With eloquence and accessibility, Dr. Aaron T. Beck analyzes the actual dialogue of troubled couples to illuminate the most common problems in marriage--the power of negative thinking, disillusionment, rigid rules and expectations, and miscommunication.
Paperback, 432 pages
October 18th 1989
by Harper Perennial
(first published 1988)
One of the main challenges in marriage are the unwritten rules/expectations that each spouse has for the other – everything from how to give and receive love, to how much time one is allowed with friends, to the proper way to raise children, to how much time to spend with the in-laws on vacation, to any other number of things. Expectations that are never voiced allowed create havoc in a relationship precisely because they go unspoken. Furthermore, they lead to criticisms about the other person tOne of the main challenges in marriage are the unwritten rules/expectations that each spouse has for the other – everything from how to give and receive love, to how much time one is allowed with friends, to the proper way to raise children, to how much time to spend with the in-laws on vacation, to any other number of things. Expectations that are never voiced allowed create havoc in a relationship precisely because they go unspoken. Furthermore, they lead to criticisms about the other person that are general rather than specific. Without proper training, it's usually difficult for the couple to discuss these expectations aloud because one, they are unaware (only semi-conscious) of these expectations in the first place and two, they are usually too wrapped up in conflict to properly examine these automatic thoughts, let alone express them properly. Usually these expectations become evoked as the couple grows closer and more intimate. Usually.
While the material presented in the book is solid, I found the book to be somewhat limited in its scope on marital therapy. Throughout the book, the author constantly harped on the fact that no marriage is perfect. While this is certainly true, I felt he glossed over the fact that some marriages certainly function more effectively than others and why this is so (compatibility). Also along these lines, there seemed to be too many negative examples/role models of marriage and not enough positive examples/role models of marriage – and what the two do differently (Granted, this book’s primary emphasis was applying cognitive behavioral therapy to the context of marital therapy and on correcting cognitive distortions that exist between couples, an important undertaking in itself. At the time the book was published this was no doubt a cutting-edge technique for marital therapy).
Furthermore, there seemed to be a substantial amount of repetition; I felt the book could have been much shorter in length and would have been able to convey the same message. Perhaps the author was just trying to repeat these bits of advice to make them stick in the reader's mind....more
I read this in preparation for CBT with couples, which I have yet to truly encounter. I found it fascinated and learned a lot about relationships overall and how easy it is to misconstrue and misinterpret those little things, making them in to big things.
I am giving this book 5 stars because it contains, what I feel is, crucial information on how to deal with a very common issue in relationships. I do feel that this 400 page book would have been much better as a 200 page book. However, since Chapter #1 – The Power Of Negative Thinking and Chapter #13 – Changing Your Own Distortions are so vital and crucial for a healthy relationship it gets 5 stars.
Qué es lo que tratamos de decir y qué es lo que nuestra pareja entiende? Mucho más complejo de lo que creemos. La comunicación defectuosa es una de las principales causas de ruptura. Si se detecta a tiempo y se habla más para describir lo que damos a entender tanto con el lenguaje hablado y actitudes se puede llegar a una relación de pareja más armoniosa. Me ha ayudado en lo personal para concientizar las fallas en transmitir el mensaje que deseo hacia mi pareja y a su vez a hacer el ejercicio dQué es lo que tratamos de decir y qué es lo que nuestra pareja entiende? Mucho más complejo de lo que creemos. La comunicación defectuosa es una de las principales causas de ruptura. Si se detecta a tiempo y se habla más para describir lo que damos a entender tanto con el lenguaje hablado y actitudes se puede llegar a una relación de pareja más armoniosa. Me ha ayudado en lo personal para concientizar las fallas en transmitir el mensaje que deseo hacia mi pareja y a su vez a hacer el ejercicio de tratar de confirmar lo que entiendo cuando él intenta comunicarme algo. Lo recomiendo ampliamente...more
If you're into Cognitive Therapy, and if you want to use it to treat couples, this is a good book to read. Aaron Beck founded CBT, and while I disagree with the fundamental worldview on which it rests, some of its techniques are useful in treating clients. It's an enjoyable read for someone with an interest in the mental health field, but if you're someone struggling with a troubled marriage, I would encourage you to check out John Gottman instead.
The content is a little heavy. I felt like I was in a therapy session (which makes sense because the author is a psychiatrist). I did enjoy this book though because it helped me to better understand what our brain is doing when trying to resolve conflicts in a relationship. He also offers several suggestions on how to overcome those conflicts and misunderstandings. He provides several case studies to back up his suggestions.
I truely believe that if I had not read this book, my marraige would have failed. I broke the cycle of disfunctional living by following the advice in this book and others. I highly recommend it for anyone about to get married.
“What has stripped their conversation of its richness and enjoyments? First, despite the apparent success of their numerous discussions, they may have arrived at the solutions to family problems at a great cost to the relationship. In many relationships, a whole sequence of little kinks gradually adds up to produce stress. These kinks may also be a sign of important differences between the partners in their outlook and values—differences that their surface agreements never resolve. Thus, the free flow of conversation is inhibited by the threat of intrusions of unresolved conflicts. Perfectly tuned conversations are interrupted by signals of possible discord that introduce static into the communications. Second, although the partners may get along when they are dealing with practical problems, their conversation may be devoid of references to the more pleasurable aspects of the relationship. The partners have not learned to demarcate problem-solving discussions from pleasant conversations. Thus when one partner starts a conversation with a loving comment, the other may decide that this is a good time to bring up some conflict. As a result, there is a dearth of conversation that revolves simply around expressions of caring, sharing, and loving.”
“Sometimes a spouse, in trying to relieve a partner’s distress, accomplishes just the opposite. Judy is an artist. One evening she was quite upset by her problems in getting ready for a show, and she started to tell her husband, Cliff, about them. She wanted his support, encouragement, and sympathy. But Cliff instead fired off a barrage of instructions: “One, you’ve got to get all the people together in the group. Two, you have to call anyone else who is involved. Three, you want to get your accountant in on it—check with the bank to see how much money you still have. Four, you could contact the PR people. Five, call the gallery and see about the time.” Judy felt rejected by Cliff and thought, “He doesn’t care about how I feel. He just wants to get me off his back.” But in his eyes, Cliff thought that he was filling the bill. He had given her his best advice—he thought that he was being supportive. To Judy, however, Cliff was being controlling, not supportive. She was seeking sympathy and emotional rapport, while he was tuned in to problem solving. How can you find the appropriate channel? One point”