The premise of “Change Your Life, Not Your Wife: Marriage-Saving Advice for Success-Driven People” is that high-achievers have qualities that make them successful by society’s standards (power, prestige, wealth), but often unsuccessful in maintaining healthy intimate relationships. Although authors Tony Ferretti, PH.D. and Peter J. Weiss, M.D. do address this idea (particularly in Chapter 7), most of the book is applicable to anyone in a relationship, not just the “success-driven.” The writing style is simple and straightforward and many relationship issues are illustrated through the use of fictional couples. One such couple, Steve and Mary, is woven throughout the book. Their story, while a bit stereotypical, provides insights into how marital problems can be rooted in childhood experiences as well as the pressure to make money and acquire material possessions.
The authors describe five key characteristics essential to a successful marriage:
- Partnership of Equals
- Marriage Is a Priority
- Effective Communication and Conflict Resolution
Later in the book these marriage essentials are contrasted with what the authors call “relationship killers.” These are personality issues (e.g. perfectionism and criticizing) that slowly but powerfully undermine the spirit of partnership and intimacy in marriage. Many of the book’s lessons culminate in Chapter 8, “Creating Your Ideal Marriage.” In this chapter Ferretti and Weiss give a detailed description of how couple’s therapy works. This information could be valuable for couples considering counseling who are hesitant because they are unfamiliar or intimidated by the process.
Overall, I found “Change Your Life, Not Your Wife: Marriage-Saving Advice for Success-Driven People” very effective in reinforcing important aspects of marriage. I think the title does the book a disservice by creating the impression that the book was written specifically for hard-driving successful husbands when the principles discussed apply to a broad spectrum of married men and women.
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