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How to Get the Most From
Reading a Relationship Book

Larry James

Let's face it. Reading a relationship book will not mend a broken heart or fix a relationship that needs a major overhaul.

Books don't work! People in the relationship have to do the work.

A relationship book can offer tips, suggestions, old ideas expressed new ways, perhaps even a few new thoughts and if you are reading with an open mind; a mind that is ready to change its way of thinking, you might even find the inspiration to begin to reinvent the relationship you have to make it better.

By the way, smart people do not wait until their relationship is taking a dive before they do something about it. Preventive maintenance works. They read. They attend personal growth seminars together. They learn to talk so their partner will want to listen and they actually begin to LISTEN to what their partner is saying. It is a continuing process; one that should never have an end.

Unless both partners are willing to make some changes about the way they are being in the relationship, generally speaking the relationship will either continue in its "do nothing" rut or one partner will outgrow the other and eventually leave.

How sad to do nothing and allow the relationship to suffocate and die a slow agonizing death; both being miserable all the while and each partner remaining too stubborn to be the first one to take a step in the right direction. That's called stupid! You must both take the first step while you are still afraid.

All the tips and suggestions about relationships in all the relationship books you can read will not change a thing. Words alone cannot change anything. It takes action. Unless you are inspired to do something different; unless you change your way of being in a relationship your relationship will not get better. Simply reading a book won't do it.

Does this mean that there is no hope? The answer is no. The hope lies in being willing to take what you read to heart and then doing the work necessary to make the relationship a healthy one.

Relationships are something that you must work on all the time, not only when they are broken and need to be fixed. Many times we turn to books at a time of crisis. Often this is too late.

What happens when your partner will not read a book with you? Let me put it this way, it is a far better thing to be working on your relationship alone than to do nothing and allow your partner to pull you down to their level.

"But," you say, "how can the relationship get better if I am the only one working on it?" The overall relationship you have together may or may not improve, however your own attitude about it will. This alone is a positive step in the right direction.

You cannot make someone else do something that they do not want to do and expect good results. Until most people recognize the benefits of working together on the relationship, nothing happens.

Remember this: The most important relationship you have is the relationship you have with yourself. Often when couples are together they forget to continue to take care of themselves thinking and hoping that either their partner will do this for them or that if they work much harder on the relationship everything will be okay. Wrong!

You must take care of yourself. Put yourself first. Your partners responsibility is to do the same. TOGETHER you take care of the relationship. A partner who neglects their own well being is demonstrating disrepect for the relationship.

Your partner cannot possibly know what is best for YOUR well being as well as you, therefore it is YOUR responsibility to take care of you. The same is true for your partner. Two broken people cannot fix each other or the relationship.

Working and reading together is the key. Respecting your partner and the relationship enough to study the psychology of having a healthy love realtionship together must be your highest priority.

When you work together as a team, great things begin to happen. Learning to be a support to your partner in the relationship can work miracles. Lending a helping hand; offering to go the extra mile; walking hand-in-hand, together and being your partner's best friend in the process is certainly a much better option than doing nothing.

Let's get back to the business of getting the most from reading a relationship book. . . together.

First of all, head for the local office supply store and buy two colored highlighters. Why two? Because the best way to benefit from reading a relationship book is to read it together.

While YOU are reading it, mark the passages that are important to you with a bright YELLOW highlighter. Then give the book to your love partner requesting that he or she do the same, marking important passages as they read with a light BLUE highlighter.

Why? Because when there are areas in the book that are important to BOTH of you and the highlighters overlay, you will see GREEN. Yellow and blue make green. When you see green this time, it does not mean envy! Green means "Go!" It means these are the areas of the relationship that are important to both of you.

It is always a good idea to begin with areas that you agree upon. Knowing where you stand and what you both hold to be valuable to the relationship is a must. Some couples never stop long enough to consider how important this kind of information can be.

Next. . . take some time to carefully review the passages your partner has marked with their own color; make notes of what is important to him or her. These are the areas of the relationship that need your careful attention. Do your best to focus on what is important to you and to your partner. You need to know what is essential for your partner's happiness and to care enough to do your best to provide it.

The next step is to openly and honestly discuss what you have read TOGETHER! What you cannot talk about keeps you stuck! Make a new agreement to talk about anything and everything all the time. Make it a promise you both keep. It may be one of the most difficult promises to keep, however the benefits are worth it.

Caution ~ Resist the urge to mark the passages you KNOW your love partner NEEDS to read. When the student is ready, the teacher appears! Let the teacher be the book. . . not you. Let your love partner read and get from the book what he or she needs to learn. It rarely helps to push your own stuff on someone else. It often only causes resentment or drives a person further away.

By the way, any reluctance or refusal by your love partner to FULLY participate in WORKING TOGETHER on your relationship, regardless of the way you BOTH choose to do that (counseling, attending relationship & personal development seminars together, implementing this idea of reading and discussing the relationship book together, etc.), is a RED FLAG!!!

If this is the case, therapy is always a wise choice.

  • If you would like a FREE hard copy of "How to Get the Most From Reading a Relationship Book," sized to fit in the front of your book, send a self-addressed, stamped (60¢) #10 business envelope to the address below. Please remember to tell us what you are requesting.

Copyright ę - Larry James.

  If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about relationship issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Personal Relationship Coaching for specific details.

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Relationship books by Larry James:

How to Really Love the One You're With:
Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship

LoveNotes for Lovers:
Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing

Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers (Career Assurance Press).

Author Larry James is a professional speaker. He presents "Relationship Enrichment LoveShops" nationally for singles and couples. More About Larry James

Larry James • • P.O. Box 12695 • Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695

480 998-9411 • Fax 480 998-2173 • 800 725-9223

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