Lasting Love : The 5 Secrets of Growing a Vital, Conscious Relationship
by Gay Hendricks & Kathlyn Hendricks

Book Subject : Love Relationships - Family & Marriage Counseling - Commitment - Intimacy - Self-Help Books


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Lasting Love : The 5 Secrets of Growing a Vital, Conscious Relationship
by Gay Hendricks, Ph.D. and Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D.
Hardcover - 256 pages
First Edition, January 17, 2004
Published by Rodale Press
ISBN 1-57954-832-6 / ISBN 1579548326

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Book Review

Psychotherapists and marriage and relationship counselors Gay Hendricks and Kathlyn Hendricks, husband and wife, and colleagues, believe that the partnership of love requires the practice of skills in five specific areas of activity. They note that some of their goals seem to reflect a philosophy about the ideal purpose of life, but their system, in fact, is "based on helping real couples work out real problems ... not based on a philosophical principle." [Page 42]

Buy the book Lasting Love : The 5 Secrets of Growing a Vital, Conscious Relationship by Gay Hendricks and Kathlyn Hendricks

Many love relationships need to be repaired, especially for those with "toxic attraction," for these individuals "form entanglements in order to have company in their misery," that they might have "fellow victims to complain to and complain about." [9] Fortunately, the good habits that can replace the bad are "active arts" or "skills you can practice from moment to moment." [13]

About the Authors

Relationship experts and best-selling authors Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks are a happily married couple of more than 20 years, from whom other relationship experts seek advice. Pioneers in the field of body-centered psychotherapy, together, Gay and Kathlyn have written four books, which have sold nearly half a million copies. They are the founders of the Hendricks Institute, a learning center that teaches core skills for conscious living by assisting people in opening up to more creativity, love, and vitality through the power of conscious relationship and whole-person learning. The Hendricks have two children and two granddaughters and live in Ojai, California.

- From the Publisher

Perhaps evolution has ill-prepared us, since "almost no one begins with a conceptual grasp or a practical fluency in these arts. There's no reason any of us should be good at them whatsoever." [12] History shows that "until very recently, the context of intimate relationships was clouded by survival fears." People in previous historical periods "paid less attention to psychological or spiritual fulfillment." [20] The authors are recommending, therefore, that we replace "prior contexts" with "the new context." They call for a "big shift" from "survival (handling plows) to fulfillment (handling issues)." Our movement will be "toward a focus on appreciation and celebration" [21] Do not delay, therefore, to "make a decision to enhance the quality of your life rather than dispair over it." [22]

The authors of Lasting Love outline the five recommended areas of improvement as follows. You will see that an analogy to conserving and wisely expending our energy appears numerous times throughout the book. It is the energy to achieve self-fulfillment, to reach our full potential, both as individuals and as a couple.

The first area is about the problems that arise due to "an unmade commitment," that is, when someone "did not fully commit to a significant activity in the partnership." [xvi]

The second area is "emotional transparency," i.e., the fact that "relationships flourish ... when both people speak about their deeper emotions." [xvi] This form of transparency "produces huge bursts of energy in everyone who tries it." [5]

Third, people in a relationship must "share responsibilities for issues and duties." [xvii] They must "break the cycle of blame and criticism" because "it's an addiction that saps creative energy." [6]

The fourth recommendation is to adopt some kind of "creative self-expression," since taking part in creative activities for even an hour per week "produce more vital energy in the individual and thus in the relationship." [xviii] Be cautious to "take your attention away from fixing the other person and put it on expressing your own creativity." The danger to us is that "nothing will sap your vital energy faster than squelching your creativity." [7]

The fifth secret of a loving relationship is the need to resolve the "appreciation gap," because "vitality continues to drain away as this gap widens." [xix] The authors' methods "teach couples how to appreciate each other spontaneously and frequently." [8] Elaborating later, the authors explain that "human beings alternate between two ongoing cycles: cycle of complaint or a cycle of appreciation. The ratio between the two -- the amount of time we spend in each -- determines how happy we are" and "how much creativity we express" [15-16] The trick, then is to learn how to "shift quickly out of the cycle of complaint and into the cycle of appreciation." [17] You must, however, "focus on appreciation 'for its own sake,' not to influence the behavior of the other person." [18]

The   book excerpt on the next page   further defines these five areas where relationship improvement is needed.

Drs. Hendricks and Hendricks have very concisely organized the results of their years of experience. The first two-thirds of the book present their advice to couples in the form of narrative, outlines, and other descriptive form. The final one-third of the book, the appendices, are practical workbook activities. These involve scenarios, solutions, techniques, checklists, and practice exercises.

The authors of Lasting Love radiate a positive vision of a human potential that is reachable by merging individuality and partnership. They have identified the learnable skills which make relationships flourish, and a practical program to make this necessary growth a reality. They offer an organized presentation of their program, so that this new learning will be within our grasp.

Book review by M. Lepore for crimsonbird.com

Introduction, 6 chapters, 3 appendices, 12-page 2-column index. No illustrations.

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Lasting Love : The 5 Secrets of Growing a Vital, Conscious Relationship
by Gay Hendricks and Kathlyn Hendricks
ISBN 1-57954-832-6 / ISBN 1579548326

Book Description from the Publisher's Press Release

Lasting Love - The 5 Secrets of Growing a Vital, Conscious Relationship
By Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., and Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D.

In this long-awaited follow-up to their seminal Conscious Loving , Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks take on two of the most pressing problems that sap vitality and energy from our committed relationships: how to forge a closer relationship that still allows each partner full creative autonomy, and how to generate the passion and preserve the harmony essential to keeping long-term partnerships alive and blooming.

Lasting Love grew out of the Hendricks' laboratory of their 23-year marriage as well as their 10-year study of more than 2,000 long-term, committed couples. They discovered that the most common couples conflicts could be traced to at least one of five root causes:

  • An imbalance between the creative energy each partner contributes to the relationship
  • A lack of emotional honesty
  • An unwillingness to accept responsibility for everyday issues
  • Deep-seated commitment problems
  • A deficiency of daily appreciations

Using these insights as a starting point, the Hendricks devised a program based on five vital actions that simultaneously lead to a deeper flow of intimacy between partners and greater creative freedom for each individual:

  • Spend time expressing your own creativity rather than focusing on "fixing" your partner
  • Eliminate the barrier to speaking and hearing the truth about everything
  • Break the cycle of blame and criticism
  • Make commitments you can really stand by
  • Become a master of verbal and non-verbal appreciation

Filled with helpful real-life scenarios and straightforward advice, Lasting Love is an essential guide for anyone involved in a long-term relationship who wants it not only to last but to flourish.

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Lasting Love : The 5 Secrets of Growing a Vital, Conscious Relationship
by Gay Hendricks and Kathlyn Hendricks
ISBN 1-57954-832-6 / ISBN 1579548326

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