as in religion) to believe and accept certain things--and to even set us up to be where we are now. The weekend IMAGO workshops aren't available to all of us (especially with the costs involved) and these books walk you through the exercises and lessons you'd receive in the weekend retreat. I loved this book so much I ordered his entire line of books and correlating workbooks. Fabulous!!! ...more info
  • Criticism
    The number one rule of all time here is NEVER CRITICIZE. The good doctor says there is no such thing as "constructive criticism" where a spouse is concerned. I have used that advice in mothering my children and found it to work wonders.
    ...more info
  • This has helped many
    I read this book 15 years ago and it completely changed my life. I have over the years lent it out to many friends, who found this book tremendously helpful themselves. Unfortunatly, someone did not return it and because I love this book so much, I am purchasing another copy so I will always have it. This book is worth the purchase, even for singles....more info
  • Relationships in simple language
    This book is great because it tells you in simple languiage things you would have enver thought of about your partner and yourself and how they impact you today. Couples should read it together. There is so much to benefit from....more info
  • 4 Moms
    This book was for my mother. She says, It was helpful in her relationship....more info
  • Important Text for the Marriage and Family Therapist
    For the Marriage and Family Therapist, this is, of course, the main book you should read when learning about IMAGO relationship therapy. Even if IMAGO isn't your main orientation when it comes to couples counseling, it is still an absolute must read. It offers a great perspective on why couples choose the partners they choose and how to find both healing and growth in those relationships. There is very practical advice on ways to frame information that makes sense to couples. I have found this very helpful in my work with couples - they really grasp onto the concepts and it helps them deepen their work with their partner.

    Claudia F. Alabiso, M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy
    Metropolitan Marriage and Family Therapy
    Founder: Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT
    280 Madison Ave, Ste 208
    New York, NY 10016
    [...]...more info
  • Open Communication
    Couples will benefit from reading this book together. You'll learn how to relate to each other and communicate better.
    ...more info
  • Helpful and Insightful
    Be prepared for a lot of explanation in the first few chapters of this book. I was almost deterred by this, but so glad I continued reading. Hendrix offers a lot of insightful information and helpful tactics in chapters that follow the explanations at the beginning. This helped me and in turn, helped me preserve a good relationship.
    Hendrix explains things in an intelligent, though easy-to-understand way and gives the reader hope.

    Highly recommended!...more info
  • Wow! I'm blown away by this book!
    After being repeatedly amazed by the contents of his other book, Keeping the Love You Find, I finally decided to read Dr. Hendrix's book for couples. As a single individual, I was utterly impressed by the author's discoveries about relationships, which was backed up by data from science and psychology. I couldn't put the book down! This is a must read for singles and couples alike. For singles, this book contains treasures that would prepare us for dating and relationships. The only condition this book requests from us is that we should have the willingness and motivation to grow and change to better ourselves, our partners and our relationships. We should be courageous enough to rise above our conditioning and discomfort and try new behaviors that would ultimately bring forth spiritual growth. This book will provide you with wonderful insights about relationships and specific strategies that would help facilitate growth. Thank you Dr. Hendrix for sharing your wisdom. This is the best relationships book around!

    ...more info
  • Worth reading and go further than this!
    Like the author, I too am a qualified counsellor (with thirty years experience) and have also survived the break up of a first marriage. We married very young; however, neither my former husband nor myself ever considered our marriage a "failure" because we both learned a lot about ourselves both during the twenty plus years we spent together and during the break-up of the marriage. Had it not been for lessons learned, perhaps I would never have found the true and lasting love I have today.
    The author is quite correct in saying the relationships and events of our childhood play a major role in determining the type of person we are today, and those same experiences can and do influence our relationships either in a positive or negative manner. He is also correct in saying that the majority of long and lasting relationships do begin as "passionate friends." Partners not only have to love each other, they have to like each other, have the same goals, share the same views for raising children, and share their feelings. Good communication, honesty and respect for each other's feelings is is a must! Lust, passion and hormones running on high are enough to make any new relationship seem like "the love of a lifetime," but, alas, it is going to take a lot more than hormones to withstand life's trials and tribulations. Hendrix is right on the mark with the words of wisdom and advice he gives in this book. From my many years experience as a counsellor, I have found that individuals who fail to realize the value of book such as this, are usually the ones who need the help the most...or else why would they be reading the book in the first place? This will definitely be a book that will be highly recommended to those seeking quality self-help material. I also highly recommend - Become a Total Man Magnet: Make Every Man Fall in Love with You Instantly - Make Him Chase You Down Desperately and Beg for Attention

