It Takes One to Tango

It Takes One to Tango

How I Rescued My Marriage With (almost) No Help From My Spouse--and How You Can, Too

Book - 2017
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With a focus on self-empowerment and resilience, this refreshing and witty relationship guide has a reassuring counterintuitive message for unhappy spouses: you only need one partner to initiate far-reaching positive change in a marriage.

Conventional wisdom says that "it takes two" to turn a troubled marriage around and that both partners must have a shared commitment to change. So when couples can't agree on how--or whether--to make their marriage better, many give up or settle for a less-than-satisfying marriage (or think the only way out is divorce).

Fortunately, there is an alternative.

It Takes One to Tango is a groundbreaking guide that shows how one determined partner--acting alone--can spark lasting, significant change in a marriage, often accomplishing change that cannot be made any other way. It doesn't matter how short-fused, argumentative, or seemingly impossible your partner can be--or how long you've been stuck.

Marriage and family therapist Winifred Reilly has this message for struggling partners: Take the lead . Doing so is effective--and powerful. Through Reilly's own story of reclaiming her now nearly forty-year marriage, along with anecdotes from many clients she's worked with, you'll learn how to:

-Focus on your own behaviors and change them in ways that make you feel good about yourself and your marriage
-Take a firm stand for what truly matters to you without arguing, cajoling, or resorting to threats
-Identify the "big picture" issues at the basis of your repetitive fights--and learn how to unhook from them
-Be less reactive, especially in the face of your spouse's provocations
-Develop the strength and stamina to be the sole agent of change

Combining psychological theory, practical advice, and personal narrative, It Takes One to Tango is a fresh and engaging guide that will empower those who choose to take a bold, proactive approach to creating a loving and lasting marriage.
Publisher: New York :, Touchstone,, [2017]
ISBN: 9781501125829
Branch Call Number: 306.81 REI
Characteristics: xxii, 261 pages ; 22 cm

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Cheryl_JHL Jan 24, 2018

Right on the tail end of a divorce, I'm finding myself reading all kinds of relationship books. It has been both clarifying and interesting to me, to read how Winifred repaired her own marriage and counsels others to repair theirs.

I feel this book is helpful not just for marriages, but relationships as well. With a caveat:

She does not advocate staying in an abusive or destructive relationship. She is talking about marriage. If you are in a relationship that is running you through the wringer, you really have to ask yourself why you're staying in it, and if you really see something on the other side of the stress that is worth sticking it through. Research may be your friend on that one - issues like gaslighting and narcissism are good to read up on before you say "I'm going to try to stick it out with this person." Also, maybe setting a time limit on how long you're going to really try...

That said, whether your are in or out of a relationship, ending one or starting one, she makes a great case for personal accountability and responsibility in a relationship. It is a choice to be married and stay married, and a choice to leave it. It is your job to make you happy, not someone else's. It is your job to build your sense of self and strength in who you are, not someone else's. And, it is your responsibility to maintain your individual identity in a relationship, while accepting your partner's individuality as well. This does not drag you apart from your partner - it brings you closer. She makes a case that trying to become "one person" doesn't serve either person, and much of what we can't handle about a partner in a relationship is that they are not the same as we are. That is huge.

It gave me a lot to think about it, and I won't lie, I took a lot of notes. I felt like this was good basic information to have at hand.

This book compliments:
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work - John Gottman
The 5 Love Languages - Gary Chapman (less)

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