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, you will learn why you keep having the same fights again and again; how to keep small incompatibilities from causing big problems; and how true acceptance can restore the health of your relationship.
Years of working with couples in crisis have given Drs. Christensen and Jacobson crucial insights into what makes relationships work. Reconcilable Differences translates that knowledge into action. Discover why it's often true that opposites attract--and how you can stay together for life.
1. Three Sides to Every Story
I. The Anatomy of an Argument
2. "You're Wrong!": Relationship Problems as Faults
3. "How Can You Be That Way?": Relationship Problems as Incompatibilities
4. "Can I Give to You without Losing Me?": Incompatibilities over Love and Power
5. "I Do but I Don't": Confusing Incompatibilities
6. "You Know How to Hurt Me": Relationship Problems as Vulnerabilities
7. A Cure Worse Than the Disease: Relationship Problems as Solutions
II. From Argument to Acceptance
8. The Delicate Balance: Acceptance and Change
9. A Story of Our Own: Acceptance through Understanding
10. Walking in Your Partner's Shoes: Acceptance through Compassion
11. Getting Some Perspective on the Conflict: Acceptance through Tolerant Distance
III. Deliberate Change through Acceptance
12. The Dilemmas of Deliberate Change
13. How Good Advice Can Be Bad for Your Relationship: Accepting the Foibles of Rules
14. Why a New Approach Can Lead to the Same Old Thing: Using Your Own Story to Make Genuine
15. Lost Battles Can Win the War: How Change and Intimacy Can Emerge from Defeat
IV. When Acceptance Is Not Enough
16. "Don't Do That to Me!"
17. Call in the Professionals
Appendix: Internet Resources