    ...more info
  • excellent information
    This is a great book and it contains excellent information to bring a relationship back to a healthy one, but it won't work unless both are willing to read the book and work on the relationship. Another book that has a more gentle approach, but is just as direct touching sensitive areas of one's life, and I highly recommend this book....more info
  • Getting the love you want.
    Harville's approach to relationships helps you find out who you are and how you love. I recommend this to friends all the time....more info
  • Best relationship book
    I'm a therapist and it's the best relationship book I've ever read. It has helped personally and professionally. I recommend it to all couples and anyone wanting to understand and work on having better partner relationships....more info
  • Critical Review by Tim Kellis
    Getting The Love You Want, A Guide For Couples
    By Harville Hendrix, PhD.


    A relationship book that has sold extremely well is Getting The Love You Want, A Guide For Couples by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. Dr. Hendrix has been a featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She introduced him as the best marital therapist she has ever known. So does the esteemed Dr. impart some wonderful wisdom that really helps relationships overcome their difficulties? Well, yes and no.

    The first statement he makes in his book that is yet to be understood in mainstream psychology is the position of the therapist in therapy. Because of Freud's ego the therapist has maintained a position of status over a patient that has yet to be rescinded. If the industry were to understand this notion, then the path would be cleared for understanding the objective of therapy, balancing the ego. Dr. Hendrix's wife actually realizes what their concept does when she states "you're shifting the emphasis to the relationship between the couple, not the relationship between the client and the therapist." Way to go Helen! Freud is probably turning over in his grave. To him, the individual patient was insignificant.


    So what major breakthrough does he offer the reader? To his credit, Dr. Hendrix fully understands the impact parents have on the individual. He realizes that if one or both parents were either too loving or too remote then the child grows up to be a wounded adult, the personal history of the individual is the cause of the trouble in the marriage. What he does with this knowledge unfortunately does not help the reader other than pointing out this fact. Dr. Hendrix is also blinded by his heritage, the heritage of Sigmund Freud.

    He, too, falls into the biology trap. "...we instinctively select mates who will enhance the survival of the species. Men are drawn to classically beautiful women...Women select mates...with pronounced `alpha' qualities, the ability to dominate other males and bring home more than their share of the kill." He does at least admit, "We select mates who are more or less our equals." This, though, is the last you read about equality.

    To him, the process of the relationship is nothing more than biological. He defines the processes as romantic love, the power struggle, transformation, and "spontaneous oscillation." What is "spontaneous oscillation?" Friendship! Yes, the objective of the relationship, according to him, is not love and happiness, but friendship. Argue until you become friends.

    At least he is not pontificating a dulling of the emotions. He even explains romantic love from a biological perspective, and what changes romantic love. "Scientists can't explain the release of these potent chemicals [that are released in our brains when we fall in love], or what causes them to diminish." Jung would call them the psychic energy called the anima and the animus. Falling in love is not a biological phenomenon.

    And how does he develop his theory of childhood development? He argues we develop biologically, of course. He states that as children we develop our "old brain" as children, which causes the problems as adults. Does he then explain the only way to overcome our childhood traumas is by forgiving them? No, we cannot change our biological makeup.

    What he does explain is that when we reach adulthood and find a mate we unconsciously choose someone who has the same negative character traits as our negative parents.

    Unfortunately, here is where the logic becomes illogical. He does state when we find a mate we hide our insecurities. We reveal our "false selves" in new relationships when we have insecurities. "One bit of make-believe in which virtually all lovers engage is trying to appear to be more emotionally healthy than they really are." What is so illogical about this point in the relationship is that because people with insecurities hide their insecurities until they become comfortable enough to expose them is, "how do you know that the person you fell in love with had the same insecurities that your parents had?" You don't! The insecurities are not revealed until the arguments begin. Dr. Hendrix rationalizes arguments by stating you were looking for them in the first place!

    How does he tiptoe around the subject? "It's impossible to define precisely when the [power struggle] stages occur." This is another perfect example of a cop-out for trying to resolve the arguments in the first place.
    Harville doesn't seem to grasp the objective of the positive relationship is to behave equally, not letting the relationship degrade into the power struggle. This "stage" is the figurative fork-in-the-road; you either take the road to happiness or the road to unhappiness, which is paved with the power struggle.

