Passionate Marriage
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Passionate Marriage

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,041 ratings  ·  160 reviews

The greatest sexual pleasure in a person's lifetime is possible in one's middle and later years, asserts Dr. David Schnarch, when a mature sense of self has been achieved and genuine intimacy is possible with another person. At his Family Health Center in Colorado Dr. Schnarch works with couples in long-term committed relationships who want to get emotionally and sexually

Paperback, 432 pages
Published January 28th 1997 by Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated (first published 1997)
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Fairlyfeisty Dragonwagon
Jan 22, 2008 Fairlyfeisty Dragonwagon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone willing to self-confront in service of become their best self.
I read this book at a time of painful difficulty - would the much-cherished marriage I'd been in many years actually come to an end (unthinkable) or would we, or I, or him, find a way to get to the bottom of what "went wrong" as we then thought, and from there, reinvent?

That was ten years ago. Schnarch wholly shifted my paradigm, not just on relationship but of everything. For starters, pain and difficulty don't mean something "went wrong" but, rather, went right in the sense of... marriage, li...more
Early in his career, Passionate Marriage author David Snarch found it odd that sex therapy and marital therapy were two entirely separate disciplines. He spent the next several decades refining his theory that what happens in the bedroom can be an important window into the dynamics of the greater marriage itself.

Though ostensibly about sex, Passionate Marriage is really about the process of individuation. Learning how to be an individual and a partner at the same time is no easy task for many of...more
Teresa Catlin
Although this book is almost as weighty as a textbook, I HIGHLY recommend it! It is the first NEW point of view on marriage and relationships that I'd read for a very long time. It is not really about sex--at least not for its own sake--but looks at sex as the "crucible" in which a lot of emotional issues are worked out.

It is a book that I think everyone, if they were willing to read it, would get a lot of insight from. It's interesting to me that so few of the people I've given it to or recomme...more
In the work I've done helping others with their relationships, I've had the opportunity to read plenty of self-help books on relationships. Most of the time I find the books useless, if not harmful. On the recommendation of a friend I checked this book out from the library. Now I'm buying it. I'm also recommending it to every person I know who is ready to make improvements in ALL of their relationships--including their relationships with their self.
While other books focus on trying to communicat...more
Nina Bradley
This is a book I needed to read when I was a teenager. My review of five stars is not based on how well the author writes or communicates, but rather how important I think this information is. We grow up with a distorted sense of what love and intimacy are all about. That is to say we think it is all about us and our needs. We seek to fulfill ourselves through our relationships and get our needs met and our very selves validated by other people. The Passionate Marriage approach (although I think...more
Michele Fogal
Jun 13, 2014 Michele Fogal marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-learning
The Intro to this book was very pompous sounding as in, this is the greatest book ever and I wouldn't change a thing, but who knows, maybe he has some great things to say.

I like the concept of differentiation - figuring out what you really believe in without influence or pressure from anyone else. That is a great idea when linked with how to be intimate. First, be wholly yourself.

Also this idea that we think intimacy is disclosing something personal to someone and then having them validate our e...more
A great book for understanding and dismantling the brick walls - those arguments that have become impasses.

From the book blurb: "Schnarch's fundamental lesson is differentiation -- the often threatening process of defining yourself as separate from your partner, which inevitably draws you closer to your partner than you ever dreamed possible."

The author describes and outlines the processes of differentiation and fusion, how they each play out, look, and feel, and how people get from one to the...more
Stephanie Dinnen-Reini
I think every married couple should read this book. Unlike many self-help type books (which I strongly eschew) Dr. Schnarch has the credentials to back up his writings, being a pioneer of intimacy-based couples therapy. He throws out much of the common advice given by garden variety "sex therapists" and focuses instead on the developing of independent identities instead of the completely unsustainable "oneness" others propose. Schnarch instead advises couples to find themselves to find each othe...more
Differentiation, self-validation. I randomly picked up this book and B&N. Then flip through it. It talks frankly. I was shock to find the author's differentiations between sex, love making, and f*ing. This greatly impressed as most book of this nature doesn't talk honestly about the subject. At the same time, I also picked up 'Seven Levels of Intimacy'. After reading some of the Goodreads reviews, I'm convinced that I should read this book before any other self-help books on relationships.
Alana Munro
Definitely a must read for any couple. Shows us how to keep love and intimacy alive. Well worth a read.
Jun 10, 2007 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those in long-term relationships who's sex life is flagging (or has in the past)
This book was kinda hard to read because, well, that kinda stuff is *private* in my world, eh? However Schnartch delves into sex and the negotiation it's really about - as well as his great concept of differentiation - that really impressed me. It was a great book, despite a small handful of the Dr.'s own sexist references and outdated concepts.
I am clearly the most differentiated!! Me!!

