Love is a skill, not just an emotion—and in order for us to get good at it, we have to practice, as we would in any other area we want to shine in.
Many of us expect our romantic relationships to be like fairy tale romances; but realistically, after a heady and passion-filled start, we end up in unions that are a confusing tangle of hope, distance, boredom, loyalty, and betrayal. Here is a workbook containing the very best exercises that any couple can undertake to help their relationship function optimally, exercises to foster understanding, patience, forgiveness, humor, and resilience in the face of the many hurdles that invariably arise when you try to live with someone else for the long term.
Couples are guided to have particular conversations, analyze their feelings, explain parts of themselves to one another, and undertake rituals that clear the air and help recover hope and passion. The goal is always to unblock channels of feeling and improve communication. Not least, doing exercises together is—at points—simply a lot of fun.
The notion of exercising is well understood in many areas; we should grant that it applies equally to love. No one can be intuitively good at relationships. We all need to do some homework to become the best partners and couples we can be.
1. The Scale of the Ambition
2. The Dangerous Quest for Compatibility
3. The True Romance of Pessimism
4. Why on Earth am I With This Person?
5. What We Should Learn From One Another
6. The Secret Lives of Other Couples
7. Continuing the Conversation
8. Overcoming Our Parents
9. A Trust Checkup
10. How We See Ourselves – and How Our Partner Sees Us
11. The Little Things
12. How We Like to be Loved
13. Early Wounds
14. A New Ritual: The Morning and Evening Kiss
15. Unconscious Belittling
16. The Anxious-Avoidant Quiz
17. Projecting Emotions
18. Indirect Communication
19. A Better Kind of Evening
20. How I am Difficult to Live With
21. A Forgiveness Ritual
22. A Gratitude Ritual
23. Our Conspiracy
25. The Weakness of Strength
26. Hidden Efforts
27. Undelivered Compliments
28. How to Complain
29. A Pessimistic Interlude
30. How to Argue
31. Concrete Change
32. Change is Possible
33. Be the Change You Want to See
34. Five Questions to Ask of Bad Behaviour
35. Talking About Sex
36. The Sensate Focus Method
37. Accepting the Problems
38. Less Pressure on Love