4 out of 4 stars
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Although there is no universally accepted instruction manual on love, many written works are produced on the topic, from a wide range of authors and experts each seeking to provide guidance and wisdom to the reader. Jan Resnick, in his book How Two Love, tackles the age-old concept of love from the perspective of long-term committed relationships. As a psychotherapist with many years of experience counseling couples through relationship problems, he presents his experiences and lessons-learned in an accessible format, and with an encouraging voice.
The book covers a wide range of discussion points relating to the long-term monogamous relationship, starting with the establishing of mutual goals and communication styles, and through the various stages of life and love. The author aims to assist the reader with preempting relationship problems before they occur, and rectifying those that have already taken root. General concepts explored by the author include the dangers of competition and power plays in relationships, the importance of vulnerability and acceptance, the role of romance, the deceptive nature of feelings, and the true definition of compromise. The author also engages in a thorough and shame-free discussion of sexuality within relationships, touching on a variety of different styles of sexual expression.
One of the most successful aspects of the book is the author’s introduction of a small handful of concepts, such as “attunement” and “emphatic negotiation.” The author explains these terms and provides concrete examples (through the use of actual case studies from his practice) that bring the concepts to life, allowing the reader to internalize the message in a way that feels personal, rather than abstract and dry. The case studies also break up the sections of theory to make it easier to process, allowing one to breeze through the book without feeling weighed down by information.
Most importantly, and the primary reason for my high rating, was how relevant the concepts were that were covered in the pages. It seemed as if, at times, the author had actually met with me personally and discussed the exact situations I had dealt with in my relationship. The advice was so relevant, and so spot-on, that I found myself quoting passages of it to my significant other. Because of the wide range of topics covered, and the approachable way with which the concepts are presented, the advice contained in the book is nearly universally relevant. I would recommend this book to anyone who has been in a long-term relationship, or is looking at entering into one, as the suggestions within the pages can benefit any couple.
One small caution I would add is that this is very much a book focused on adult relationships, in every sense of the word. Not only are some of the sections on sexuality rather open in their discussion of “adult” topics, down to specific details at times, but also the entire aim of the book is to have a mature discussion on the topic of commitment in love. This means that those who are not yet at that point in their lives may not find much to relate to in these pages, though it may be a good guide for the future anyway. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars for the reasons mentioned above, and also because it was so impeccably edited and well-paced, that it was simply a pleasure to read.
How Two Love
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