Or, I am clearly interested in beefing up for Marriage Olympics. Let's just call this guy Béla Károlyi and be done with it, eh? I have gotten so much use out of this book, I'd like to say I took up temporary residence in the crucible for a few months. Really great for me and mine.
The first two chapters are quite good abouts differentiation and its importance in relationship. I stopped reading shortly after that as the quality of the book and the extent of the author's ego threatened to negate anything useful he had to say in the beginning.
I hesitated putting this book on my virtual bookshelf because some may find the language and details offensive or too descriptive. Those parts can be skimmed over if you want. However, this is not a sex "how to" book. It is all about maturing in a committed relationship (marriage) and confronting yourself and acting out of integrity. The crucible of marriage, as David Schnarch explains, is all about a marriage falling together when it appears to be falling apart. Differentiation is the key to a...more
it's kind of slow going and good food for thought- a refreshingly different perspective on relationships so far...
I LOVE THIS BOOK! Schnarch’s thesis can be condensed into the following quote, “Trusting me isn’t going to change you; trusting (and mobilizing) yourself will. The endpoint of differentiation is being willing and able to trust yourself” What is so fantastic about Schnarch theory is that its application is not limited to the context of marriage; but any intimate relationship. The process of differentiation is a journey of discovering oneself and can only occur in the context of close relationship...more
I'm enjoying this more than I expected. While the author tends to be repetitive with some of his content, it's also a good way to make the points sink in to this forgetful reader's consciousness. He also seems to have a few overly described sex scenes in it-- did his editor suggest this to help the book become more popular? However, the perspective he takes on relationships, based on his years of counseling and teaching at a med school, is fresh and seems right on and is giving me new insights....more
I wasn't sure if I should include this book on my virtual bookshelf because there is a lot that might (will) offend the lds person. The language can be frank and graphic and Dr Schnarch includes peeks into the sex lives of his patients that is often just too much. I mean, you can skim or skip those parts, obviously, but things tend to sneak into view. So I don't recommend this lightly or broadly. Having said that, I think that he includes those things in good faith (from his point of view) and n...more
Title is misleading. This isn't a "how-to" book on how to have a more passionate marriage. It is more of a memoir of a psychotherapist about some of the couples he's treated in his practice throughout the years. I was fascinated by some of the stories and the processes these couples had to work through to improve themselves in order to improve their marriages, only because I've worked through my own therapy process in the past for recovering from depression. In all of the couples were partners w...more
Cristen Boorman
Even though I am single this book is a really good book as it goes through how to be "differentiated" in a committed relationship. This means being able to hold onto yourself in a relationship to ensure it and you stay healthy and happy. The idea of self-validation rather than partner validation is very interesting as he goes through the importance of gaining strength from within and how to keep yourself grounded in a committed relationship.
David describes several couples that he had seen throug...more
Kelly Ballard
Does your relationship feel stuck? Going through the same patterns over and over? Bored? Read Passionate Marriage. My husband and I just finished reading this life-changing book. I’m serious – life-changing, however – not for the faint of heart. This book is blunt with a capital “B.”

Schnarch believes the dynamics of your relationships, for better or worse, are displayed in your sexual behaviors (i.e. who wants what, frequency, satisfaction…) Thus what’s happening or not happening in the bedroom...more
Margareta Ackerman
Without a shred of a doubt, the best book on marriage out there.

This is the book that saved my marriage. I recommend it to all my friends and everyone I meet whose marriage is in trouble.

