Conflict, Dr. Smalley teaches, is not really driven by the issues we argue about (money, sex, in-laws, work, kids); but is frequently driven by fear. The fear of being disrespected or taken for granted, the fear of powerlessness, of not being listened to or valued, and the fear of rejection or being inadequate. What assuages these fears, he says, are things like intimacy, respect, validation, love, and connection. He even helps readers identify the physical reactions that occur when their personal buttons are pushed--reactions like shaking, trembling, or sweating.
As Dr. Smalley leads readers through the many faces of conflict, he is open and candid about his own marriage and the unproductive fights he and his wife have had. He uses their fears and emotional triggers as examples to help readers discover their own. Poorly managed conflict, he states, is always “buried alive” and festers until it becomes a much bigger problem. In the end, buried issues end up exploding like a massive volcano, leaving spouses and family members in its wake of destruction.
Married couples will learn how to fight their way to a better marriage, using the skills, concepts, and exercises shared in this remarkable book.
Cafe Lily's Review:
With multiple marriage books in the marketplace, I was hoping this one would be different and share a nugget or two of something I have not read before. Unfortunately, this is not the best book on marriage I have encountered and I wasn’t that impressed.
Not that the book doesn’t offer some good information, because it does. I just didn’t connect with the style in which it was presented. There are quite a few stories and analogies, but overall, the main theme of the book is that the manner in which a couple handles conflict determines their success in marriage.
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