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Love Must Be Tough: New Hope for Marriages in Crisis
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Love Must Be Tough: New Hope for Marriages in Crisis

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  839 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
At the core of most marital conflicts lies an overlooked but vicious culprit: disrespect. According to Dr. James Dobson, this symptom is the most serious indicator of potential family breakup. In his groundbreaking classic that popularized the "tough love" principle, Dr. Dobson offers practical help for the spouse who wants to hold the marriage together. He shows how to re ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 10th 2004 by Multnomah Books (first published November 1st 1983)
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Ashleigh Harris
Feb 05, 2008 Ashleigh Harris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My boss loaned me this book that she read when she was going through her divorce. I wondered what in the world she was loaning it to me for. I'm not married, or anywhere near it, so I completely didn't understand. It sat on my bookshelf for a long time until I eventually decided I would just read the introduction so I could return it and say that I at least gave it a chance. However, this book was great! As I discovered in the intro, it is a book that is good for relationships in general, not ju ...more
Oct 29, 2012 Araseli rated it it was amazing
Although this book didn't save my marriage, it did save myself from the self-pitty and the depression that I was in. It made me look at my marriage and open my eyes on what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to atleast salvage our friendship. My husband and I finally divorced and although it was the toughest ordeal that I had to live, I learned and I moved on. We share a beautiful daughter that was grown up to be a shinning star. I've also learned to be my ex-husband's friend. He now tell ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Alana rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
I read this in 2013 after being devastated when my husband of only two years decided he no longer wanted to be married (to me). It was exactly what I needed at the time: a book from a Christian perspective that allowed me to fight tooth and nail for my marriage and do everything I possibly could to save it...and be ok and able to let it go when my husband still chose not to pursue our marriage. I do not view this as a failure or that following the book did not produce results; to the contrary, D ...more
Sheila Gregoire
Mar 06, 2014 Sheila Gregoire rated it it was amazing
In Love Must Be Tough, Dobson asks the question, “what do you do when only one person wants to save a marriage?” As a counselor, he says, he’s used to seeing couples. Two people walk into his counseling room, and they start talking about their issues.

Yet Dobson was finding that this model wasn’t really helpful to many people, because in most cases when a marriage goes sour, only one person wants to save it. The other seems content to let it go.

So what do you do if you’re the spouse who wants to
Apr 30, 2016 Kalena rated it liked it
Christian non-fiction/marriage--honestly cannot remember if I have read anything else by this author...sorry. It was difficult for me to feel comfortable with the overall tone of the book although there is nothing I significantly disagreed with. I felt like most of the book did not apply to personal situations because it primarily dealt with infidelity. There are also general statements about marriage/divorce and a section on other issues, like abuse or addiction. This was not the most helpful b ...more
Cristiano Sequeira
Jun 27, 2014 Cristiano Sequeira rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended
In a world in which people shrink from conflict and please each other for the sake of a fake sense of stability, this book is a must-read. Absolutely crucial for any couple and even anyone who fights with the people-pleaser syndrome. The author will help you to understand why you need to have clear boundaries, how to draw the line and why it is important to have a sense of identity. If you love others and yourself, you have got to be honest, always,. And sometimes, no matter how much you love, y ...more
Lynette Myers
Jun 30, 2010 Lynette Myers rated it really liked it
It had some valuable information for marriages most specifically, but even how to deal in some difficult relationships and how to maintain your self-respect in the middle of those tough spots.

Most of the book was about infidelity, so I skimmed it as that wasn't a concern for me, but it did help me understand how loosing respect on either side can contribute to terrible breakdowns and how one person can take a stand and really change the course.
Feb 11, 2015 Becki added it
Shelves: book-collector
Dr. Dobsons best seller from 1983 republished in 1996.\n\nI read this book upon a recommendation and with the understanding that the marriage crisis Dr. Dobson focuses on primarily is adultery but that the tough love principles outlines can apply to really any situation. And after reading it I find that to be very valid.\n\nSuccessful marriages are not about lovey, dovey gooey feelings (Ive always known that). It comes down to respect and knowing your boundaries. And Ill be honest while I have ...more
Crista Huff
Mar 27, 2014 Crista Huff rated it did not like it
Shelves: christian, psychology
I have read the "tough love" approach, and the "compassionate approach", to dealing with difficult relationships.

Here's my take on it: if you can stand to permanently let the person go, then I suppose the "tough love" approach will be a way to distance yourself from the current mess and its emotions, and not risk much in doing so. The relationship may or may not heal.

If you cannot stand the idea of being without the person, then definitely go with the "compassionate approach". The relationship
Jul 18, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: brain-power
Several friends read this book and commented about how good it was so I checked out a copy from the library and read it. I have a lot of respect for James Dobson. I like the way he thinks and I agree with his philosophy of "tough love". It goes along with my acquired understanding, thanks to Henry Cloud and John Townsend, about boundaries. Truth compliments truth no matter where you find it.
Dec 28, 2013 William rated it it was amazing
Now available as an e-book, which is how I read it.

