Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse—and How You Can, Too” as Want to Read:
It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse—and How You Can, Too
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse—and How You Can, Too

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  48 reviews
With a focus on self-empowerment and resilience, this refreshing and witty relationship guide has a reassuring counterintuitive message for unhappy spouses: you only need one partner to initiate far-reaching positive change in a marriage.

Conventional wisdom says that “it takes two” to turn a troubled marriage around and that both partners must have a shared commitment to c
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Gallery Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about It Takes One to Tango, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about It Takes One to Tango

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  223 ratings  ·  48 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse—and How You Can, Too
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
Winifred Reilly is a family therapist who realizes that her own marriage is in decay. She decides that a major change is in order and proceeds to apply many of her own professional strategies towards salvaging her relationship. Winifred quickly realizes that the first step in improving her marriage is to revamp herself.

Each chapter describes special situations faced by her patients or revelations from her own marriage. Each crisis is dissected and the key themes are applied in her attempt to im
Trey McIntyre
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"It's up to you to make yourself happy in your marriage." 

I heard an interview with the author on The Art of Charm and was really impressed with her focus on individuality and being the architect of your own joy in your relationship. This book does not disappoint one bit.

Since I JUST finished it about ten minutes ago, I haven't digested it well enough to provide a better summary than that. But if five stars and those words aren't enough to convince you that this is a great relationship book, I'l
Cindy Roesel
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Remember how we all thought it takes TWO to Tango? It seems not everyone agrees!
What happens when one partner in a relationship has had enough and is ready to give up and walk away? Most experts would argue both people in the relationship need to get together and figure out how to make it work, or basically, that’s, that! A new book, IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO (Touchstone) by Winifred M. Reilly, MA, MFT, argues, not so fast, take a step back. Perhaps it takes only one to tango!
Unlike most self-help b
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was outstanding. Don't let the title fool you: your marriage or relationship doesn't need to be in need of a rescue for you to reap the benefits of Winifred Reilly's message here, which is that you are the creator of your own joy and happiness in your relationship. I KNOW!!!!!! IT'S NOT YOUR PARTNER'S JOB TO MAKE YOU HAPPY!!!!!! This is a book about how to make a life with a whole other individual who is different from you and functions differently from you, and it gives the tools and ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it

Right on the tail end of a divorce, I'm finding myself reading all these relationship books. It has been both clarifying and interesting to me, to read how Winifred repaired her own marriage and counsels others to repair theirs.

I feel this book is helpful not just for marriages, but relationships as well. With a caveat:

She does not advocate staying in an abusive or destructive relationship. She is talking about marriage. If you are in a relationship that is running you through the wringer, you r
Sara Strand
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Let's just get into this, shall we? The book is broken up into three parts (For Better-or Worse, Now What Do I Do, and Welcome to Your Stronger, More Loving Relationship) and each part has little sub-chapters in it. The first section is basically a background of the author's own marriage and how she had an Oprah like "AHA moment" at a continuing education conference led by Ellyn Bader who talked about marriage. Winifred Reilly is a counselor and often deals with couples on the brink of divorce, ...more
Ed Renfro
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the truly best books of ever read on
Relationships between partners. The reading was extremely easy and delightful. The way it is written
Made it great for me to realize my part in all aspects of my marriage. There are moments of serious but more than anything there were more moments of charming stories that I could use to relate to my own circumstances. I have given this book to several of my friends and recommended to many others
A true worth it!!!!
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend Winifred Reilly's book to anyone who's married/partnered and looking to make positive change in their relationship. Like Reilly, I used to think that "it takes two" to create lasting change in a relationship, but her book offers a much-needed reframe of this idea. Reilly's core message is that it only takes one partner to initiate meaningful change in a marriage, an idea I find both reassuring and refreshing. I just finished the book two days ago and I've already found myself ...more
Frances Pen
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Finally an accessible read of the developmental approach, integrating differentiation, attachment styles and neuroscience! Although not groundbreaking and brilliantly written like The Dance of Anger, Winifred Reilly speaks to the many layered and profound challenges of marriage. ITOTO offers a comprehensive road map for folks invested in growth and change.
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I felt empowered reading this book. I haven't been married that long, but Reilly's book helped me see ahead to habits and patterns that might emerge and gave me strategies to challenge those problems as well as how to avoid them in the first place! ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the BEST books on marriage I've ever read. I've highlighted almost every page. It takes courage and perserverance but one of you can change the whole course of your marriage. 8 steps up - 2 steps back, keep on course. It is possible. You will see growth in yourself like never before! ...more
Elaine Mossner
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It Takes One to Tango is a unique treasure in the field of books about marriage. It gives you the power to do something about your relationship frustrations without spending hours complain to your spouse about their shortcomings. Ms. Reilly provides tangible steps to create change in yourself which will by default create change in your relationship. You don't have to wait for your spouse to agree to go to counseling. Hooray!

