Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Review: Strangling Your Husband is Not an Option

Strangling Your Husband Is Not an Option: A Practical Guide to Dramatically Improving Your MarriageStrangling Your Husband Is Not an Option: A Practical Guide to Dramatically Improving Your Marriage by Merrilee Boyack

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was disappointed with this book.  I was expecting so much more, considering how stellar I thought Merrilee Boyack's "The Parenting Breakthrough" was.  The first five chapters she goes on and on about how men are different from women and we just have to live with how they are, blah, blah, blah.  It wasn't until the sixth chapter that she actually gives practical advice at  how to deal with the annoying things he does and how to approach discussing issues with him.  I still am not sure anything she said would be useful in applying to my marriage.  Much of it was the standard advice (go on a date every week, keep up your appearance, etc.) that is all good and nice but not helpful.  I was hoping to find ways to improve the communication so that we can start having those "deep conversations" again and such and got no practical advice on how to do that, other than to "talk like you used to".  Hard to do if your spouse ain't interested!  Overall a really big disappointment.  Just more of the same non-helpful tips that I've been hearing for years.

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swedemom said...

You know, I'm learning more and more you can't change another person. You can only change yourself. That's it. I'm reading Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner.

I deal with a lot of anger within myself and I found this the only helpful thing I have ever read about anger, and I've read a lot.

The author of the book says that you shouldn't ignore your anger, just like you shouldn't ignore pain. Anger is a signal to yourself that things need to change. We've been taught in our society, especially as women, that we are to repress anger, that anger is bad. If we do express anger, then we are called negative names. The author also asserts that venting our anger can be as equally destructive as repressing anger.

As I read this, I see the truth of it in my own life. I do alternate between venting my rage and repressing it. When I repress my anger, I withdraw from myself, from my life, and from my family, which is negative in all cases. When I vent my anger, I rain my wrath down on myself, my life, and my family with the only result being a cycle of unhappiness within myself and within my most important relationships. Either way, venting or repressing doesn't change things. And without change, you become trapped in a cycle of unhappiness and anger.

I also thought it interesting we often blame others for our anger and our own unhappiness and we seek to change that by changing them, which doesn't work. You can't change other people, you can only change yourself. This really struck me as well. Right now I've been really angry at one thing, feeling like it is the cause for all my troubles and I've been desperate for it to change, when it won't. I certainly can't make it.

Another source of anger can be how we interact with others. We fight, we storm, but in the end we capitulate and give away our power in order to preserve our relationships with others or work or church or whatever. In so doing, we create unhealthy relationships that are unbalanced and unhappy.

The last thing I've learned is that in order to stop feeling angry, you have to address the issues. You can't run from them, you can't hide from them, and you can't ignore them. They don't go away and they resolve without help. A broken bone that is not set properly is never going to heal properly, which lead you to be in pain forever. But a bone that is set correctly will heal correctly because the source of the pain is correctly addressed.

Royalbird said...

How do you address issues with someone who doesn't want to discuss them? That's what I was hoping for with this book--practical advice on how to communicate better things that are really bothering me. All I got was a lesson on "I" statements, which I had already learned and don't work in my marriage at this point. If I tell my spouse that "I feel this way because he did this and this was the result" his response is that I can control how I feel about something and by being upset, I'm choosing to take offense to it. In other words, any situation that arises where I feel frustration, anger, depression, etc., is my fault because I'm letting it bother me. How do you address a problem and resolve it with someone who seems uninterested in solving it and makes it only your problem, not theirs too?


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