Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships Info

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“A classic.” ―William H. Masters,
M.D.

Passionate Marriage has long been recognized
as the pioneering book on intimate human relationships. Now with a new
preface by the author, this updated edition explores the ways we can
keep passion alive and even reach the height of sexual and emotional
fulfillment later in life. Acclaimed psychologist David Schnarch guides
couples toward greater intimacy with proven techniques developed in his
clinical practice and worldwide workshops. Chapters―covering everything
from understanding love relationships to helpful "tools for connections"
to keeping the sparks alive years down the road―provide the scaffolding
for overcoming sexual and emotional problems. This inspirational book
is sure to help couples invigorate their relationships and reach the
fullest potential in their love lives.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships:

5

Jan 22, 2008

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, 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, like life, is constructed so as to have these periods... it's part of how it works, right down to the uncertainty. The "non-pathological" approach - not making something wrong just because it's hard - was the beginning of what opened into the hugest, most joyful, reawakening, better than what I could have imagined, because the process we traveled, individually and jointly (with the help of this approach) was so outside of my scope, and yet, so "Oh! Right!" as I got pieces of it. But my scope, my heart, my life, my sense of loving and living, grew and grew, and we grew into the most passionate of marriages.

About three years after we went through that huge upheaval and well into the joyful glide that followed, he died suddenly, in an accident (words that still, all these years later, sometimes strike me as unbelievable). But right from the beginning, the unreal horror of deciding about organ donation, cremation options, for someone who had been wholly and lovingly alive that morning... right from the start, I kept thinking, "Thank God we got through our stuff. Thank God Passionate Marriage came into our hands when it did."

For it turned out that not only did the ideas therein enable me to grow up and into marriage, in the deepest and profound sense, they also helped me live through the non-negotiable loss that his death was. Ultimately, one's first passionate marriage is to one's self --- only from a steadiness there can one truly, non-manipulatively, love... Out of desire and wanting, not neediness, and not out of the mistaken idea that a relationship provides safety. (It doesn't. It can't. Nothing does... life is inherently unsafe.)

Because of the work we did, and I did on my own, parallel to the late love of my life, I was able to live through his death.

All of this said, I find Schnarch's case histories and opening chapters clunky and not well-written. But stick with it --- the underlying theory is elegant. As for the writing, it gets better and better. The final chapter, "Death, Sex, and Love" is one I read over and over when he and I went through our crisis... and then again, when he left this world so abruptly. The writing, the ideas, the truth is moving, crystalline, unavoidable, powerful. ...more
4

Sep 10, 2008

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 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 us, and this book offers important insights into the process of growth that intimate relationships inevitably force us into.

Much of Snarch’s theory is relayed through case studies of actual couples he has worked with over the years. Those who are not comfortable reading detailed discussions about the sex lives of others will probably find this book difficult. But those who are okay with frank sexual conversation will likely find a lot of very valuable information about how to create more satisfying intimate relationships in this book.

...more
5

Oct 22, 2013

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 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 it applies across all relationships and not just marriage) is that we must first validate and develop ourselves and only then can we truly experience the intimacy that we desire. Any intimacy that is based on fear and neediness can never truly fulfill you. Intimacy based on self-fulfillment and personal strength means that you are choosing your partner for who they are and NOT who you need them to be for you. I've read other books that contain these same ideas (Harriet Lerner's "Dance of" books for example) but for some reason Passionate Marriage was the one that really connected with me at a visceral level. ...more
2

Feb 25, 2013

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 http://www.ce-credit.com/ 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 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 http://www.ce-credit.com/ 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 is important within marital conflict (or really any interpersonal interaction) and 2) that marital conflict is normal. Both of these points are very valid. Scharch also offers some nice suggestions for increasing emotional intimacy during sex and points out that self-focused sexual contacts are often the norm for couples which limits the interpersonal connection that can occur through sex. However, that is about the extent of Scharch's discussion of sex therapy. The remainder of the book really focuses on marital therapy.

Now on to the bad and there's quite a bit of it.

I'm breaking my complaints down into different domains. First is writing style, second is ethnocentricism, and third is conceptual validity.

