am 6. Mai 2000
In the work I've done helping others with their relationships, I've had the opportunity to read plenty of self-help books on relationships. Most of the time I find the books useless, if not harmful. On the recommendation of a friend I checked this book out from the library. Now I'm buying it. I'm also recommending it to every person I know who is ready to make improvements in ALL of their relationships--including their relationships with their self.
While other books focus on trying to communicate and on trying to nail down a specific pattern or behavior, this book recommends learning more about yourself and learning how to be true to yourself in order to act from that position in any relationship. Only by knowing what we want as individuals can we be true to others. Read this book, even if you think your relationships are great. You'll learn something about yourself and how you walk in the world.
am 24. Juli 2000
Ok, to be truthful, I don't particularly like the author (found him to be egotistical) and I didn't like his writing style (found it to be wordy and sometimes hard to find his point)--However! There is an amazing amount of helpful information in this book. It was reccommeded to us by our marriage counselor and we found it is much more about intimacy within marriage than about sex, though there are one or two explicit passages. My husband is really bored by "self-help" books and he thought this was the most helpful of the three that were recommeded to us. He said that he went into it expecting the book to talk about my shortcomings and instead found it discribed him just as much. And in a manner that doesn't make you feel bad about yourself--a big plus. Inspires you to grow and change to heal your relationship, holds your hand when you're resistant to changing, helps you decide to change anyway.
am 16. Juli 2006
My wife and I have been married for 7 years. We have had a great time together but gradually we started being colder and less anticipating. It was obvious that the things were going in a bad direction. I was reluctant to rely on a book but a friend of mine recommended me this one so I bought it. I completely agree that this is an excellent book!
It provides a lot of information in a pleasant and easy to understand and apply way. My wife was also fascinated and eagerly read it. It helped us to turn our conflicts into a positive and constructive tool, which we use to improve several aspects of our marriage now. It is especially helpful for couples who have lost more or less their intimacy and are willing to put some efforts to get it back. Trust me it is well-worth the time, conversations and the satisfaction of knowing that tomorrow will be better than today.
Dr. Schnarch's book also contains a chapter about better sex. It is quite explicit. I know from personal experience that mature men tend to develop serious problems such as premature ejac., (semi) impotence, etc which have very negative effect on a marriage. That's why in addition I highly recommend "Scientifically guaranteed multi-orgasms and ultimate sex" by scientist Ritz, which helped me to overcome quickly my problems and started enjoying great pleasure in bed.
am 23. März 2000
Passionate Marriage is the best book i've come across on intimate relationships. Schnarch's focus on the need to differentiate is crucial to the idea of being able to relate as whole, sane adults without losing ourselves to the 'other' in relationships. This is such a difficult concept for so many people who have been brought up on the idea that love and/or marriage are about 'becoming one' with each other, and who have become merged or fused, to use Schnarch's terms.
This exploration of selfhood, how to hold on to oneself in the presence of not only our intimate partner but in the face of our own feelings - of abandonment, rejection, loss, fear, anger, groundlessness, to mention a few - holding onto who we are without being washed away in a flood of emotional fusion, this is quite a trick to be able to learn and practice.
The thread of this concept is woven right thru the book, into chapters on increasing sexual and non-sexual intimacy, chapters on how intimate connections are established, maintained and lost, and an excellent chapter dedicated to learning how to achieve intimate connection thru hugging. The invitation to eyes open intimacy during sexual contact - or even kissing!- is an excellent experiment.
I recommend this book to anyone, friends, clients, colleagues, whether they are in a relationship or not. I figure that if you are ever intending to get into a relationship again, it will help. I guess you could say i think its a fantastic book, for therapists and laypeople alike.
One last thing - there is a lot of explicit sexual descriptions. If you are hyper-sensitive to that, I believe the key concepts are worth being shocked for... what the heck, you can always close your eyes for those bits if you need to!
am 10. August 1998
Schnarch, David, Ph.D., Passionate Marriage: Sex,Love and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1997.
