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ScreamFree Marriage: Calming Down, Growing Up, and Getting Closer

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Through the best-selling ScreamFree Parenting, Hal Runkel showed thousands of parents how keeping their cool can revolutionize their family life. In his groundbreaking new book, ScreamFree Marriage, Runkel now shows couples how learning to stay calm, in the face of common marital conflicts, is the key to creating and enjoying a deep, lifelong connection.

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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Harmony
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 ·  350 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Finally, a marriage book that:

1. Doesn't treat me like a child! (And expects me not to treat my spouse like one either.)

2. Doesn't make generalizations about my spouse or about me. THANK YOU!

3. Doesn't talk about sex as if one of us needs it and one of us owes it and that is all there is. And doesn't pretend to know it all or be able to answer it all in one chapter.

4. Doesn't try to make me feel good by telling about all sorts of horrible marriage decisions "other people" make but instead
Stephanie Ricker
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, nonfiction
I went back and forth on 3 or 4 stars for this book. The concrete suggestions are invaluable, but the repetitive fluff surrounding them was incredibly frustrating. Ultimately, though, it was well worth the read (albeit at high speed during the irrelevant parts), and I've recommended it to several other couples I know, which is some proof of its merit. Once you can get past the endless string of "this book is going to change your life," "it's unlike anything you've ever read," "it might be so ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book outlining how to authentically represent yourself in marriage. I thought the examples and chapters were helpful and my one complaint is I wish there were a few more examples of real-life situations and maybe a slightly more detailed discussion on how to authentically represent yourself i.e. language to use. All in all though, this gave me some great tools to apply to my own marriage.
Nakuma Palczewski
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Great marriage book. The only marriage book I have read that speaks about looking inward to change the marriage. Highly recommend
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
The first thing you need to do is get over the title of this book. Not having read Runkel's previous book, Screamfree Parenting, I thought this title didn't make sense and was mostly piggybacking on his catchphrase. That being said, this book has terrific advice on marriage that I wish I had known years ago.

Here are some traditionally-held ideas about marriage which he refutes:

1. Spouses are supposed to meet each other's needs. (What he says; spouses do not, and should not, need each other. They
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book isn't that groundbreaking. There are pockets of good insights. Some how it seemed pretty basic: stop manipulating and being narcissistic, and be proactively authentic. In other words, really BE as you wish to seem- and realize when that isn't possible and own up to the honesty of it all.

It's good advice no matter how it's presented.

I like this author/therapist; he's revitalizing some necessary basic principles in life, but his writing style isn't my favorite.

Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love the premise of this book. The overall message is that when you control yourself, that will impress upon others. Next up, screen free parenting
Jamie Colbert
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
best marriage book Ive read - and Ive read many - lol
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great book. Just like the title says, it's about growing up and handling conflicts like an adult. Which is really difficult in marriage, actually. Nice to read some fresh ideas on the subject.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
-Great preface!
-Marriage isn't becoming less if yourself, it's becoming more.
-Being able to authentically present yourself is the root if true progression. Integrity.
-Self absorption is getting others to focus on you. In contrast, focusing on self (not self-absorption) makes you available for others.
-Inform the other how you feel, don't tell them what to do or attack them.
-Self-validation: "I don't expect you to agree with me. You weren't put upon the face of this earth to validate and reinforce
Gayle Vegter
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was very thought-provoking and inspiring. Simple concepts, dramatic possibilities for change. I actually got this because I had read Scream-free parenting, which appealed to me because I am a bit of a yell-er. :( Not in my marriage, but I remembered the main concept of SFP was being calm and controlling your own emotions to help teach your children that THEY don't rule your emotions, YOU do. (Good book, BTW). So, again, not much "screaming" in my marriage, but his point is that we all ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended by my couple's therapist. I liked this book. It had really practical advice on how to deal with very common problems. Refreshing take form what I hear twenty and thirty-something people who haven't actually experienced these situations, or dealt with them healthfully came up with. I liked the personal anecdotes and the stories of patients and how they ended up dealing with their issues. There are things I plan to add implement in all kinds of relationships I am in.

Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many marriage books are about "techniques" that require participation and or cooperation from your spouse. That isn't always possible. We can look at ourselves first. Own our own stuff and act better and be more mature. It isn't easy but it does help you respect yourself more, and act more in line with your own higher principles.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book's focus on the self rather than on the spouse. Emotional reactivity is something that the author wants to empower folks to understand. Rather than reacting to a situation, better to respond in a calm way that accurately represents your true self to your spouse. Very useful ideas, I think.
Matthew Parks
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 15yo
It was available on my library's app and everything else wasn't, so I went for it.

And, it blew me away!

This is perhaps the best book about marriage I've read to date, and I've read my share!

