Book Review - Why Talking Is Not Enough by Susan Page
Why Talking Is Not Enough: 8 Loving Actions That Will Transform Your Marriage by Susan Page is one of those books that flies against the conventional advice that's often given when it comes to marriage counseling. But after you get over the "but that can't be right" feeling, there's a lot to be said for her approach.
Part 1 - What Is Spiritual Partnership?: Introducing Spiritual Partnership; Loving Action 1 - Adopt a Spirit of Good Will; LA 2 - Give Up Problem Solving; LA 3 - Act as If; LA 4 - Practice Restraint; LA 5 - Balance Giving and Taking; LA 6 - Act on Your Own; LA 7 - Practice Acceptance; LA 8 - Practice Compassion
Part 2 - Putting Spiritual Partnership to Work in Your Relationship: Exactly How to Use the Eight Loving Actions; Frequently Asked Questions; Communication Within Spiritual Partnership; Making Mature Judgments
Part 3 - Spiritual Partnership in a Broader Context: Defining the "Spiritual" in Spiritual Partnership; The Future of Spiritual Partnership
References and Further Reading; About the Author
Most self-help books related to marriage dwell on communication... the give and take of negotiation. Page contends that the approach is more adversarial in nature, and basically tries to change something you have no control over: the other person. Instead, she suggests that taking responsibility for yourself and your own actions is much more effective in the long run, as you *can* control yourself. The actions are centered around what's referred to as a "spiritual practice", or the act of looking at your day-to-day interactions as an exercise of your spiritual nature. If you are focusing on making yourself into the best person you can be, then changes in the other person will also flow. These actions, also called experiments, are designed to help you learn what works and what doesn't in your relationship. If you try something and it doesn't work, that's good as you've learned something you didn't know before. It's a different approach to what you normally think of as marriage or relationship counseling, but I can see where it would have benefits over the standard "talk it out" approach.
Where I tend to have issues is with the focus on "if it's authentic for you, it's right" ethic. In this book, she feels that learning you're not right for your mate and splitting is as good an outcome as becoming closer. If you feel that there *are* moral and ethical absolutes, then some of the underlying foundations of what's in here won't resonate with you. Still, looking at the actions and the mindset of "change yourself before trying to change others" has some real value. I've personally always felt that trying to elicit change in others to suit your own self is chancy at best, and futile in most cases...
Definitely worth a read and consideration if the "I gave up something, now why won't they do the same" path isn't working for you...