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The Self-Centered Marriage: The Revolutionary ScreamFree Approach to Rebuilding Your "We" by Reclaiming Your "I"

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
In the best-selling ScreamFree Parenting, Hal Runkel showed thousands of parents how focusing on themselves, in order to keep their cool, can revolutionize their family life. In his groundbreaking new book, The Self-Centered Marriage, Runkel now shows couples how learning to focus on themselves, in order to stay calm in the face of common marital conflicts, is the key to c ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Harmony (first published February 1st 2011)
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Feb 06, 2011 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally, a marriage book that:

1. Doesn't treat me like a child! (And expects me not to treat my spouse like one either.)

2. Doesn't make generalizations about my spouse or about me. THANK YOU!

3. Doesn't talk about sex as if one of us needs it and one of us owes it and that is all there is. And doesn't pretend to know it all or be able to answer it all in one chapter.

4. Doesn't try to make me feel good by telling about all sorts of horrible marriage decisions "other people" make but instead empowe
Mar 28, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first thing you need to do is get over the title of this book. Not having read Runkel's previous book, Screamfree Parenting, I thought this title didn't make sense and was mostly piggybacking on his catchphrase. That being said, this book has terrific advice on marriage that I wish I had known years ago.

Here are some traditionally-held ideas about marriage which he refutes:

1. Spouses are supposed to meet each other's needs. (What he says; spouses do not, and should not, need each other. They
Oct 11, 2013 Shali rated it liked it
This book isn't that groundbreaking. There are pockets of good insights. Some how it seemed pretty basic: stop manipulating and being narcissistic, and be proactively authentic. In other words, really BE as you wish to seem- and realize when that isn't possible and own up to the honesty of it all.

It's good advice no matter how it's presented.

I like this author/therapist; he's revitalizing some necessary basic principles in life, but his writing style isn't my favorite.

Jul 16, 2014 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Just like the title says, it's about growing up and handling conflicts like an adult. Which is really difficult in marriage, actually. Nice to read some fresh ideas on the subject.
Jun 19, 2011 C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Friend said it was great - sent pages and pages of notes - read through and decided to check out the book as well.

"Screaming" is his catch all phrase for any emotional reactivity. Not, literally, screaming.

If you want to skip most of the book, the Appendix's in the back cover most of it in short form. The book itself has some great points, though there's extra text thrown in there to pad out what would otherwise be a book half the size. He repeats his points a lot - which would work out fine in
Zach Gray
There's good advice to be gained if you can get past the corny, motivational-speechy writing.

Basically, Runkel says that the best way to approach conflict resolution is to stay calm and work on yourself instead of focusing on your spouse's problems. If you're upset, Runkel urges you to take a step back and figure out what you truly want out of the situation and then go about working toward that by changing the only thing that you can control - yourself. He also places importance on being open a
Melissa Lee-Tammeus
Ergh. I am glad I finally trudged through this book and finished it. This was recommended by my mental health counselor supervisor, along with the other book in the series, Screamfree Parenting. I have to say the same thing here as I did for that particular review. There is nothing new here. All that happens here is the theories of old are put in layman's terms and then dumbed down even further. I appreciate what this guy and his institute are doing and I respect him for his experience and obvio ...more
Gary Mccall
Apr 14, 2013 Gary Mccall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on marriage. It has since been re-published with the title, Self-Centered Marriage. I am not wild about the title because it sounds like his view of marriage is based on self-interest. What he really says is that marriage is two healthy individuals sharing who they are with each other, their needs, their wants, what they think and feel. Runkel's outline is the steps of calming down when a disagreement occurs, growing up by doing what is mature and appropriate, and getting closer a ...more
Dec 09, 2013 Toby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down the best marriage book I've read! Let me start by explaining that it isn't about people who *yell*, it is about 'emotional reactivity' and the way we act that out. Some people yell, some withdraw, some act out in other ways. Many of the things that I've learned from professional and non-professional marriage advice over the years are summarized in this book. It gives you some fantastic, realistic tools on how to change things, and provides a great deal of down home honesty about how o ...more
I liked this book quite a lot. (although I still think the "scream free" title is a cheesy marketing technique.) The advice was basically: to have a great marriage you need to grow up, forgive, and ask what you can do to make yourself happy, instead of what your spouse can do for you. Reminds me of the prinicples in "The Bonds that Make us Free" by Terry Warner and "Leadership and Self Deception" by the Arbinger Institute. Also reminded me of what I learned in my church marriage improvement clas ...more
Okay, I know what your thinking... No, our marriage is not in trouble. I just wish Runkel wouldn't have named his book, "ScreamFree Marriage." Thanks for the stigma, Hal.

