The New Rules of Marriage by Terrence Real - DISCLAIMER: The summary of this book on Amazon is enough to turn you off from ever reading this book (If you are a man). Don’t be fooled, read on.
My wife and I have been going through a rough spot. After 10+ years of marriage I started to feel more and more controlled and unloved. Our fights had become more frequent and instead of resolution it seemed like we just talked the issue to death. We had always been of a single mind that we were fully committed to one another and nothing could change that. Then it began to feel helpless and eventually started looking like divorce. I began to rationalize that I would just be happier that way and so would she. Another contributor to this is that my teenage son become estranged deciding that he doesn’t need to listen to anyone anymore; we had become more of a nuisance than anything else. While he was struggling for freedom to live his own life, my wife and I were figuring out how to let go in healthy productive ways. He had developed substance abuse issues and we were trying to get him back on his feet. I developed a lot of resentment. Here we are trying to figure out how to give him more independence while I was feeling like I couldn’t have any of my own! My family was in turmoil and I was losing my best friend. The worst part was I couldn’t even see it, and denied that I couldn’t see it.
During a therapy session our therapist recommended The New Rules of Marriage. Thankfully I didn’t read the Amazon description. I think if I had I NEVER would have even cracked the cover. This book spoke to me in a way that nothing else had. I could finally see the real problems in our relationship. It wasn’t her at all, but the way I had come to perceive her (Core negative image). The most important thing of all though was this book spells out a set of rules for our relationship that I can actually live by! Being able to ask for what you want and get it in a healthy way. How to listen AND respond, setting limits, and oddly enough how to accept what you ask for. It works for me because, for example, getting what you want is the responsibility of both people (not just one).
For an example my wife wanted me to take her on dates. She had asked for this many times and I never seemed to deliver, certainly never with any consistency (if at all). When she asked again, this time, I knew the steps. As we walked through the process, it became clear that my idea of a date and hers were different! After clarifying that it could be as simple as a dinner out, it all seemed so easy. I was overthinking everything and was paralyzed with indecision. Now that I knew what she wanted I told her that finding and securing a babysitter was something I hated doing. She was all too willing to help with that if I would just plan the date. WIN
I wish I could convey all the wonderful things that have begun happening with us now. We can communicate effectively and stop assuming the worst of each other. Whether you are in a relationship or not, I feel like this book can give you the rules for creating a healthy relationship; a set of rules you can actually live by.