In the 1960’s, psychologists often preached that marriage repressed personal freedom and growth. Now, in the 1990’s, many therapists are asking troubled couples to reduce, reuse, and recycle, that is, to solve their problems within their marriage rather than look for solutions outside it. They believe that the difficulties that lead to divorce do not lie within the union itself, but in the individual partners—who then carry their problems with them to subsequent relationships.
Weiner-Davis says that partners are usually unaware of their contributions to the unhappy dynamic between them and their spouse. She offers exercises to break a couple’s habitual destructive behavior patterns. She emphasizes that if even one partner alters his or her input, the dynamic between them changes, and their marriage improves.
Weiner-Davis points out that small changes for the better can quickly lead to big ones. She describes how to set goals for new behavior, how to analyze which new behavior patterns work, and how to make these positive changes habitual.
These techniques work quickly and can be used without seeing a therapist. They seem to be built on common sense and practicality. Weiner-Davis describes them in a lucid and entertaining way. This book should be a boon to unhappy couples, and also to those who merely want to improve communication and intimacy within their marriage.