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Book Reviews
Book Reviews

Relationships

Three awesome books on relationships! Incorporating ideas in these books will go a long way in improving relationships with loved ones.

The 5 Love Languages

The Secret to Love That Lasts

by Gary Chapman, 208 pages, 2010 (Amazon link).

A gem of a book with a very simple idea: how I feel loved and cared for may differ from how my partner feels loved and cared for. Gary Chapman identified five different ways people express and receive love. He calls them 'love languages'.

1) Words of Affirmation: If this is your love language, then you feel loved when your partner tells you how wonderful you are, how much you are appreciated, and the great value you bring into their lives.

2) Acts of Service: If this is your love language, you feel loved if your partner does things for you. For example, doing the dishes, taking kids to school, cooking, and so on.

3) Affection: If this is your love language, you feel loved with hugs, kisses, touches and sexual intimacy.

4) Quality Time Together: If this is your love language, you feel loved when you and your partner spend quality time together, fully engaged and present.

5) Gifts: If this is your love language, then you feel loved when your partner brings you gifts.

Most people have two or three predominant love languages. They give and expect to receive in the love languages that they are most familiar with. Problems arise when partners speak different love languages. The solution presented in the book is for partners to realize these differences, and to make adjustments so that the feel mutually loved.

An easy-to-read book with a simple message!

Nonviolent Communication

A Language of Life

by Marshall B Rosenberg, 222 pages, 2003 (Amazon link).

A famous book that explains how we should communicate with others. The basic idea is to avoid blame. Instead, we should identify the emotion we are experiencing and share it honestly with the other person. We should also identify our need at that moment and share that honestly with the other person as well. The book provides many examples where this approach avoids deadlocks and conflicts, and facilitates meaningful dialogue.

Successful NVC (Non Violent Communication) requires some training: (a) we must acquire the vocabulary for characterizing emotions and needs, (b) we must be able to use the right words (labels) for emotions and needs when we experience them, (c) we must be able to step back during a stressful conversation, become aware of our emotions and needs (by seeing both in third person), and (d) communicate these emotions and needs to the other person clearly. Most of us struggle with one or more of these steps. Several support groups have sprung up to practice NVC. See list of support groups all over the world — maybe there is one near your home.

Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert

by Jon Gottman, 288 pages, 2000 (Amazon link).

John Gottman is Professor Emeritus from University of Washington. For several decades, he studies couples in his 'love lab'. He was curious — "what makes couples stick to each other, resulting in a successful relationship"? Unlike other authors of self help books and pop psychology books, Jon Gottman's work stands out — his research findings were published in peer reviewed journals.

Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is Jon Gottman's most popular book. The book is fairly dense, with lots of ideas. It's difficult to summarize. However, these are principles backed by decades of good quality research.

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