    In an example of the illogic of a psychologist, Dr. Hendrix makes a statement about his patients using the term always and never by saying this is a "clear indication that [the patient] was in a regressive state," which he then follows by stating his belief that "all people have a dark side to their nature, a part of their being that they try to ignore." How does he know that everyonehas a dark side?

    Until we explain the cause of anger we will not resolve the problems in our relationships. Does he explain the psychology behind the relationship? He doesn't need to explain our relationships from a psychological perspective. In his mind, we are simply biological beings.

    by Tim Kellis...more info
  • My immediate recommendation for anyone who is about to marry .. wish someone had done that for me.
    This book was prescribed for me in my first year of my now 7 year marriage. It highlighted many mysteries and removed many of my mythical but un-useful beliefs about 'the power of love.' It is remarkable in its power to change and its simplicity. Some of the insights have been applicable to all aspects of my life. I look back with real gratitude for the insights I gained from this book. I've often recommended the book to others, always with positive feedback....more info
  • Imago is amazing!
    I read the original edition which is probably almost identical as the Anniversary Edition. I really identified with the book and the concepts. I have to say this... the book is good but there is a big difference between reading the book and practicing Imago. My wife and I went to see an Imago Coach and for 90 minutes practiced what was in the book. The coach helped to create a safe space for us to dialogue and lead us through the process. It was amazing! It was all about connection. That is what it is all about...connection. It was truly amazing as I was invited into my wife's world as a visitor. My job was only to observe and mirror( and later validate and empathize). And we kept digging deeper into the story and arrived at her childhood, the root of the strong emotional response to something I did. It was not about me, but what I did reminded her "old" brain of a past incident that was very scary as a child. Her "old" brain's job is to protect and to keep her alive. As a child that incident was a life or death situation (or seemed like it), but as an adult it is not. The old brain doesn't know that she is no longer a child, so it sounds the alarm and that is where sometimes intense reactions can come from. It was a real honor to step into her world and see it through her eyes. It gave me such insight into what was really going on. It also gave her insight so that when that "old" brain sounds the danger alarm she doesn't have react because she knows what it is about. Every session we went to was well worth the money; we got so much out of each session. We also went to two workshops on Imago and those were excellent as well. So my point is that the book is good, but actually doing what is in the book is amazing and life changing. It's the difference between reading a book about hang-gliding and actually doing it. Think of this book as an introduction, but following it up with seeing an Imago coach (therapist) or going to a workshop. It's NOT about blaming our parents and not taking responsibility for our lives and actions. It's about self-discovery and about discovery of your partner. It's about becoming being whole. It's about connection. Love it.

    [...]...more info
  • Getting the Love you Want
    This is a real eyeopener because it really explains why we are like we are. Very thought provoking but so easy to understand and put into practice. Thanks for recommending it - I only got it in the first place because it was cheap but I am so happy that I did - it has been very enlightening. Thanks....more info
  • A must-have for healthy relationships
    This seems to be the definitive book on how to *be* the right partner in your romantic relationships. It's also an eye-opening epiphany about why we seek and ineffectively try to demand certain qualities in our partners. Many adolescents would benefit from knowing this information early in their dating lives (but I wonder if it would be meaningful to readers without a painful history of mistakes behind them). I withhold the last star because I'm annoyed by the author's tone in the first several chapters -- he would have done better to talk about one's tendency to recreate childhood dynamics in adult relationships. Instead, he was heavy-handed and unnecessarily absolute in his premise that everyone subconsciously selects a partner similar to one's caretaker. This can be a turn-off to those who can't fit themselves into his box, but if you stick with it, there are still a lot of exceptionally useful insights and exercises here to create a "conscious," fulfilling relationship....more info
  • A timeless and extraordinary resource for all couples
    I recently renewed my acquaintance with a book that's had a significant influence on my life--Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, the classic relationship handbook by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. This book remains an essential addition to the library of couples who want to create loving, fulfilling, joyful and enduring relationships. The exercises in Part III of the book are themselves invaluable and can empower willing couples to deal with the challenges that arise in every relationship and, perhaps, eliminate repeated visits to the marriage counselor.

    First published in 1988, I first came upon this book in the early 1990s. My second marriage had just gone down the tubes, and I was struggling to understand why. How could my former wife have left me when just a few short years ago, she was so totally in love with me?

