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How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It: Finding Love Beyond Words

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  750 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Men are right. The “relationship talk” does not help. Dr. Patricia Love’s and
Dr. Steven Stosny’s How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It
reveals the stunning truth about marital happiness:

Love is not about better communication.
It's about connection.

You'll never get a closer relationship
with your man by talking to him like you
talk to one of your girlfriends.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by Broadway (first published January 1st 2007)
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Jul 31, 2016 David rated it really liked it
The basic premise is that women like to talk about relationships, but men do not. A closer relationship does not necessarily come from better communication; it comes from a better connection. While talking helps move women closer, it drives men further away. In fact, requiring more communication may actually ruin a marriage, even one where both husband and wife loves and cares for one another. Men want closer marriages just as much as women; they just don't want to have to behave like a woman in ...more
Oct 16, 2014 Cara rated it really liked it
Shelves: life, kindle
Devoured this book as quickly as possible in my eagerness to find out what the authors had to say about how to fix everything. It was the "without talking" part that got me--of course, I want to talk about everything all the time, but that's really hard. It's also nearly infeasible in the reality of my current relationship. The idea that I could fix the relationship myself without complaining or struggling any more--or even having to bother the other person!--sounds really enticing, if a little ...more
Feb 21, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing
And they said husbands don't come with manuals. Ha!

If nothing else, just read the items on the back cover of the book.

As it turns out, I was witnessing many of the behaviors discussed in the book, but responding in unhelpful ways. I'm not ashamed to say that up until my marriage I was inexperienced with long-term relationships, and that I learned a TON from this book.

I had read a library book but bought a copy and intend to reread it soon. Since I intend to find and replace my own unhelpful beh
Feb 08, 2012 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The info in this book changes my understanding of interactions I have with many people, not just my dh. I put this book right up there with "The Five Love Languages."

"The worst thing a woman does to a man: shaming. The worst thing a man does to a woman: leaving her alone." I think this applies to a lot of little kids, too. My son, for example, has a strong reaction to any indication that he's done something wrong, sometimes to the point where he runs out of the room because it is so painful to d
Jun 24, 2012 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Currently reading this with my wife, probably 1/3 of the way through. Hard to argue with a book that seems to hit on a fundamental truth about human nature and relationships literally every page or two. Their examples are spot-on. Here is one:

"The real reason the woman wants to talk about it—beneath the resentment and frustration—is that disconnection makes her feel anxious and, on a deeper level, isolated and afraid. The real reason the man doesn't want to talk about the relationship is that he
Skylar Burris
Jun 12, 2009 Skylar Burris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marriage
While I don’t think that couples should avoid talking about their problems (that can create an entirely different level of problems), I do agree that how they talk about them can often be more of a hindrance than a help. For the most part, this book was very useful and really gets at the heart of what is going on when a couple fights by exploring a woman’s fear/isolation/deprivation sensitivity and a man’s shame/fear of failure sensitivity. In many cases, both members of a couple are trying to a ...more
Laura Gilfillan
Mar 09, 2015 Laura Gilfillan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was truly insightful, and aided me to understand my husband and our relationship a lot better. It is also interesting to me that I've seen a lot of the same ideas bouncing around in other books and articles, sort of a breakthrough in understanding is happening, it seems. Especially the notion that we share a mental and emotional connection with the people around us. This book stresses that it is not better communication, but better connection, that we need, in order to improve our rela ...more
Jun 27, 2012 VeeDawn rated it really liked it
This was a book club suggestion, and the advice they give is really just basic truths; be the best person you know how to be, look for the best in yourself and in your spouse, you don't have to think alike to love one another, but having similar values strengthens your bond.
Some of my favorite quotes were:
"Self-centeredness is the antithesis of love, for you only feel love when you are loving."
"Am I acting like the person I most want to be? If not, what can I do to act like that person?"
Jun 30, 2016 Nila rated it it was amazing
Great marriage advice book as women we tend to want to talk about every little detail. Two people can in this busy world have a good healthy relationship without having to discuss everything, remember no one is responsible for your feelings and how you feel but you. This book boiled men and woman down to thoughts they hide from all others like Fear and Shame, the only way to get around that.
It doesn't happen often with this type of book, but I'm impressed. Regardless of where you're at - be it married, in a relationship, or looking for that "someone special", I suggest everyone check out this book. Yes, I know it's a self-help book. Read it anyway. Yes, I know it generalizes your gender and, therefore, generalizes your issues/shortcomings/patterns of behavior. Read it anyway. Yes, I know a lot of reviewers insist that the authors insist women act like Jesus and simply turn the othe ...more
Aug 25, 2009 Celeste rated it liked it
Not quite finished with it, but it has some super-interesting ideas about the nature of miscommunication between men and women in relationships. If you are going to freak out that the authors make generalizations about the behavior of men and women, don't even bother reading this. But if you can put that aside and just accept that regardless of the reason (socialization or biology), men and women DO have a tendency to approach things differently, I think this book has some useful insights into h ...more
Jan 11, 2015 d rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
I think the book is fundamentally right about prioritizing connection over everything in a relationship and that talking is not necessarily the best way to connect with your partner. My favorite chapter, Binocular Vision, discussed the importance of learning to integrate your partner's perspective with your own to enhance your outlook. The discussion on compassion throughout the book was also eye-opening for me. The second half of How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking offered excellent co ...more
Mar 30, 2009 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all married folk
Excellent book so far on helping men and women understand the differences in their needs from each other and how communication differs between the sexes. Discusses, hopes, fears, insecurities, and a need for connection that drives our miscommunications and leaves us feeling alone in our fears and dissapointments when we don't get the responses from our mates that we feel we need.