Will recommend this one often! I *love* it!
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books
AMAZING. Must read for anyone who is in or wants to be in a relationship.
Lindsay Kline
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best marriage books I have ever read! It helped me tremendously in my marriage.
Jun 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Friend said it was great - sent pages and pages of notes - read through and decided to check out the book as well.

"Screaming" is his catch all phrase for any emotional reactivity. Not, literally, screaming.

If you want to skip most of the book, the Appendix's in the back cover most of it in short form. The book itself has some great points, though there's extra text thrown in there to pad out what would otherwise be a book half the size. He repeats his points a lot - which would work out fine in
Zach Gray
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
There's good advice to be gained if you can get past the corny, motivational-speechy writing.

Basically, Runkel says that the best way to approach conflict resolution is to stay calm and work on yourself instead of focusing on your spouse's problems. If you're upset, Runkel urges you to take a step back and figure out what you truly want out of the situation and then go about working toward that by changing the only thing that you can control - yourself. He also places importance on being open
Melissa Lee-Tammeus
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: borrowed
Ergh. I am glad I finally trudged through this book and finished it. This was recommended by my mental health counselor supervisor, along with the other book in the series, Screamfree Parenting. I have to say the same thing here as I did for that particular review. There is nothing new here. All that happens here is the theories of old are put in layman's terms and then dumbed down even further. I appreciate what this guy and his institute are doing and I respect him for his experience and ...more
Gary Mccall
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on marriage. It has since been re-published with the title, Self-Centered Marriage. I am not wild about the title because it sounds like his view of marriage is based on self-interest. What he really says is that marriage is two healthy individuals sharing who they are with each other, their needs, their wants, what they think and feel. Runkel's outline is the steps of calming down when a disagreement occurs, growing up by doing what is mature and appropriate, and getting closer ...more
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Hands down the best marriage book I've read! Let me start by explaining that it isn't about people who *yell*, it is about 'emotional reactivity' and the way we act that out. Some people yell, some withdraw, some act out in other ways. Many of the things that I've learned from professional and non-professional marriage advice over the years are summarized in this book. It gives you some fantastic, realistic tools on how to change things, and provides a great deal of down home honesty about how ...more
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked this book quite a lot. (although I still think the "scream free" title is a cheesy marketing technique.) The advice was basically: to have a great marriage you need to grow up, forgive, and ask what you can do to make yourself happy, instead of what your spouse can do for you. Reminds me of the prinicples in "The Bonds that Make us Free" by Terry Warner and "Leadership and Self Deception" by the Arbinger Institute. Also reminded me of what I learned in my church marriage improvement ...more
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Okay, I know what your thinking... No, our marriage is not in trouble. I just wish Runkel wouldn't have named his book, "ScreamFree Marriage." Thanks for the stigma, Hal.

My wife and I recently watched the movie, "Barney's Version," which is about a proud idiot who messes up his life and his marriage along the way. After watching it, I started to wonder how my own irrascibility works in our partnership.

To friends, take this recommendation not as a call for help. I believe the best time to work
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great book with some different thinking about marriage and relationships in general. Hal is funny, and clear, and he really believes and practices what he preaches. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I'm working to try out and put into practice some of the great insights he brings to the table. Full disclosure, the author is a close friend of mine and one of my college roommates, but I think this makes this particular review more authentic.
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book primarily because it was written by an old friend of my husband's (not that I couldn't use the advice), so I'm not exactly impartial. However, it does a good job of debunking some hokey marriage/relationship cliches and focusing on self-improvement as the primary way to grow in your relationship.
Nov 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Good advice, stuff I should already know but never actively apply. I'm not religious but it is obviously a Christian book, which didn't keep me from reading through it. I really enjoyed the author confronting the lies/myths about being married that "keep us stuck." The stories were hard to relate to for me, so I skimmed them or completely skipped them.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
I thought this book nicely summed up some of the best marriage advice I've heard. His emphasis is on improving and worrying about yourself rather than trying to change your spouse. I didn't agree with everything he said but overall it was a good reminder to worry about improving yourself, not your spouse, and that the only person you can really control is yourself.
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Accessible and practical tools. The genius is in it's simplicity. Highly recommended for couples in distress or those looking to enhance their communication. This book teaches you how to not let emotional reactivity get in the way or ruin your communication. It asks you to take responsibility to calm down, grow up and hopefully grow closer.
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic
Funny, modern and relevant. The author blends theory and practicality superbly. This book isn't preachy but does have a touch of Buddhist philosophy (probably not intended by the author but welcomed by this reader).
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HAL RUNKEL is a world-renowned relationship expert, licensed marriage and family therapist, conflict mediator, and internationally acclaimed speaker. Hal’s books, including e New York Times bestseller ScreamFree Parenting, have reached hundreds of thousands around the world, and have been translated into twelve languages. Hal has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, including over forty ...more
“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking. –GEN. GEORGE S. PATTON” 0 likes
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