Review: ‘Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples’


Review at a glance: “Getting the Love You Want” is an eye-opening read, providing insights into why relationships sour and how we can work on them, starting with ourselves.

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I’ve been in a few relationships in my life, and just about all of them have one thing in common: They ended.

Getting the Love You Want by Harville HendrixMaybe it was incompatibility, maybe it was fate. Either way, I know now I could’ve handled my part of the bargain better.

Having read “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples” (affiliate link), I realize this and many other facets of relationships I wish I had recognized sooner.

Although my reading habits of late have tended toward self-improvement, almost none of the books I’ve read are of the touchy-feely variety. But this book by Harville Hendrix made me realize so much about myself, and most of it not pretty.

Hendrix talks about his own failure as a couples therapist, including the ultimate failure, divorce from his first wife. Along the way, he develops a theory and a technique for couples to communicate better and to recognize unrealized needs from childhood.

I’m not 100 percent sold on the childhood damage angle, but I understand where he’s coming from. In relationships, those just starting out and those going for 20 years, we fall into traps. We argue over the same things repeatedly. We shut each other out. We tally up the hurts and the slights and even the “favors” we do for our partners.

Hendrix asserts that part of it is poor communication. We fail at trying to communicate our needs — or even recognizing what they are — to each other. Beyond that, he says that starting from birth, we find ourselves needing love and attention from our parents. Since they are imperfect, we cope in ways we don’t always realize, always looking for that lost parent in our imperfect partner.

Unchecked Oedipal desires? Not quite.

Through explanations and exercises, the author shows how couples can reconnect and discover not only their personal needs and shortcomings, but how to fulfill those of their partners, too. It’s an eye-opening read, and one I highly recommend to couples (and singles).

It may not be easy, but I’ve committed to working through the book and ending the vicious cycle of destroying relationships from within.


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