What I appreciate most about this book is Ms. Reilly's honesty. She is
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dont-own
I liked how this book concentrated on changes you could make to help your relationship. Only reason it’s not five stars is that sometimes Reilly would mention a recurring problem and I would think “that! That’s what I’m doing! What do I do now? How do I make changes!?” And then she would change the subject and not go into specifics. I get that’s what therapy is for and yay therapy, but it was frustrating to be so close and so far away at the same time.
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt empowered reading this book. I haven't been married that long, but Reilly's book helped me see ahead to habits and patterns that might emerge and gave me strategies to challenge those problems as well as how to avoid them in the first place! ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for everybody!!! Reilly's revolutionary perspective on marriage is guaranteed to up-level any relationship. Her main premise is that "we can stay with our partner, or we can leave. If we stay, we have to figure out how to navigate the difficult waters of our marriage. … We have to find a way to have staying be a choice we make wholeheartedly"(190). I find this idea so empowering, it makes me feel in control of the quality of my life. What a game changer!

With that said, it too
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much from this book! Even though it's written as mostly (half?) memoir and the author uses her own marriage as the basis for her exploration into different approaches to marriage counseling (she was desperate, and what she was doing wasn't working...and she was a marriage therapist!). It's grounded in theory, and she had practical advice for how to make changes on your own. I expected there to be more "activities" (questionnaires, for example) for couples to work on, but this book w ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book. I mean, of course the cover is just gorgeous, and that is what originally captured my eyes when I was at the library looking for a book to read, but the content is just as beautiful! This is a book written by a marriage counsellor about how you can save your marriage, or your relationship, and just feel overall happier when it comes to relationships. She uses real life examples from patients she has had, as well as her own marriage. There are many examples to which you can ...more
Andy Bigley
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Definitely in my Top 5 for relationship books. Reilly is a marriage therapist stuck in loops of conflict and on-hold in her own marriage, all the while seeing clients and counseling them on their issues. After attending a seminar at the suggestion of a friend and thinking “Why not, I can use the development credits” she discovers the key to slowly nudging her marriage out of its doldrums: Change starts from within. There is no need to wait for the right time or for a spouse/partner to get onboar ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The tango is a difficult dance to do. Nice to find out that I can do it alone. The author has a very refreshing view of how to make marriage work, whether one's partner wants to cooperate in the endeavor or not. Her ideas are similar to those of Michelle Weiner-Davis, who wrote "The Divorce Remedy." I highlighted quite a bit of this book and want to go back and re-read it. When couples come for therapy, they are usually hoping (even expecting) the therapist to tell their spous ...more
2.5 stars. I like the thrust of the book--that one person can unilaterally change a relationship's dynamic, but this thing is padddddded. it's fat with banalities of the author's marriage difficulties and thin with specific things someone can do to change their relationship system (and many of these things you'll have to abstract from the author's personal examples). some good points about hidden relationship rules, but I would have preferred a lot more on that. anyhow, it was not altogether a s ...more
Steve Hughes
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a relationship-changing and life-changing book.

It pointed out what should have been obvious: You can’t control someone else’s behavior, and letting their behavior control you leaves you powerless.

The lesson here: it’s up to each of us to keep our cool and behave well in our marriage, and we don’t have to be infected by our partner’s not always doing their best.

