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

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,402 ratings  ·  201 reviews
Rich in stories of couples who have turned their marriages around, and full of practical advice about the behaviors that make and break marriages, this essential guide helps couples find love beyond words. Don't make a man feel like a woman by talking to him like you would your girlfriend. ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by Broadway (first published 2007)
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Frankie Paige
May 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is a dumpster fire of a book. Anachronistically 1950s gender-proscriptive and based on a faulty premise that people's fear and shame are given and forever. The advice it dispenses is harmful throughout, and would be extremely detrimental to anyone struggling with codependency and maintaining healthy boundaries, but it's the worst in the chapter about sex, where it confidently assures the reader that marital rape is fine if it helps the abuser stay healthy and happy.

Full disclosure: I first
...more
Cara
Sep 16, 2014 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
David
Jul 31, 2016 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
Anna
Feb 21, 2012 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
...more
Kari
Sep 15, 2016 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
...more
Kimberly
Feb 01, 2012 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
...more
Mel
Jan 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: library
Another book that plays off of stereotypes of men and women.

When I saw this book on the library website, I didn't think it would be that way. So I was really disappointed when I got the requested book, and read the cover.

I'm sure some of their advice is useful, but honestly, if they need to envelope good advice in a pillow of gender-based insults, then I don't need to read it, or try any of their advice. Based on their assumptions, all relationships with two men are absolutely perfect, because
...more
Lisa
Dec 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
I got through as much of this book as I could stomach. At best, I think it reinforces archaic stereotypes. The authors assume all men want more sex and don’t like talking because it makes them feel shame. Women talk way too much because they are insecure. Ugh!!! At its worst, I think this book could reinforce a victim (female or male) to stay in an abusive relationship.

Not communicating will not save your marriage and foster connection. Learning how to communicate with your partner effectively
...more
Kelly
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
Katherine
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is what would result if Brene Brown became a marriage counselor. Kinda weird to review this publicly, but I promise I did not originally check this out for direct self-help! It was recommended from mustbethistalltoride.com which I think I found from some rabbit hole-ing off of advice columns that I read regularly.

It's quite interesting though, definitely different from pretty much any other advice on heterosexual relationships/marriages that I've come across before, and overall...rings
...more
Shannon Canaday
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I'd forgotten I read this because I had to track down a used physical copy from Amazon.

My husband and I have a great relationship, we've been together 10 years with far more ups than downs but I felt like there was room to learn and to modify our behaviour and how we interact with each other and our own thoughts.

The basic premise here is that most of what women think/say/do is based in fear. Fear of not being loved, fear of not being enough, fear of not being taken care of, fear of being left an
...more
Laura Gilfillan
Jul 04, 2012 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
Mike
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a seriously excellent, practical book for increasing connection in your marriage. It gets right to the heart of where many conflicts start -- so much of it sounded so familiar -- and how they often resolve unsatisfactorily.

Drawbacks: At times I almost felt the book was kind of more apologetic towards men to make sure they knew they weren't being picked on. There were a lot more examples where the women are asked to be more understanding of how men's brains work than men being asked to b
...more
VeeDawn
Jun 27, 2012 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?"
"So
...more
Brennan
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Professionally, I really can't recommend this book to my clients because they will wonder why in the world they are coming to see me. haha

Personally, I found the book pretty insightful. There is a gender dichotomy that will not work for everyone. The authors note this - and try to avoid stereotyping, but on occasion, they fall into the inevitable gender trap. Outside of this, there are some very practical strategies to improving one's marriage which I think would be helpful for any couple.

With
...more
Christine
Mar 30, 2009 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!
...more
Nila
Jun 30, 2016 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.
Aj Foreit
Aug 15, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
TERRIBLE book. relies on patriarchal, sexist tropes about how men and women communicate, and how people of either gender (assuming you buy into the gender binary) derive self-worth. if this book was recommended to you by a therapist, find a new therapist.
Claire Hassig
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: improve
I think basically anyone could benefit from this book. A lot is based on gender stereotypes, but they mention in the beginning that these stereotypes don't apply to everyone. I found things that spoke to me in both gender categories, as well as identified some causes behind many aspects of my own and my former partners' behaviors. It spells out extra angles of life and partnering that may be simple, but aren't necessarily obvious. Also applies well to work politics and interactions with coworker ...more
jeni brasfield
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this one while on my power walks this week. The authors provide a look at the distinct differences in the thinking that typically occurs between males and females. Much like any self-improvement book it is not a-cure-all but does offer some fantastic and useful insights into connection without having to talk about it. ~jeni b~
Sarah
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly helpful
Helfren Filex
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
A book that centred on marriage guide and helping couples to be better in relationship.
Heather
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I hate books that say "all men do x and all women do z". That being said, there were interesting points in this book that I think would be really helpful for couples in which the woman is talking the relationship to death and the man has given up hope. ...more
Irene
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relationships
I may be a bit addicted to self-help books, not because I am in a big crisis or hoping to learn some “truth” to make my life/relationships better per se, but because I find the topic of human relations and emotions endlessly fascinating. Therein lies the key difference between men and women repeatedly hammered in this book: That men and women connect differently, and the health of a love relationship does not hinge on communication - It's not about communication, it is about connection. Women lo ...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
...more
d
Jan 11, 2015 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
Amber
Apr 07, 2011 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
...more
Skylar Burris
May 29, 2009 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
Johnny Grimes Jr.
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was very helpful and informative on ways to improve a marriage. The best part about this book is, it focuses on both parties!
Adrienna
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,
...more
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