Excellent book!
Jennifer Daniel
Jan 23, 2015 Jennifer Daniel rated it really liked it
Absolutely fascinating! I would recommend this to any woman, regardless of her relationship status. It give real, science based insight into why men think and behave the way they do. They really can't help that they don't want to "talk about feelings". It is genetically hardwired into them to do everything BUT that. There were many useful tips on how to relate to these cavemen and still have a close and loving relationship with out gabbing like a bunch of old women. I am curious to see how my hu ...more
Chad Warner
This book tells how to improve your marriage by connecting with your partner in small ways each day. It says that talking about your relationship is usually counterproductive, because it leads to blame and fighting. It’s generally more effective to understand your partner and alter your behavior. Thus, you can improve your marriage without talking about it.

The relationship advice is based on the premise that women are more sensitive to fear, isolation, and deprivation, and men are more sensitive
The chapter I enjoyed the most was "The Worst Thing a Man does to a Woman" and sub-chapter on "Alone in Bed" with the six traits that occur where women feel alone, also with their dreams/goals and men are not supportive. And the funny part in the 6 traits/areas in Alone in the Bed, "fart is not foreplay." Come on, now.

There were some insightful things in communication to look at, when we are speaking negatively, comparing, generalizing, globalizing, therapizing, projecting, dismissing, ignoring,
Apr 18, 2011 Amber rated it liked it
I am glad I read this book. I would recommend it to every couple. It has a lot of very valuable advice that I plan on incorporating in my own marriage.

However, they could have given the same advice in about half the pages. To me it seemed very repetitive and wordy. I also felt it was disjointed at times making it difficult to follow. Sometimes it was difficult to keep reading. I'm glad I did though.

Although maybe not intensional, it was definitely written for an audience of women. It does have a
Aug 03, 2015 Shaz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this book from the library after a friend who has a great relationship told me this book was a good read. I initially went in thinking this will be one of those boring relationship advice books but was pleasantly surprised. The way how they say men and women react to negativity is spot on and the approaches make a lot of sense. Regardless of whether you have a good marriage / relationship or not, I think this is a handy book to read as the relationship skills learnt are definitely hel ...more
Nov 21, 2014 Amber rated it did not like it
Shelves: self-help
I picked up this book to read back in college as a counterpoint source for my essay about the importance of open communication in relationships. It wasn't quite what I expected but there were enough things in it that horrified me to make me give "1 star - did not like it".

I vaguely recall a segment where I threw the book across the room after reading advice along the lines of "you should have sex even if you don't really feel like it."