The great comic and tongue-and-cheek philosopher, Groucho Marx once said, ""Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy." After reading David Schnarch's new Book, "Passionate Marriage," it is clear to see that Schnarch would agree with Groucho. According to Schnarch, the route to mature sexual fulfillment, has little to do with specific body parts or the condition of those parts, but has everything to do with the minds of and the level of differentiation (emotional maturity) of the participants.
Utilizing Bowenian theory as its undergirding, David Schnarch has graced us with his second book on integrating sexual and marital therapy. His first book, "Constructing The Sexual Crucible" (1991 Norton Press), is a comprehensive, albeit challenging treatise that traces our ! history of conceptionalizing and treating sexual dysfunction and explicates his new paradigm of sexual and emotional intimacy.
"Passionate Marriage" is written in a style that is geared toward the highest common denominator. Schnarch offers us a window into real change that is not promised easily. This is not an approach that guarantees the reader a key to quick and simple intimacy. There are no clear "how tos" that will fix the dashed hopes of frustrated lovers and marital partners, or their therapists. Instead, Schnarch's second offering of his sexual crucible paradigm is a substantially more digestible approach to helping couples raise their level of differentiation so that they can face themselves and their partner while simultaneously lowering their own anxiety. It is a book that requires serious contemplation and considerable risk in order to reap its potential rewards -- a lot like marriage itself. Colorful case examples and vignettes illus! trate the application of his ideas.
The book is divided i! nto three sections. The first, "The Basics", lays the groundwork for the sexual crucible model and brings the reader up to speed on Schnarch's non-pathologizing view of sexual and emotional development. Part two, "Tools for Connection," provides the reader with ways to implement his new paradigm and makes for the most exciting reading in the book. This is the section of the book that most readers will be drawn back to because in Schnarch's examples they will invariably find themselves and their marriage. It is also the section which offers the most in terms of challenges, ideas and change opportunities.
The final section, "Observations on the Process", makes the greatest sense after the reader has not only read section two, but has made earnest attempts at exploring and internalizing its many suggestions. Here again, Schnarch proves himself to be a very different contributor to the field of marital and sexual therapy. His chapter on &quo! t;Two-Choice Dilemmas and Normal Marital Sadism," is a therapist's delight. It gives one that "Ah-hah!" sense of knowing exactly what he means, both by our experience in our offices, and in our own marriages. His final chapter, "Sex, Love, and Death," may be his most courageous. Here Schnarch brings us to painful yet freeing costs of loving deeply. The links between sex, intimacy, spirituality and death are so powerful (and inherently frightening) that we most often avoid their connections. The deal we make in life to have fulfilling intimacy includes all the pain of life. It's inescapable.
Carl Whitaker has told us that therapy is in the person of the therapist -- that canned models, theories and techniques are useless to the therapist who is at a poor level of emotional development. Likewise, Murray Bowen and Ed Friedman have told us that as therapists, we cannot take someone beyond where we are ourselves. David Schnarch has given us a book! that is a considerable risk for our field and indeed our c! ulture. He presents us with unique ideas which open him to considerable challenge. In taking this risk, he practices what he preaches and demonstrates his own ability to hold on to and validate himself.
My usual shtick about popular self-help/personal growth books is, "if they actually worked there would only be a few of them." With that said, I think "Passionate Marriage" is a book that every marriage and family therapist should read..., that is, if they are brave enough and willing to change their therapy and most of all, their own marriage.
Anthony G. Butto, DSW Bucknell University Lewisburg, Pa. 17837 and The Courtyard Counseling Center Selinsgrove, Pa. 17870
am 11. Mai 2000
Very briefly --
Though my girlfriend and I are a bit younger (and less married!) than most of the couples described in Schnarch's marvelous book, we have benefitted enormously from reading it together. Recently, we each read a chapter a week separately (we each have our own copy) and then met to discuss what we had read and how to apply it in our relationship. The basic Schnarchian notion that NO ONE is ready for marriage, that marriage MAKES you ready for marriage -- learning that was worth the purchase price alone. For those who are worn out by the tiresome platitudes of the Mars and Venus crowd, this is the ticket. Marvelous.
am 9. Februar 2010
As a young single man,
I was surprised to find the answers to my question about personal growth a book about marriage.