As far as writing style goes, this book pretty much sucks.
- It's repetitive and wordy in the extreme. (I really did only finish it because I felt I ethically had to to get my ce credits.)
- Scharch presents exercises during the narrative, but nowhere does he actually systematically write out suggested procedures for people to try. This is pretty unheard of in modern self-help type books.
- Scharch comes across as highly narcissistic. He states initially in his preface to this edition that there is nothing that he would change about the original writing of the book which just begs readers to pick it apart. Which I then did. Also, all of the examples he uses of him doing therapy and from his marriage also come across and self satisfied and self congratulatory BS. Enough said on this point.

The writing style I can kind of forgive in the interest of having useful content. The problems of sublte prejudice and ethnocentricism I had a harder time with.
- Scharch states in his preface that while he uses all heterosexual married couples in his examples, the book is intended to be useful for individuals in homosexual or nontraditional relationships. Again I call BS. You cannot simply say this and have it be so, particularly when you are talking about explicit sexual content without mentioning how to apply it to a homosexual relationship.
- Scharch chooses to alternate between using male and female pronouns in his text. I am all for this. However, he tends (with a few exceptions) to selectively uses female pronouns for what would be considered weak or needy roles within a relatinoship.
- Finally, and perhaps most damningly, the whole concept of differentiation is firmly rooted in an individualistic culture and discounts the communal focus of much of the world. I think there are probably ways of reconciling this, but Scharch did not acknowledge this, mention it, or attempt to address it.

Finally the conceptual validity
- Scharch annoyed me again by saying in the preface that there had been research done on his ideas since the original printing of the book and then not providing references or even a brief summary other than saying it all supports what he says. Again, another way in which the book could have used revising!
- The explanation of differentiation is circular. Basically you are differentiated if you are having positive outcomes. There really is no operationalization of the concept that satisfied me. This calls into question the validity of the whole book.

But that said, I liked the focus on self-soothing which is also a hallmark of dialectical behavior therapy which does have empirical support. Also normalizing marital distress is useful and focusing on strategies for resolving this successfully. I would say though that there are a number of other books I would recommend that focus on these concepts without having to put yourself through reading this particular book:
Hold Me Tight Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert are two and I also like Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Put You in Control as a nice DBT introduction. ...more
5

Nov 05, 2007

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 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 recommended it to have actually taken the time to read it. It DOESN'T have how-to tips for steamy nights, or easy answers. But for those willing to put the philosophy into practice, I suspect their relationships would change for the better. ...more
5

Dec 09, 2014

Two things I did not like: 1)The part that degenerates into self-help. (I loathe self-help books because they tell me what to do.) 2) The title. A boring but more apt title might be "Understanding Identity, Sexuality & Intimacy". That said, I can't recall ever reading a book the way I read this one. I cried, I reread, I underlined and starred, I put it down for a few minutes every now and then so I could think. Because I have spent the past five or so years struggling intensely with identity Two things I did not like: 1)The part that degenerates into self-help. (I loathe self-help books because they tell me what to do.) 2) The title. A boring but more apt title might be "Understanding Identity, Sexuality & Intimacy". That said, I can't recall ever reading a book the way I read this one. I cried, I reread, I underlined and starred, I put it down for a few minutes every now and then so I could think. Because I have spent the past five or so years struggling intensely with identity and intimacy, I can attest to some of the truths presented. Others I hope to be able to test in the future. I would say that I wish I had read this book as a young adult, but I really don't think I would have gotten much out of it. All the same, I'm determined to find ways to share its wisdom with my children. For instance, I was raised in a church that taught, "If you save sex for marriage it will be a beautiful, sacred experience that will draw you closer to your spouse." Really, it was that simple. But of course it wasn't. Passionate Marriage helped me understand exactly how this can happen. I would really like to discuss this book with someone I know, so please read it. Soon. ...more
5

Jan 07, 2013

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 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 communicate and on trying to nail down a specific pattern or behavior, this book recommends learning more about yourself and learning how to be true to yourself in order to act from that position in any relationship. Only by knowing what we want as individuals can we be true to others. Read this book, even if you think your relationships are great. You'll learn something about yourself and how you walk in the world. ...more
5

Dec 04, 2013

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 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 an incredible opportunity for self-growth.

The tension between our need for companionship and our need for freedom and autonomy are explained. This book walked me through what led to my marital crisis, and explained the process by which it would heal, giving me the necessary tool.