The book also taught me that working to do your best even when your spouse is not at their best is a great way to become more r
Stephanie Mouton
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephanie by: friend
I feel like I have a great marriage; however, I'm one of those people who is always seeking ways to improve, whether it's through better communication skills, being able to deflate conflict, or just gracefully accepting what life throws at me. "It Takes One to Tango" is set up as a marriage conflict resolution book. Reilly encourages her readers that it only takes one personal making unilateral changes to significantly impact a relationship. It got me thinking. Many of the tips are applicable fo ...more
Amazing. Rarely have a read a book I feel like highlighting every other page. Of course I resisted—I don’t normally mark book—but I shouldn’t have. I’m sure it won’t be as applicable to everyone, and I feel like in 13+ years I’ve been fortunate to stumble upon a few of the things in this book before the author did in her own marriage. But it’s nice to have the reasons mapped out. I feel like parts of the book are also applicable to other relationships (friends and business), though with a bit mo ...more
Miranda Barzey
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Maybe I’m woefully naive about marriage, but this book seemed pretty basic. While the recommendation to improve your own shit to make a better marriage was intriguing, the basic message is “stop fighting about minutiae, figure out the bigger picture, and keep trying things till it improves.” Which is good advice, but the author treats it as a massive revelation, which strikes me as odd given that she’s a marriage counselor.

But what does my single ass know? Maybe I’ll come back around to it when
Jeff Duda
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who has ever had trouble in a relationship beyond 6-12 months would benefit from reading this book.

Big message: relationships and marriage are not easy. Don't expect them to be. But you have a choice to be with the person you're with. If you choose to stay with that person, then it is up to you to find a way to be happy with that person. Make a unilateral move - one that promotes your own growth. You'd be surprised how effective it will be. You may even see your partner reflect that move
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I can't believe this author is a couples therapist. She had a spouse willing to go to therapy with her and they obviously chose an untrained therapist as well. The concepts in this book should be an absolute last resort and only if you have a spouse unwilling to get help with you. I would recommend trying Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) with your partner before any other option. The "Developmental Model" highlighted in the book has little research to back its effectiveness. ...more
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. It is very readable, quite funny and full of useful information about how to work on a relationship. A well written, real life story that gives even those of us who have struggled through difficult times hope that we have the power to make things better. Really a must read.
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think my marriage is in a bad spot, but it has never been perfect. On top of that, I am all about preventative maintenance. This was a good book. It has some very insightful things that I needed to hear right now and really allowed me to take stock of my relationship and what can be done to make it better. ...more
Edward Gorman
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review of It takes one to tango

I was referred to this book by a fellow marriage therapist ( of hers) Read the book was taken by her candor and honesty about how she cam to learn the subject matter and shared it with the reading public. Her directness about it not being a one and done and how it is a lifetime journey was very blunt but encouraging.
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt empowered reading this book. I haven't been married that long, but Reilly's book helped me see ahead to habits and patterns that might emerge and gave me strategies to challenge those problems as well as how to avoid them in the first place! ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Not One of Us
  • The Neil Gaiman at the End of the Universe
  • For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women
  • Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts
  • The Twenty-Ninth Year
  • Own Your Everyday:  Overcome the Pressure to Prove and Show Up for What You're Made to Do
  • Memories in the Drift
  • Infinite
  • The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage
  • Ice Cold Heart (Monkeewrench, #10)
  • The Perfect Marriage
  • Dark Highway (Jessica Shaw, #3)
  • One Last Child (Tallman's Valley Detectives, #1)
  • Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last
  • The Gifts of Imperfection
  • Nothing More Dangerous
  • Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One
  • Analysis - The Last Mrs. Parrish - Very Best Study Guide
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Luvvie Ajayi Jones—author, cultural critic, digital entrepreneur—might be best described as a professional truthteller. Her crazily popular...
53 likes · 0 comments
“Most of us come into marriage poorly equipped to deal with disappointment and its painful counterpart: being the one who has disappointed our spouse. Until we develop the tolerance (and self-soothing) we need, most of us react to disappointment as if we’ve been dealt some grave injustice, as if we were entitled to have things as we prefer. And when our spouse is disappointed in us, we’re more likely to insist that their disappointment is unwarranted, that we are innocent of any wrongdoing, than to accept that we cannot do and be all that our partner wants.” 2 likes
“he and his fellow psychologists in training were entering the locked ward at the psychiatric hospital, the chief of psychiatry asked how many of them had ever been on the other side of the door. “The people in there are not nearly as scary as you might imagine,” the doctor” 1 likes
More quotes…