But to be clear, this book is not (only) about marriage, it is about how relationship works,
what`s important and about the reasons for certain difficulties in relationship.
This is no "How to be lucky" writing, as other books promise,
but instead it is something far more valuable.
Passionate Marriage is about the understanding of interaction,
trust, intimacy and about the down and up in relationship.
I have never read a better and more understandable explanation
of relationship which is so close to reality as the one written by David Schnarch.
And Passionate Marriage is even more than just an explanation.
It also give you a very useful tool to go through crisis and finally to grow afterwards.
Personal growth in relationship is the main topic of this book and the true reason,
why this book is so invaluable for the reader. It can help you in so many aspects to improve
your life and relationship, that it's impossible to count them all.
It can - as long as you are willing to work on you own stuff. For me,
the first benefit was to get an understanding of my own faults and
failures during my past relationships. The next benefit was to get knowledge
about how to deal with that and even more, how to do it right during relationship crisis.
Think for yourself, if this is something for you which is worth the few bucks for the book...
I've bough recently a second one for a friend of mine who is going to marry his girlfriend
just to give them both the opportunity of personal growth during their marriage.
Finally, I have to say, that for every stage of my life I find something useful in this book.
am 17. April 1999
If you know that you and your relationship ought to be better than they are but just feel stuck - read this book. As a couple therapist and partner in a 20 year relationship I have had a growing sense that something is missing from how we normally view conflict and crisis in relationships. This book fills the gap. David Schnarch sees our intimate relationships as a "crucible" for personal growth. And, wonder of wonders, he actually explains what growth looks like. Using the concept of "differentiation" he explains how you can have your cake and eat it too - being your own person whilst maintaining close intimacy. Many of the examples and exercises are focused on sexual issues which is great because that is so often a cause of tension in our relationships. However the message he has to offer applies whatever the issues are you face. The path he maps out is at the same time wonderfully hopeful and immensely challenging. He offers no easy answers but provides solid guidance for making a difficult but endlessly rewarding journey. The book has given me food for thought for months already, and probably for years to come. Highly recommended.
am 12. Mai 2000
Most evangelical Christians (of which I am one) would not read David's book, but they should! His language is pretty "worldly" and can be offensive, but the concepts that he discusses are actually Scriptural. His basic concepts are actually more scriptural than most of the so-called "Christian" books that we find in Christian book stores. His basic concept of "Differentiation" really is nothing more than being mature enough to live out "Covenant-style" relationships. In a Covenant relationship, the person offers to love and give in relationship not based on what they get back, but solely on the basis of their own integrity (wholeness). I give to you, not in order to get back, but simply because I CHOOSE to give to you, without regard to how you give back. God himself demonstrated covenant-style relationship first with Israel and now offers it to all through His Son.
David Schnarch's language is hard to get around, but the concepts, as applied to relationships are really worth the effort. We Christians say that God created sex to be great and marriage to be great, but most of us have real difficulty in living that out because we are stuck in "contract-style" relationships (I give so that you can give back to me and I can then feel good about myself) [borrowed functioning and reflected sense of self]. David's book can help transition us out of contract style relationships to "Covenant-style" relationships.
am 2. Dezember 1999
Simply an excellent book to help you discover YOU. If people are put off by the title because they are not married, it will be their loss, for this book is written for the individual and shows how the individual relates to others, both in a relationship and in general. Certainly, enough other reviews here make it clear that this book has helped their marriage; I personally have found it invaluable in making me clarify my desires for my next relationship. Now I know I will settle for nothing less than this type of passionate marriage and I know that I have the ability - with the right person - to create and sustain it. Thank you, Dr. Schnarch.