Madeira Publ. Co., Mesa AZ 2009
Reviewed by Marty N.
This book came to my attention because the author, Michael Rice, was a speaker at the Choice Theory conference held in Sacramento May 30, which I attended.
As the catchy title suggests, the book is an analysis of why marriages fail and what can be done about it. The answer, in brief, has to do with control.
Our culture teaches us to try to control other people to make them do what we want them to do. Dr. William Glasser, the founder of Choice Theory, catalogued methods of control as the "seven deadly habits": criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and bribing.
Relationships go bad when participants use these methods on one another. If one partner begins, the other usually responds in kind. Before very long, love, trust, and the desire to be together go out the window.
Rice includes a number of case studies from his practice as a family therapist. In the cases where he was successful, it was because the couple adopted the seven healthy habits: support, encourage, listen, accept, trust, respect, and negotiate. If one partner begins using these healthy habits, the other partner eventually reciprocates, and the relationship grows stronger.
This slim volume doesn't pretend to exhaust the subject of marriage problems and their resolution, but the central insight is clear and helpful, and the suggestions are practical and within the reach of just about everyone.