    It was not until I read Getting the Love You Want, that I realized I was relying on her to take care of me, to somehow make me whole, responsibilities she had not signed up for, needs that were impossible for her to satisfy. So I began a process of deep introspection: How did I help create the breakdown of my relationship and, ultimately, how I could go about initiating a more conscious relationship the next time around?

    A few years later, a number of Harville's exercises included in Part III of Getting the Love You Want played a significant role in forming the foundation for my romantic partnership with the woman who I would later marry, including:

    * Creating a joint vision for the relationship--Being clear about what each of us envisioned for our relationship
    * Mirroring--Learning to really hear what my partner is saying and letting her know I have done so
    * Re-romanticizing--Sharing specific information with one another about what pleases me, what pleases her and agreeing to perform those acts of pleasure regularly

    Today as I was re-examining Getting the Love You Want to write this review, I came upon the final exercise in the book--Visualization of Love. I instinctively began following the instructions--visualizing Shonnie as a whole spiritual being, who like all of us, has been wounded. And I imagined that the love I was sending her at that moment was healing her wounds. Finally I imagined the love I'd sent her coming back to me and healing my wounds. Afterwards I sat for a few moments in quiet gratitude--for my life, for Shonnie, for Harville and for the wisdom that he so readily shares with us....more info
  • Excellent self help book
    Although the book title indicates it is for couples, I read it as a single person and felt I got just as much out of it. It is a self discovery ride of epic proportions with realizations out the wazoo!
    ...more info
  • Perfect for all couples
    We've given this book to 4 people in the last two is a great read and will give you and your partner a true understanding of the reasons we all do what we do. I highly recommend it for couples in crises and couples who want a closer relationship....more info
  • the "rules of the road" for marriage - oprah winfrey - with
    enough money and access to everything and everyone - credits this book for a fulfilling 20 year relationship with Stedman Graham... she flatly states that they would NOT still be together without it ~

    my generation has proved that there [almost never] is such a thing as an amicable divorce... 2 generations of kids of divorce have proven out that you are at a 50% disadvantage in all ways when your parents split, except in the WORST of circumstances... which is NOT most of us...

    and, mind you, the hendrixes THEMSELVES took 4 years off recently to work on their marriage ~ their book on Receiving Love tells the story on that...

    so heck, darned it all ~ if these two really exceptional, good good, Highly Motivated people had trouble ~ it can happen to EveryOne at some point...

    this book should be required reading when anyone applies for a marriage license... with the necessity to pass a rigorous test before a license is issued...

    instead, year after year, we keep letting new waves of hopefuls Go Right Over The Cliff just like we did ~

    even a decent divorce blows up your life and breaks your stride ~

    and don't we all love to see other couples happy together, better together...?

    the hendrixes cracked the code on how to do this, or attempt it ~
    it's simple and hard, like anything in life ~

    but at least you won't make stupid mistakes, if you read this book... nothing is sadder than preventable mistakes ~...more info
  • Hendrix Is a Master
    Hendrix is brilliant and loving. The truth of his wisdom resonates with your own experience. And you can FEEL his insight and compassion on the pages. If you really want to learn what's keeping you from the love you want, you will in this masterpiece. Jan Denise, "Inside Relationships" columnist and author of "Innately Good: Dispelling the Myth That You're Not" ...more info
  • Freud revisited
    There are some worthwhile observations in this book, but often it rehashes the old line about how you are the sum result of specific, defined experiences you had as a child. This type of generalization simply does not apply to many cases....more info
  • Repackaged psychoanalysis
    The basic idea of this book is that problems in marital relationships are caused by childhood psychological wounds. Those wounds are unconscious, but, according to the author, we all had them. Many of the exercises (e.g., listening exercises) would be helpful, but they are basic, and many of them are not really based on the theory. The author says repeatedly that we were "whole" humans in the womb, but we were damaged as children, and we need a healthy marriage to make us whole again. Some of the examples in the book reveal a patriarchal mindset. For example, in the section about "rewriting scripts" for arguments that a couple has repeatedly, the author suggests two alternatives that give the man what he wants, but no options for giving the woman what she wants. But if I object to that, I suppose that it must be because I was wounded as a child!...more info
  • getting the love you want
    fantastic book! really gives a couple a "process" to follow to help a troubled marriage or would also be v worthwhile for a completely healthy marriage. it is based on premise that the way you were parented has much to do with way you behave in a relationship. the more i read, the truer it is. he has very specific exercises to perform that are a great help...more info
  • Great book to help heal relationships.
    I am a counselor and I often recommend this book to couples who have lost their connection w/ each other. I like that the book contains exercises for couples to help them really spell out what they can each do to take responsiblity for strengthening the relationship....more info
  • Great

    I would recommend this book to any couple experiencing trouble in their relationship. There is a lot of information that helps a couple to understand why they are having problems, and to help them to stop blaming one another.