My wife and I recently watched the movie, "Barney's Version," which is about a proud idiot who messes up his life and his marriage along the way. After watching it, I started to wonder how my own irrascibility works in our partnership.

To friends, take this recommendation not as a call for help. I believe the best time to work
Jul 10, 2011 Derek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book with some different thinking about marriage and relationships in general. Hal is funny, and clear, and he really believes and practices what he preaches. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I'm working to try out and put into practice some of the great insights he brings to the table. Full disclosure, the author is a close friend of mine and one of my college roommates, but I think this makes this particular review more authentic.
Feb 03, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book nicely summed up some of the best marriage advice I've heard. His emphasis is on improving and worrying about yourself rather than trying to change your spouse. I didn't agree with everything he said but overall it was a good reminder to worry about improving yourself, not your spouse, and that the only person you can really control is yourself.
Nov 14, 2014 saiberiac rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Good advice, stuff I should already know but never actively apply. I'm not religious but it is obviously a Christian book, which didn't keep me from reading through it. I really enjoyed the author confronting the lies/myths about being married that "keep us stuck." The stories were hard to relate to for me, so I skimmed them or completely skipped them.
Apr 03, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
I read this book primarily because it was written by an old friend of my husband's (not that I couldn't use the advice), so I'm not exactly impartial. However, it does a good job of debunking some hokey marriage/relationship cliches and focusing on self-improvement as the primary way to grow in your relationship.
Nov 26, 2014 afinebalance rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Accessible and practical tools. The genius is in it's simplicity. Highly recommended for couples in distress or those looking to enhance their communication. This book teaches you how to not let emotional reactivity get in the way or ruin your communication. It asks you to take responsibility to calm down, grow up and hopefully grow closer.
Jun 26, 2013 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a lot of great points in this book and the author did a pretty good job reading the audiobook. There were a couple of times that it seemed a point was beaten to death, but otherwise good advice that counters some of the popular marriage theories.
Nov 17, 2011 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
Funny, modern and relevant. The author blends theory and practicality superbly. This book isn't preachy but does have a touch of Buddhist philosophy (probably not intended by the author but welcomed by this reader).
Jim Arnett
Mar 31, 2015 Jim Arnett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommend it. I'm a big fan of Hal Runkel's and the philosophy of focusing on growing oneself for the sake of those we love. Here's the mantra from the book: Calm down, Grow up, Get Closer, Repeat. Think that could change our lives? I do.
Sep 26, 2011 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
I thought this was a very insightful book. As someone who is happily (and relatively newly) married, I think it will help me continue to be happily married. I would recommend this book to any married couple, experiencing problems or not.
Oct 28, 2012 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on CD. It might be easier to get through it listening to it rather than reading it. I appreciated the different view than most marriage books use. I think the principles can be used for any close relationship not just spouse to spouse.
Jun 27, 2016 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the book. This stuff really works!!!
Oct 11, 2011 Hilarie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book. I appreciated the author's wit, and that he shared examples that made sense. I will probably read it again someday.
Mar 24, 2015 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
Great read! I like his approach to marriage, and how couples can become closer.
Jan 10, 2017 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oct 15, 2012 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like the writing style..."is this hard for you to understand? it's okay, stick with me!" but the book did have some good ideas on how to take control of your emotions and work with a spouse.
Marko Požarnik
Dec 28, 2014 Marko Požarnik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book I read about marriage. I strongly recomend it.
Aaron Wong
Feb 27, 2013 Aaron Wong rated it really liked it
This could be a game changer. So insightful and revolutionary that I'm contemplating buying it. Filled with home truths.
Kristen rated it it was amazing
Mar 11, 2012
Sonya Writes
Sonya Writes rated it it was amazing
Mar 30, 2014
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HAL RUNKEL is a world-renowned relationship expert, licensed marriage and family therapist, conflict mediator, and internationally acclaimed speaker. Hal’s books, including e New York Times bestseller ScreamFree Parenting, have reached hundreds of thousands around the world, and have been translated into twelve languages. Hal has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, including over forty app ...more
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