Unlike the great majority of other books on the subject, this one explains that marriage isn't just about being nice to each other, listening, understanding, caring, etc. It is a complex system with inevitable hard times. It explains how your relationships fit into your life a whole, and how a marital crisis is...more
This is Schnarch's attempt at merging marital and sex therapy. My reaction to this book is very mixed. On the one hand I think that there are a lot of valuable points in the book. On the other, I really disliked reading it, only finished it because I was getting CE credits for it (available on btw) and felt I had to read every word, and feel there are some serious limitations to his conceptualization.

So first the good. Scharch's two main points are 1) that self-soothing...more
Dec 23, 2007 Art rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: married couples who want each other's intimacy
Shelves: marriage-family
"Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships" by David Schnarch is filled with stories of David Schnarch's marriage counseling couples. He had some great terms to learn (which I'll probably forget the terms but I hope the concepts stick with practice), such as "differentiation"- meaning , self-validating your convictions and desires and not being inhibited by presuppositions of your spouse's reactions or by waiting for your spouse to approve of your desires or...more
Barry Bridges
Dr. Schnarch jumps on the band wagon of marriage/sex help books and kicks everyone else off. He starts off admitting nobody is ready for marriage, beating the fools who say their books will prepare someone for marriage. It just gets better from there. This is no overnight read, but read together, this book could put a couple on the journey to discovering deep intimacy. And great sex. And really, truly knowing each other. And great sex.
This book was helpful in offering another perspective on crises within marriages. Dr. Schnarch looks at them as "people-growing" opportunities, saying that they are often caused by people being too emotionally fused with their partners. The crisis gives them the opportunity to grow up and differentiate. While I liked the ideas presented in the book and found them potentially helpful to keep in mind with future clients, I would probably not recommend this book to clients or anyone wanting to impr...more
Blunt. Uncomfortable. Sometimes a little hokey, but if you bear with him it feels less so. And another reviewer got it right: it's the sort of thing you want to cover when reading in public. I don't know if it's the "passionate" or the "marriage" (as an institution) part that feels embarrassing. Or maybe it's the proclamation: "hey! I have a problem in my marriage!" Regardless, it's worth reading.

He begins this edition with a disclaimer that, even though the couples he portrays here are all het...more
Jun 25, 2007 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone in a relationship even with themselves
It maybe hard to take my opinion seriously coming from two last places in the marriage olympics, but I really can't say enough good things about Schnarch's academic, methodical and sympathetic take on intimacy, sexual and relationship issues.
I learned more about how to take care of myself and my own issues than any other self-help type book, and I am a very cynical yet sentimental individual. Schnarch goes into agonizing detail of emotionally bound and f'ed up relationship- agonizing because yo...more
Sharon Allen
I think this book has some valuable ideas about the way that being undifferentiated from a partner can result in a stalemate within relationship. Whether you value this book probably will depend on whether or not you believe that following one's heart, and meeting one's own emotional needs, comes from being securely attached or generates the security we desire.
Teresa Sharp
I give this book 4 1/2 stars....a must read for anyone in a committed relationship (or anyone who was in a committed relationship and desires to have one again).

I was surprised at how insightful and helpful this book is even though my perspective on some key spiritual ideas differs from the Author. It has graphic sexual descriptions which might make some readers uncomfortable but I can see how important the stories are to getting his points.

This book has helped me change the way I see myself an...more
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David Schnarch is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified sex therapist, and author of numerous books and articles on intimacy, sexuality, and relationships. He is the Director of the Crucible® Institute and his work has attracted clients and students from across the globe. His book Passionate Marriage is a perennial bestseller, offering the general public his revolutionary approach in a pragm...more
More about David Schnarch...
Intimacy & Desire: Awaken the Passion in your relationship Secrets of a Passionate Marriage: How to Increase Sexual Pleasure and Emotional Fulfillment in Committed Relationships Resurrecting Sex: Resolving Sexual Problems and Rejuvenating Your Relationship Die Psychologie sexueller Leidenschaft (German Edition) Det Passionerede Ægteskab

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“Our mistakes and regrets are not barriers to becoming who we can be; they are a necessary ingredient.” 4 likes
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