    There are lots of exercises included to assist you.

    I am a therapist, and I use this book with many of the couples I see. I continue to buy this book because I have "loaned" it to so many people!...more info
  • Communication is key
    A wonderful book with great communication as key to keeping the love in a relationship. Also a nice read. ...more info
  • An Excellent Book To Enhance Your Relationship
    I have no reservations about this book. It is intelligent, well researched and covers essential facets of an individuals psychology that drives their ability to attain success in dating and relationships.

    Much of how we behave with the opposite sex has to do with our emotional relationships with our parents. A person who has problems relating to his or her parents or feeling in control and grounded in the company of his or her parents, has issues. Issues that can be resolved if noticed and dealt with.

    The first part of the book, `the unconscious marriage', goes into detail of how our past relationships and biology influence our success in a relationship.

    The next part can help you enhance your awareness so you gain control of your unconscious behavior so you can't self-sabotage yourself and makes you more capable of dealing with relationship problems in a loving and intelligent manner.

    Finally the author, Harvill Hendrix, provides you with some powerful exercises that you can apply right away to help you focus your mind on attaining the relationship success you desire. The exercises help you with emotional blocks you inherited from childhood (we all have some) to building your relationship and the affection you feel in a relationship.

    This is an excellent book for anyone who wants to have a healthier relationship that grows and matures. ...more info
  • Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples
    Awesome, down to earth. A must read...more info
  • If you want to save your relationship no book is better
    I have read many books on relationships and this one is much better than any others I have read. My marriage was over except for signing the papers when I found this book and was so excited by it that I bought and gave one to my wife. Once she read it, things changed. Today we are still married and as happy as we have ever been. The book is so well written that it is very hard to put down. After 4 years of a turbulent relationship this book saved the good parts of our marriage and helped us deal with the bad parts. While you may find some of what he explains in other books his presentation makes more sense and it easier to understand and implement. I do not belieeve I have ever read a book that has had a bigger impact on my life than this one. If both parties are willing to read it with an open mind and are willing to consider his advice I think that you will be helped. I think what happend is just a miracle and this book is the reason. ...more info
  • Happy Is The Person Who Loves Others.
    In this study by Dr. Hendrix, his hypothesis was that people marry their opposites, one example was the account of Lynn and Peter. I beg to differ as I have in my years seen many married couples who are so much alike you would think they were brother and sister. We are always thinking that there is something better out there. And we search until we find it, or die trying.

    There is no greater happiness than the days of romantic love between a man and his girl. The first few months or years of a relationship when we are filled with the delicious expectation of wish-fulfillment. Life has meaning again in a positive, exciting, fun way. It had substance in the form of a person we adored who shared mutual feelings. The good feelings radiated outward; they felt more loving and accepting of absolutely everyone. They saw the world fresh and natural (no artificial facade) as they had as children. They shared moments of ectasy, not only sexually. They see all things in a brand new way.

    People in love are high on natural hormones and chemicals which flood their bodies with a sense of well-being. Dopamine causes a rosy outlook on life, hightened perception. Endorphins are natural narcotics and enhance a person's sense of security and comfort. Seratonin creates a feeling of oneness. The universal language of love is the creation of the unconscious mind. "I know we've just met, but somehow I feel I already know you;" "I can't remember when I didn't know you." "When I'm with you, I no longer feel alone;" I feel whole, complete (felt fulfilled)." There is a feeling of oneness, a sense of 'deja vu,' a feeling of familiarity. "I can't live without you." They feel that they have finally found someone to take care of them, and security.

