Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: Partnering

You can go to any bookstore and find a set of shelves full of books on relationships. If the divorce rate is any indication, the vast majority of these books just don't work. I found one in the "New Age" section that has a different approach. Partnering: A New Kind of Relationship by Hal and Sidra Stone, has a couple of concepts that I haven't seen in any other relationship book (and I've read a few).

The first key concept is that what is said doesn't matter as much as who says it. The authors mean that we tend to fall into parent/child type roles in the course of the relationship, which is fine if you're raising children, but not so much for romantic partnerships. They're not necessarily bad in themselves, but we get into the scolding parent or approval-seeking child role without realizing it. What the book recommends instead is consciously choosing which role is best to play at the time.

The other key concept is energy exchange, and there's a related concept of the relationship as an independent entity (O.K., that one's not so new). The relationship has its own energy needs, and keeping the exchange going keeps the relationship healthy.

This has been a brief review, but the authors tell the story much better than I can. The book has certainly explained why things have gone wrong for me in the past, and it should prove very helpful in making things go right in the future.

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