Reconcilable Differences

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Guilford Press, Oct 6, 1999 - Psychology - 332 pages
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Every couple has arguments, but what happens when recurring battles begin to feel like full-scale war? Do you retreat in hurt and angry silence, hoping that a spouse who "just doesn't get it" will eventually see things your way? Spend the time between skirmishes gathering evidence that you're right? Demand some immediate changes--or else? Whether due to innate personality traits or emotional vulnerabilities, there are some aspects of our behavior that are difficult to alter. But these differences do not have to get in the way of healthy, happy, and long-lasting romance. This practical guide offers new solutions for couples frustrated by continual attempts to make each other change. Aided by thought-provoking exercises and lots of real-life examples, readers will learn why they keep having the same fights again and again; how to keep small incompatibilities from causing big problems; and how true acceptance can restore health to their relationships.
 

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Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
CHAPTER 1Three Sides to Every Story
FRANKS STORY
AN OUTSIDERS STORY
THE PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK
RECAP
PART IThe Anatomy of an Argument
WHAT A PROBLEM STORY SHOULDAND SHOULD NOT INCLUDE
A SAMPLE STORY
RECAP
CHAPTER 10Walking in Your Partners ShoesACCEPTANCE THROUGH COMPASSION
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE UNSAID
RECOVERY FROM CONFLICT
RECAP
CHAPTER 11Getting Some Perspective on the ConflictACCEPTANCE THROUGH TOLERANT DISTANCE

CHAPTER 2Youre WrongRELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS AS FAULTS
THE SEARCH FOR AN EXPLANATION
YOUR PARTNERS ROLE IN CONFLICT
YOUR OWN ROLE IN CONFLICT
THE BATTLE OF ACCUSATIONS
BURYING THE KERNEL OF TRUTH
RECAP
CHAPTER 3How Can You Be That Way?RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS AS INCOMPATIBILITIES
DIFFERENCES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE
HOW OUR DIFFERENCES EVOLVE
THE LIGHT AND DARK SIDES OF SIMILARITIES
WE COME BY IT RIGHTLY
RECAP
CHAPTER 4Can I Give to You Without Losing Me?INCOMPATIBILITIES OVER LOVE AND POWER
I WANT TO BE CLOSE BUT NOT TOO CLOSE
POWER DOMINANCE AND CONTROL
RECAP
CHAPTER 5I Do but I DontCONFUSING INCOMPATIBILITIES
MIXED BLESSINGS
YES AND NO
THE MENTIONABLE AND THE UN
ITS NOT US
ITS NOT THEM
RECAP
CHAPTER 6You Know How to Hurt MeRELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS AS VULNERABILITIES
YOU WERENT THERE WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST
NOT ONE BIG THING BUT A THOUSAND LITTLE THINGS
MY SENSITIVE SPOT
COMMON VULNERABILITIES
VULNERABILITIES AND INCOMPATIBILITIES
HANDLE WITH CARE
WHEN VULNERABILITIES COLLIDE
STRESS AND VULNERABILITIES
PROVOCATION OR VULNERABILITY?
RECAP
CHAPTER 7A Cure Worse Than the DiseaseRELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS AS SOLUTIONS
THE CONTENT OF CONFLICT
THE PROCESS OF CONFLICT
A WORSE PROBLEM AN ADDITIONAL PROBLEM A RELATIONSHIP RIFT
A BROAD LOOK AT THE ANATOMY OF AN ARGUMENT
ANATOMY OF AN ARGUMENTI
A MORE DETAILED PICTURE OF THE ANATOMY OF AN ARGUMENT
ANATOMY OF AN ARGUMENTII
VICIOUS CYCLES OF INTERACTION REPEATED APPLICATIONS OF A TOXIC CURE
RECAP
PART IIFrom Argument to Acceptance
CHAPTER 8The Delicate BalanceACCEPTANCE AND CHANGE
ACCEPTANCE VERSUS CHANGE
THE THIRD SOLUTION
WHAT SHOULD BE CHANGED BECAUSE IT SHOULDNT BE ACCEPTED?
WHAT SHOULD BE ACCEPTED BECAUSE IT CANT OR SHOULDNT BE CHANGED?
HOW CAN WE CREATE ACCEPTANCE?
WHAT ABOUT CHANGE?
RECAP
CHAPTER 9A Story of Our OwnACCEPTANCE THROUGH UNDERSTANDING
TREATING THE PROBLEM AS AN IT RATHER THAN A YOU
WHEN IS DISTANCE ACHIEVABLE?
IS DISTANCE ALWAYS DESIRABLE?
FINDING THE BLESSING IN THE CURSE
ITS NOT AS BAD AS IT SEEMS
ON YOUR OWN BUT WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS
RECAP
PART IIIDeliberate Change through Acceptance
CHAPTER 12The Dilemmas of Deliberate Change
FROM ACCEPTANCE TO CHANGE
IMMEDIATE AND DRAMATIC CHANGE
EVERYDAY CHANGE
COMMUNICATION
RECAP
CHAPTER 13How Good Advice Can Be Bad for Your RelationshipACCEPTING THE FOIBLES OF RULES
APPLE PIE ADVICE
WHEN GOOD ADVICE IS BAD FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP
WHEN BAD ADVICE IS GOOD FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP
EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS
LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR PARTNER IS SAYING
NEGOTIATE REASONABLE COMPROMISES TO YOUR PROBLEMS
RECAP
CHAPTER 14Why a New Approach Can Lead to the Same Old ThingUSING YOUR OWN STORY TO MAKE GENUINE CHANGE
WHEN OLD PATTERNS COME DRESSED IN NEW CLOTHING
WHEN MORE OF THE SAME BECOMES WORSE OF THE SAME
DELIBERATE CHANGE STARTS WITH AWARENESS
RECAP
CHAPTER 15Lost Battles Can Win the WarHOW CHANGE AND INTIMACY CAN EMERGE FROM DEFEAT
TO CHANGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP FIRST CHANGE YOURSELF
DO LESS OF THE SAME AND MORE OF THE DIFFERENT
TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOURSELF
MINIMIZE DAMAGE
RECAP
WHERE ARE WE NOW AND WHERE ARE WE GOING?
PART IVWhen Acceptance Is Not Enough
CHAPTER 16Dont Do That to MeVIOLENCE VERBAL ABUSE AND INFIDELITY
VIOLENCE DESTRUCTION AND PHYSICAL COERCION
VERBAL PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE
INFIDELITY
RECAP
CHAPTER 17Call in the ProfessionalsCOUPLE AND INDIVIDUAL THEAPY
WE NEED HELP
YOU NEED HELP
RECAP
APPENDIXInternet Resources
RESOURCES FOR MENTAL DISORDERS
Bibliography
CHAPTER 4
CHAPTER 12
CHAPTER 17
Index
About the Authors
About Guilford Publications
Discover More Guilford Titles
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Andrew Christensen, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, examines the effects of couple therapy. He has published widely on couple conflict and therapy.

Neil S. Jacobson, PhD, was Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington until his death in 1999. The author or editor of numerous publications, Dr. Jacobson was one of the world's most widely cited family therapists.

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