    When we find the person we decide to marry, we transfer our need for protection from parents to our 'dearly loved' one (who sometimes, but not always, turns out to be our soul mates), who awakened our "eros" senses to save us from "thantos," the ever-present fear of death. For a while, lovers cling to the illusion of romantic love and that's the fun part. But it doesn't last, and things at home become a drudgery instead of a haven. That's when we start looking at and for others. Our true soul mates may come along later in life, and it hits you like a ton of bricks. That doesn't mean you have to marry that person. You can love many in your lifetime, always in a different way, but just as intense as your first love.

    The majority do not marry their first loves for one reason or another. When I see photos in the paper of couples who've been together fifty or sixty years, I think "how sad." They just don't know what they've missed. For some odd reason, they look gloomy -- hardly ever happy. Love loses its luster pretty quickly when disagreements and arguments continue over the years and intensify. Why stay together for the sake of the children? I learned the hard way that they pick up nuances and know when their parents no longer love or need each other, and they become the injured victims.

    Back when the song, 'Torn Between Two Lovers,' was popular, I was in that predictament and wondered how things would end. Then, later the song 'You're Having My Baby' happened to me, too; "Mandy" became popular at the same time and I was going to name my love child Miranda (everyone else chose Amanda) and call her Mandy. He became Justin, but now one of his daughters is named Miranda, looks just like him. Our little mistakes affect the way the rest of our lives will play out. Some turn bitter, but for most it is a blessing as it lets us out of a miserable lifestyle.

    You can fall in love when you're older, but it's not the same as young love (title of another Fifties song). It is a deeper bonding and does not have to involve sex. For me, love has always been about emotions. Men don't understand that difference; that some of us love them as an individual who can be our "soul and inspiration," a Righteous Bros. song.
    William Congreve wrote "Heaven has no rage like love to hate turned, nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned." Once in a lifetime, a mis-understanding can turn into a difficult situation but, with God's help, things can be turned around and, eventually, hate turns into love again. It takes a very special person to be able to forgive the other's shortcomings and over-reactions to a minor occurrence. You don't have to be a saint to give the person who hurt you another chance. It's human to act bad at times when tensions mount.

    Repressed anger is worse than the explosive kind. After the problem is brought to light, you can work together to overcome obstacles -- if the relationship (you truly love and admire him) is worth saving. Sometimes you have to work hard to get on an even keel again and be able to trust and be open to discussions of what you did wrong. Mainly, we must be on the alert not to do it again. We all make mistakes, but their purpose is to learn from them. All is fair in love and war, although the passion you're feeling for an unrequited love might not feel just. Embracing your passionate nature is a good thing, but don't lose yourself in your emotions right now. It's time to wake up from daydreams and value yourself enough to face reality. If someone doesn't value you as much as you value him or her, don't waste any more energy on the relationship. Get things back to being equal -- it's the only way you can find balance.

    Growing up without a mother, I've always thought more like a man since I was constantly around them all my life. Problem is, I also had the feelings and emotions of a woman. "I have the right to be angry" never gets you anywhere. We tend to hide intense feelings like sadness, fear, anger -- we hide behind a mask. Some of us just can't learn to behave and end up making the same mistakes over and over. None of us are perfect, or we would be God....more info
  • Excellent Book: Getting The Love You Want
    Getting The Love You Want is an excellent book with many insights and examples. There are helpful excercises to do to understand yourself and relationships better. I would recommend buying this book. ...more info
  • Very good book for beginners
    This book provides people with an understanding of where their difficulties may stem from and includes a section of the book with actual exercises for couples to do over a period of time to improve their relationship.

    Hendrix's extensive experience of working with couples and helping people shines through his writing and helps the reader to feel at ease.
    I Love You. Now What?: Falling in Love is a Mystery, Keeping It Isn't...more info
  • A wonderful book for the newly married
    Before you make a mess of your marriage, buy this book. And if your marraige is aleady a mess, buy this book. It gives all sorts of pointers on how to interact in loving ways and even has a workbook with exercises in the back (and a separate one you can buy) to help make new ways of interacting more automatic. It's an easy read and full of "ahas!" It helps you both to see how being self-centered, always focusing on having your own needs being met isn't loving at all! Therapist recommended. Revised and improved. Worth every penny....more info
  • Excellent for singles or couples!
    This book was recommended to me by my marriage therapist to help my husband and I understand why we act the way we do in relationships. The book helps see what in our childhoods led to the way we act in our adult relationships. It goes on to help understand one another and grow and heal from these experiences to create a much better, healthier marriage. I highly recommend this book regardless of whether you're married or not. It could be beneficial for current relationships, understanding past relationships and future relationships....more info
  • God is Love.
    This self help book ignores the truth of love and makes love out to be something that people are capable of doing. No one can love and satisfy anyone without knowing that love comes from God. I suggest you read the Bible and skip this mess....more info
  • Love this book
    This is just one of the best book I've ever read. Full of insights, and if applied it can really change your life.