This book doesn't trivialize marriage, how difficult a crisis can be, and how hard it is to work out difficulties in a marriage. It doesn't give any kind of "10-steps" that look great on paper but don't make any difference. Instead, it hits the nail on head showing you exactly what got you to do in a crisis, and what needs to happen for things to get back to normal - or, often, better than normal.

If your marriage is in trouble - read this. You might be very happy you did.

...more
4

Oct 19, 2015

This is required reading for couples, and relationship therapists, for sure; chapters 1-2 and 11-13 in particular (if you don't have the time or interest to get through the whole thing). I do think, however, that this book suffers from some of the same things the other marriage bookshelf standard "Hold Me Tight" does—both authors oversell their theory (in this case "differentiation"; in the latter, "attachment"). When you're a hammer...

Yet, both are very useful, and shed some fascinating light This is required reading for couples, and relationship therapists, for sure; chapters 1-2 and 11-13 in particular (if you don't have the time or interest to get through the whole thing). I do think, however, that this book suffers from some of the same things the other marriage bookshelf standard "Hold Me Tight" does—both authors oversell their theory (in this case "differentiation"; in the latter, "attachment"). When you're a hammer...

Yet, both are very useful, and shed some fascinating light on romantic relationships, even if they are somewhat impossible to integrate (let's be honest, ha!).

Read it. Digest it. Let it hit you. Argue with it. See what sticks. Regardless of how you come away feeling about Schnarch or his mysterious Crucible Approach (I say "mysterious" because it's not an approach to therapy that is disseminated through accessible trainings or manuals), there's enough here to really provoke a lot of thought, and at best facilitate some personal and relationship growth. ...more
1

Aug 17, 2007

Although a noble idea and a potentially juicy topic, the clinical nature of this book made it difficult to slog through to the actually useful information...wait, was there any actually useful information? I'm not sure. I couldn't get through the first few chapters.

Amazing how an author can take a subject as promising and fun as sex and intimacy and make it sterilized and boring. Oh well. My advice to the seeker, read "Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving" by the Muir's if you are really Although a noble idea and a potentially juicy topic, the clinical nature of this book made it difficult to slog through to the actually useful information...wait, was there any actually useful information? I'm not sure. I couldn't get through the first few chapters.

Amazing how an author can take a subject as promising and fun as sex and intimacy and make it sterilized and boring. Oh well. My advice to the seeker, read "Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving" by the Muir's if you are really interested in cultivating a passionate marriage/relationship. ...more
5

Mar 24, 2010

This is one of the best relationship books ever written! I have a dog-eared copy that is going on ten years old... and every time I open it, I learn something new. An absolute MUST READ for every woman who has ever been in a relationship.
5

Apr 04, 2014

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 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 relationships. He reminds us that differentiation is not a behavior that we adopt; it is a process of becoming more fully oneself while tolerating closeness and maintaining relationship with other. This book is a layman's version of his more weighty work, "The Sexual Crucible". As a future therapist, this is the modality that resonates as the healthiest approach to helping people look to intimacy as a context for growth rather than a other-validated unit that leads only to disillusionment and disappointment (We never get the acceptance and validation we are seeking from the other....we can only provide it for ourselves). Schnarch calls it holding onto oneself while tolerating closeness with another. There is so much depth and so many 'aha moments while reading this work, its one I know I will return to over and over as I move forward into practice. ...more
5

Mar 08, 2014

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 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 deeper, more meaningful, and happier relationship within marriage, and with all of the relationships in your life. This book had a profound impact on me. ...more
2

Nov 27, 2009

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.
0

Oct 18, 2011

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 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 experience or emotions. That is kind of a set up. If you disclose something and the other person doesn't say what you want to hear, it can feel like the expected intimacy is lost or damaged.

