The subtitle for this book is “How Conflict Can Bring You Closer.” The authors are Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott founders of the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University. Every married couple should read this book! I can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve been married for 53 years, and I still learned some things about me and my husband.
It is straightforward, clear, and very easy to understand. The reader will not consider that he or she is being lectured, rather take the authors have taken great pains to make the writing very conversational. For instance, they say, “Marriage, over time, is made up of more hard days than most of us can count. After all, we fall in love with a dream and marry a fantasy. We can’t help it…But eventually… the illusion begins to fade, and we start seeing less-than-appealing qualities in our mate we hadn’t seen before… Of course, our partner is doing the same with us. The power struggle starts, and the bickering begins.”
They have filled the text with anecdotes which clarify the topics being discussed. Once, Leslie had dressed to go out with some friends for a bite to eat. She came down the stairs and asked Les, “How do I look?” To which he responded, “Fine with me.” She took what he said as a comment that he didn’t really like what she was wearing, so she went upstairs and changed clothes. In reality, he was distracted by an email and had really not paid good attention to what she asked. They did manage not to have a fight about it, but it might have escalated into one had they not discussed the issue calmly.
Quotes from famous authors and other personages round out the content. I especially liked the one from Daniel Webster: “Keep cool; anger is not an argument.” And, “The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.” Robert C. Dodds.
The reader will discover the type of fighter that they are: Competitive, Collaborative, Cautious, and Conciliatory. Make no mistake about it, we are all fighters of one type or another (sometimes with bits of one overlapping another).
Included with the purchase of the book is a free app that will help the reader understand his/herself.
There is an appendix at the end, entitled, “Controlling Anger Before it Controls You” that is worth the purchase price alone. Each chapter is also well documented, and the reader will be able to see the sources they used in writing the book.
The authors have also produced materials for marriage enrichment classes that can be purchased.
A great anniversary gift!!! It may well save a marriage.