    Highly recommend it!...more info
  • help for couples needing a guide for married life
    Harville Hendricks has written an excellent book that gives couples necessary information that will strengthen their knowledge of themselves and ways to improve their marriage. It's an excellent resource for couples who can use a "shot in the arm" for their marriage as well as those whose marriage is in trouble....more info
  • Excellent
    As a psychotherapy training supervisor, I highly recommend this book for singles, couples and those professionals open to a different slant on relationships....more info
  • A Masterpiece of a Reference Book for Singles and Couples
    There is so much truth in this book. I felt as if I was reading about myself. In our search for a mate, we unconsciously seek the positive and negative traits of our caretakers. How scary is that? Although I emerged from a healthy childhood where most of my needs were met by my parents and siblings, I still chose the wrong mate at the age of 35. After reading this book, I now know what my own needs are and the type of person who can meet those needs--as long as we are willing to work hard at making the relationship work for both of us. If I ever contemplate marriage in the future, I will again read Dr. Hendrix' book from cover to cover and ask my mate to do the same. This is the first book of its kind to address a complex subject at a level that we all can understand and learn from. ...more info
  • Worth a Good Look
    I looked at this book from a different perspective than most readers. I didn't read it as a person in need of relationship advice. Rather, I read it as a person who has been happily married for 22 years. My question was, how closely did the advice in this book match what I was doing successfully?

    A bestseller since 1988, the book is separated into 3 sections:

    -the first part talks about how unmet childhood needs can affect your future relationships.

    -the second part talks about a marriage that can fulfil your unmet childhood needs in constructive ways.

    -lastly, part three is the exercises. Here you'll be taken through a series of exercises that you can do at home that have been actually used in the author's practice. They're easy to do and involve writing.

    Well, that's a rough synopsis that should give you a little bit of a feel as to how the book is set up- and what its about.

    So how closely did the advice in this book match what I have been doing all this time to create a successful 22-year marriage? Perfectly- both the book and I promote the idea that you have to work at your marriage to make it work!

    And perhaps that's the best piece of advice of all: find constructive ways to make you marriage better- and that's one thing this book most certainly succeeds at. Other self-help books I liked include "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World"....more info
  • Will save YOU and your marriage
    i would give this book 10 stars if given that option. I got this book while going through a very hard time in my marriage. I hated my husband, I was depressed because I didn't want to leave him but I didn't want to be with him. Coincidentally ( although according to Freud there is no such thing as coincidence , and I have to agree ) I was watching Oprah and she had Dr. Hendrix on her show. the few words that i heard him speak made me want to work this out. after just reading barely a few chapters, I learned the most crucial part of being married. We go into marriage feeling a stereotypical feeling of "happy ever after" and being with a person who completes you. so a few years after that fairy tale ends, you are on the brink of divorce and miserably depressed.

    Dr. hendrix successfully teaches you WHAT a marriage should be, WHY you are with your mate, why are you so ANGRY at them for no sound reason. and most importantly, how do you fix that and how do you in harmony and in a conscious, smart marriage.

    needless to say I bought his other books, because reading just this book doesn't end the work you have to put into a happy and content life you have in front of you.

    read his book on how to allow yourself to be loved ( btw, this does affect your marriage ) and MOST IMPORTANTLY his book on how to raise your kids with nurturing love so that they will not suffer as adults either. ...more info
  • A practical and highly efficient guide to couple's problems
    This book is changing my life and my marriage. It's deep but easy to read. The exercises are efficient (even though I'm doing them alone). It's helping me understand the hidden expectations I have of my partner and glimpse his expectations of me. ...more info
  • if we all worked together, what a wonderful world this would be
    The philosophy of relationships that Dr. Haskill has developed is well researched and eye opening. The excersizes in section 3 of the book are useful tools for willing couples to use to find a deeper understanding of themselves and better communication.
    I highly recommend this item, for anyone who believes that the answer to trouble in a love relationship is not to abandon the loved one but to first resolve the issues that have surfaced. The author has really hit on something....more info


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