Self-validated Intimacy
So if you disclose something and then validate it yourself, the other person is just there as a witness I suppose, to share in what you're going through, not to DO anything. Interesting idea. But is that what we really crave? Does it leave us feeling understood and appreciated and loved and nurtured? ...more
4

Aug 16, 2007

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.
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.
Dr. Schnark talks about 'Hugging Till Relaxed' I notice at the airport that people rarely hug for more then four seconds. I only saw one couple that hugged for more then four seconds and it seem eternal. The beginning and end of the film 'Love Actually', there were shots of people greeting each other with warm love and expectations. This version of the book doesn't have the cover of a couple kissing with eyes open. That's the other concept which breaks the stereo type of romance and intimacy. ...more
4

Jan 20, 2009

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 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 not to be salacious. The thing is, I wish I could blindly recommend this book to every person I know because, in many ways, it is amazing. It isn't about how to improve your intimate (sexual) relationship by trying this or doing that - there is NONE of that in this book; it is about growing up, developing integrity, and ultimately improving intimacy itself with your partner. This book and Dr Schnarch's description of differentiation had a profound positive affect on me, on the way I see myself, and on the way I see and approach my marriage.

...more
5

Sep 07, 2012

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 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 other and back again. This aspect of the book belongs in anyone's "owner's manual" for understanding the design of what it means to be human.

The author clarified key concepts in human development (expounding on what Jung referred to as individuation). I found the clarity enlightening - I feel lighter, about my primary relationships (spouse, family, close friends) and also about some past work relationships.

I recommend this book to anyone who feels frustration in a personal relationship or wrestles with a reoccurring issue. ...more
2

Aug 27, 2015

Ok, reviewing a book like this is awkward when your friends read your reviews. Just as a disclaimer, I didn't pick this up because we're having marital discord. Things are just fine but I enjoy books that help me see things in a different light and this is a rather important subject to making a marriage work. It was recommended by an LDS blog I follow.
So I didn't really like it. There was some very helpful information (why I gave it an "it's okay" two star rating) but it was pretty long winded. Ok, reviewing a book like this is awkward when your friends read your reviews. Just as a disclaimer, I didn't pick this up because we're having marital discord. Things are just fine but I enjoy books that help me see things in a different light and this is a rather important subject to making a marriage work. It was recommended by an LDS blog I follow.
So I didn't really like it. There was some very helpful information (why I gave it an "it's okay" two star rating) but it was pretty long winded. It also had more description than I needed, and I found some of the language very crude. I didn't finish it, which is rare for me. A better book in my opinion (coming from a Christian perspective) is The Act of Marriage. ...more
2

Jan 18, 2015

Even though at times the book challenged me to reconsider my own behaviour in marriage, mostly it was full of clichés and grand statements. It felt like just another religious tract (indeed, the author seems to be oddly, obscurely ‘spiritual’ in some fashionably eastern hard-to-define way), where one assumption is used to explain everything. If Marx was obsessed with money and Freud with sex, then David Schnarch’s fixation is on what he calls ‘differentiation’. If the relationship is not working Even though at times the book challenged me to reconsider my own behaviour in marriage, mostly it was full of clichés and grand statements. It felt like just another religious tract (indeed, the author seems to be oddly, obscurely ‘spiritual’ in some fashionably eastern hard-to-define way), where one assumption is used to explain everything. If Marx was obsessed with money and Freud with sex, then David Schnarch’s fixation is on what he calls ‘differentiation’. If the relationship is not working it has nothing to do with such trivialities as love, compatibility, needs etc. Rather, it is always about the (lack of) differentiation. I only wish that life, and marriage in particular, was so predictable. ...more
4

Dec 24, 2013

Disregard the title, it's a very good book for anyone in long-term relationship. (It even mentions same-sex couples in the intro, which is pretty good for a book from 1997.)

A very useful book, I learnt a lot from it about differentiation, self-validation and how to grow and mature emotionally in a relationship.

The only off-putting chapter was the one about how to use one's sexual aggression in a constructive way in a relationship. It's just something I - as a sexual abuse survivor - absolutely Disregard the title, it's a very good book for anyone in long-term relationship. (It even mentions same-sex couples in the intro, which is pretty good for a book from 1997.)

A very useful book, I learnt a lot from it about differentiation, self-validation and how to grow and mature emotionally in a relationship.

The only off-putting chapter was the one about how to use one's sexual aggression in a constructive way in a relationship. It's just something I - as a sexual abuse survivor - absolutely can't relate to or agree with. ...more
4

Jun 10, 2007

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.
5

Jul 05, 2010

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.
5

Mar 10, 2014

Definitely a must read for any couple. Shows us how to keep love and intimacy alive. Well worth a read.
4

Feb 19, 2009

it's kind of slow going and good food for thought- a refreshingly different perspective on relationships so far...

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