As experienced marriage therapists, Judith Wright and Bob Wright know a thing or fifteen about fights married couples have. In The Heart of the Fight: A Couple's Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer, the Wrights write about fifteen common fights and help couples identify the yearnings that lead to fighting. The hope, of course, as the title says, is that the fight can bring couples closer.
They write, "Couples don't get divorced because they fight; they split up because they don't know how to use conflict to create a new depth of intimacy." Their goal is to help couples to see that "their fights aren't about the fight and dig deeper to see what it is that they truly yearn for, [so that] they are able to go into the metaphorical woods and use their bliss skills." The jargon about yearnings and bliss makes much more sense in the context of the whole book.
For me, the book didn't feel like something I could relate to. I couldn't relate to the couples the Wrights introduced, and the scenarios they described just didn't click with me. My marriage isn't perfect, but my wife and I don't really fight. The Wrights would probably say that's a big problem! I have no doubt at all that were we to sit under their care for several sessions, they would help us uncover issues in our marriage and help us strengthen our bonds. But the book didn't do it for me.
Not to say there's not useful information and techniques here. I especially liked the advice on touching: "Never underestimate the power of the human touch to help get you through the fights in ways that are productive and growth oriented. By touching, you trigger the feel-good hormone of oxytocin. It increases the sense of well-being, trust, and being calm and connected." My wife doesn't often read my book reviews. But just in case she's reading this one, honey, I need some oxytocin! Bring it on! Let's cultivate some well-being, trust, calmness, and connection! How about it?
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
2016 Reading Challenge: A book about marriage