Gross generalizations about gender roles. Lazy arguments. It
Apr 30, 2012 Sarahyi77 rated it it was amazing
Ok - so I read this because of a therapist in my ward read outloud to a ladies night out group a page or two and i was intrigued... I read the whole book and was BLOWN away by the thoughtful amazing information that opened my eyes to how men operate in a relationship..and the why's and triggers, and so on -- lets just say I deem this a MUST read for EVERYONE!!!! Believe me you will not be dissapointed -- even if you are in the best relationship ever it is still a book to will gain ins ...more
Jul 18, 2010 Indigotulip rated it really liked it
Totally excellent book about relationships, communication and desires, especially dealing with differences in approach and reaction. I recommend this to anyone wanting to have a deeper (non-superficial) relationship with anyone. I suspect the author/editor limited the appeal of this book by putting marriage in the title - don't miss out on good human information because of the stupid title or, frankly, some sections where the author is a little trite-sounding. There are numerous excellent gems a ...more
Sep 15, 2016 Kari rated it did not like it
While I felt this book had some valid points, and I am on board with the whole shame/fear dynamic, the repetitiveness became tedious. I also felt that the book implies that feelings will make men feel shame and women feel fear, which we need to be hypersensitive to and guess is happening all the time, so rather than adult communication, everyone should be tiptoe around each other and have sex...even if we don't want to.

Also, it seemed super negative towards women. Most negative examples were abo
Jan 30, 2014 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My husband & I read this book together. My husband found it & ordered it for us. It was good.
The first part of the book they give a lot of examples of the how's & the why's talking things to death doesn't work & what women feel like in relationships & what men feel like in relationships, etc. They describe how women in general want to feel 'secure' in a relationship; how the 'fear' thing is the crippling thing with women. Whereas a man needs to feel that he has done a good jo
Laurie Dewberry
Aug 19, 2016 Laurie Dewberry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after a friend recommended it because I thought the premise was interesting. I was a little surprised to find a book that validated what I had concluded about communication in marriage several years ago, but didn't think could possibly be correct based on every other piece of marital advice I've ever read or been given. I loved how these authors show how having a strong connection with your spouse is more important than talking about every detail in your life. I loved the author ...more
Rebecca Young
Jan 31, 2014 Rebecca Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw this title, I knew this book was written for me. : )

Very insightful and practical. Uses a lot of real life situations and explains very well what is going on from both perspectives. Contains wonderful insight into how shame (or the avoidance of shame) drives a man's actions and fear drives a woman's actions…and shows how so often our arguments are simply these two factors at play. It ends with a wonderful section on cultivating compassion and connection in our marriages.

Here is a won
Feb 10, 2013 Rita rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book reduced men and women to very simple terms. I gained some great insights and am trying to regulate my behavior. And yet, I still don't 'get' the male perspective. I am definitely more book-learned, but I can't yet say I understand it at a deep level. It all has to do with men not asking for directions... lol.
Lisa  Schlottmann
I can't seem to get into this book AT ALL. I see many enjoyed it and when I googled it, it had gotten pretty good reviews but man I feel like it's basically telling me "ignore everything and just deal with it". I guess I need to actually read it. Maybe. We'll see if that ever really happens, lol!
Jonathan Owen
Love's and Stosny's "How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It" has some important perspectives on the way men and women communicate in relationships and offers effective ways of communicating with your spouse. Having compassion and demonstrable love is crucial for a marriage to function. Using binocular vision – seeing life from both your and your spouse’s perspective – is helpful in reaching harmony. Appreciating the differences in the way your spouse is wired and how they communic ...more
Jonathan Rolfe
Jun 21, 2016 Jonathan Rolfe rated it liked it
If your wife follows you around nagging you while you give her the silent treatment hoping she'll go away, this book explains why the two of you are acting like that. Premised on the proposition that good communication follows connection, and not the other way around, the authors explain how "shame" in men and "fear" in women inhibit connection. It explains a lot of behavior I've seen and experienced over the years...and certainly nailed how I act out. I think I'll give the techniques a whirl an ...more
Christina Cater
May 21, 2014 Christina Cater rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was the best I have read on relationships. It takes a completely different approach on how to repair and enrich your marriage or relationship. The basis of the book is that men's shame and women's fear are what create disconnection that then results in repeated disagreement and deterioration of a relationship. It argues that communication is not the issue, that connection (or lack thereof) is. The advice is practical, easy applied to daily life & refreshing in the sense that no oth ...more
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“respond to stressful situations by protecting themselves and their young through nurturing behaviors—the tend part of the model—and forming alliances with others, particularly women—the befriend part. Women bond around helping one another through troubled times. The more they talk about their troubles, the closer they feel. Because emotional bonds serve as a woman's primary” 0 likes
“Fix your partner firmly in your heart during four crucial times of the day. Hug your partner six times a day for six seconds. Hold positive thoughts about your relationship. Make a contract to hand out love with compassion and generosity.” 0 likes
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