A US marriage in the 21st century has about a 50% chance of failing. The Americans for Divorce Reform predicts that, "Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue.”
The divorce rate is Switzerland is about half that number at 25%. What is the Swiss secret? A group of Swiss researchers claim to have the formula to increase a couple’s chances of acquiring a happy marriage. The wife should be five years younger, come from the same cultural background and be 27 percent smarter than her husband.
While here in the US the ages and cultural backgrounds of couples do vary, ladies, it is not your fault that every last one of you is more than 27 percent smarter than your husbands!
So if our marriages are on shaky ground what do we do? One thing that is sure to help is reuniting with our partners back on the more stable, middle ground.
About the Book: The Power of the Middle Ground: A Couple’s Guide to Renewing Your Relationship by Marty Babits, LCSW, BCD. Prometheus Books. ISBN- 978-1591026624. December 2008.
The Power of the Middle Ground teaches couples how to achieve a much greater impact in solving difficult interpersonal problems. Couples envision a place that brings their potential for love and compassion alive - the Middle Ground. Each partner learns to approach problems productively and neither can dominate.
The Power of the Middle Ground details a series of exercises that equips couples to appreciate and actualize what is positive and possible in their relationship. The Power of the Middle Ground empowers partners to negotiate differences, emphasize the positive, see the issues from the other’s point of view, defuse anger, and rekindle warmth and love.
About the Author: Marty Babits, LCSW, BCD (New York, NY) is a psychotherapist in private practice and a member of the Executive Supervisory Committee of FACTS (the Family and Couples Treatment Service) of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.
The Review: Babits admits to having had his own difficulties communicating with his partner, and had come to see that they were fighting with themselves in each other’s presence. I connected with what he states (in the introduction): “I realize now that the problem was that neither of us had evolved to the point where we felt secure enough within ourselves to risk giving up even one iota of personal prerogative, for fear that not only would that iota never be recovered, but that it would precipitate an avalanche of chaos within each of our fragile self-systems.” When I read that, I knew he was speaking about us and probably so many other couples.
Conversation can become an extension of a power struggle and as a result can frustrate, and distance partners. Babit’s three-step communication formula provides a solution that is meant to bring both partners together. Here is his simple formula:
1. You state what you feel.
2. You state when you feel it (the circumstances under which it usually occurs).
3. You invite your partner to respond and join you in talking about what is bothering you.
According to Babit, you-statements are perceived as an attack, with the basic three-step communication formula, you are not using “you” statements but “I” statements.
Babit reveals that some of his patients protested to trying to talk this way, as it required too much thinking. He also says that improving a relationship is hard work and learning new ways to talk to each other is a big part of it. I couldn’t agree more.
The chapter on parenthood is divided into two sections, the first half focuses on problems that may arise when parenting a child with “special needs”. The second half focuses on the relationships of those parents who focus all of their attention on nurturing their children at the expense of neglecting their partner.
The book includes case examples of different types of couples, heterosexual, homosexual and senior couples. In each case, the couples work through the three basic communication exercises. The couples experience a conversation in which they take turns and express themselves fully without making accusations or implying blame. The listener explicitly acknowledges the speaker’s feelings.
Chapter seven is a review of the seven guidelines for middle ground communication. This chapter gives a condensed overview of the seven guidelines and is convenient for quick reference.
An entire chapter is devoted to letting go of anger. The chapter includes exercises to help determine your anger profile as well as an exercise to develop an anger genogram (family tree) to explore (anger) traits that may have been inherited.
I enjoyed reading this comprehensive couple’s guide and look forward to applying some of the principles regarding communication that I’ve learned. If couples take the time to read this book and honestly work on the exercises together, rekindling warmth and love within their marriage is very possible.
Buy It: The Power of the Middle Ground is available on Amazon.com for $14.02.
This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for stopping by!
Win It: Julie from FSB Associates is generously offering two copies of The Power of the Middle Ground to my readers.
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1. How is the communication between you and your partner? Comment on whether it is perfect or needs improvement. (We could personally use some improvement!)
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Giveaway ends Thursday, on April 22st at 11:59 PM EST. Open to US addresses only. Winners will be chosen by random.org and contacted by email. Please respond in 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. To be fair to everyone, comments not meeting requirements will be deleted.
Many thanks to Julie for the review and giveaway copies of The Power of the Middle Ground!
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the author, the manufacturer, or representing PR agency. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.