Dobson is very careful to temper his advice with the priority of prayer, plus the fact that the reader can't fix his/her/their situation just by reading a book. Individualized counsel is needed. Nevertheless, he makes a strong case for his "love must be tough" position.

My personal conclusion: With God there is hope!
Laura Dulski
Aug 11, 2013 Laura Dulski rated it it was amazing
This book gave me my self respect back and literally save my marriage. It gave me step by step instructions of what I had to do. The advice seems counterintuitive, but everything Dr Dobson predicted would occur if his advice was followed did in fact occur. If you find yourself in the terrible situation infidelity in your marriage, this book can help you turn it around.
Sep 08, 2014 Dasha rated it it was amazing
I'm not married, but thought this was a good read as it opened up my eyes to some of the things that go on in a marriage. a nice book filled with practical advice. i think i can avoid some problems in the future having read this preampliary book. also i like that the author wrote in a way that was engaging and never dull.
Nov 07, 2015 Irene rated it it was amazing
This book was one of the hardest and one of the best books on marriage I have ever read I learned so much and it taught me so much I put it into practice I was fortunate enough to save my marriage even when I thought my marriage was unsalable in the end my marriage was saved thank you Mr. Dobson !!!!
Kevin Key
May 11, 2015 Kevin Key rated it it was amazing
Dobson is excellent! He covered just about everything, and was right on the money. However, he does not cover on what to do when one of the partners is mentally ill and is destructive to themselves and the family, and refuses to get professional help. I still give the a 5 rating.
Reyna Macias
Jan 08, 2015 Reyna Macias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book!

This book was recommended to me by my friend, it's helped me understand many of the struggles, guilt and hurt I endured during my separation. Had I known about this book before I wouldn't had proceeded with my divorce. 5 star book, I highly recommended!
Beth E
Nov 10, 2013 Beth E rated it really liked it
Although a bit dated in its discussion of gender stereotypes, this is a very helpful book for seeing the genuine mistakes we all can make on the road of a happy marriage. A good refocusing and help to see how to own your own stuff and stand strong as a healthy partner.
Nov 16, 2012 Penney rated it really liked it
Shelves: relationships
I'm don't subscribe to organized religion but this book is neither about pushing a Jesus agenda nor do anything to save your marriage. It helped me realize where to draw the line in my marriage so that I reclaimed my self-respect.
Sep 10, 2009 Phumlani rated it liked it
quite a nice read. if you are interested in the issues of love and relationships, it can provide good information. if you caome accross it, i will advise that you get a copy for yourself. it is also good for married couples.
Grace Johnson
Jul 21, 2015 Grace Johnson rated it liked it
This book had a great premise with some practical application. There's a really strange chapter on homosexuality that could have been omitted, but overall good.
Jul 28, 2007 Wendy rated it really liked it
I found this a very useful book, but there are parts of it that have to be ignored (ie the parts where you with tough love you stop your husband from being gay....)
Timely and lifesaving for our marriage. A friend shared this with me when we were going through crisis about 10 years ago...that's a friend.
Jan 31, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book! It was clear cut, no messing around and I have applied a lot of what I have read in my own marriage. I love the book!
Jennifer Robb
I read this at the recommendation of a friend who read it during the time of her divorce but was too fearful to put it into practice.
Jun 23, 2008 Marsha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Divorce Care participants
Recommended to Marsha by: Kay Hornsby
very practical advice for relationships in trouble - not too crazy about explicit section on homosexuality
Nov 17, 2015 Marina rated it liked it
This made me hope that my husband never has an affair. It was terrifying!
Jess Martin
Dec 28, 2015 Jess Martin rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Helps to understand the use of strength in a loving relationship.
Sep 15, 2008 Jeni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Helped me form the courage to "get tough" in my own life.
Jessie Bates
Aug 10, 2015 Jessie Bates rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book to help save marriages.
Kristi Davis
Sep 07, 2014 Kristi Davis rated it it was amazing
This is just what I needed!
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Goodreads Librari...: combine editions 2 21 Sep 25, 2013 08:44PM  
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  • The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in All Your Relationships
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  • Every Man's Marriage: An Every Man's Guide to Winning the Heart of a Woman
  • Setting Boundaries® with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents
  • Creative Correction: Extraordinary Ideas for Everyday Discipline
  • Connecting
  • Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible: A Fresh Look at What Scripture Teaches
  • The Bible Promise Book - KJV
  • The Complete Husband: A Practical Guide to Biblical Husbanding
  • For Better or for Best: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Husband
  • A Marriage Without Regrets: No matter where you are or where you've been, you can have…
  • Codependents' Guide to the Twelve Steps: New Stories
  • Love Life for Every Married Couple: How to Fall in Love and Stay in Love
  • Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships
  • Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling
  • How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To
  • Not "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity
James C. Dobson is a psychologist, commentator, and writer. He is the founder of Focus on the Family, a group advocating what he views as Christian ethics and political conservatism, and hosts a radio program of the same name.
More about James C. Dobson...

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