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How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It

Narrated by: Laural Merlington
Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,119 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Men are right.

Drs. Patricia Love and Steven Stosny have studied the all-too-familiar dynamic between men and women and have reached a truly shocking conclusion. Even with the best of intentions, talking about your relationship doesn’t bring you together, and it will eventually drive you apart.

The reason for this is that underneath most couples’ fights, there is a biological difference at work. A woman’s vulnerability to fear and anxiety makes her draw closer, while a man’s subtle sensitivity to shame makes him pull away in response. This is why so many married couples fall into the archetypal roles of nagging wife/stonewalling husband, and why improving a marriage can’t happen through words.

How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It teaches couples how to get closer in ways that don’t require "trying to turn a man into a woman". Rich in stories of couples who have turned their marriages around, and full of practical advice about the behaviors that make and break marriages, this essential guide will help couples find love beyond words.

©2007 Patricia Love and Steven Stosny (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Inspirational... a practical guide for men and women to overcome their challenges and come together outside and inside the bedroom." (John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Why he doesn't like to listen or talk about it!

SUBJECT (marriage/relationship) - I love listening to self-improvement and relationship books on Audible. I would probably never sit down and read something like this, but while I'm driving to work or exercising, heck yeah! And before I launch into what I, as a woman, learned from this book, please make note that it is written by a male and a female and contains good advice for both partners in a marriage.

My marriage isn't "on the rocks," but it's not perfect either. I had several "Ah-ha" moments where I learned critical mistakes I'm making and ways to improve upon them. Most importantly, I learned why my husband doesn't like to talk about relationship issues and picked up new approaches I can use to hopefully get better results. I also gained insight into his fears and motivations and, again, new ways to approach them differently. The authors also cover sexual issues, the importance of seeing things from your spouse's perspective...and much more.

PERFORMANCE - The reader is female, has a pleasant voice and does a good job.

OVERALL - Recommended for anyone who is married or in a committed relationship. Even if you think your marriage is perfect, learn what it is you're doing right so you don't accidentally stop doing it! You can listen together or separately. I listened alone. I think I'm going to implement some changes in myself first, see if my husband notices improvement and, only then, suggest he listen to the book to see if he gets ideas as well. And, no, we're not going to talk about it!

37 of 37 people found this review helpful

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Must read if your on the verge of loosing it all!

After 14 years of marriage, fighting more and more frequently as the years passed, increased resentment, and more tears than I like to admit, I was considering divorce as our next step and only option left on the table. I figured I would try ONE last time, knowing I couldn't walk away knowing I didn't give EVERYTHING I had. After finishing this book, I immediately started using the techniques explained, and immediately I noticed a change in my husband! I FINALLY GET HOW TO BE A WIFE, AND WITHOUT SAYING A WORD, HAVE THE HUSBAND I ALWAYS NEEDED! This book helped me understand why the things I say to my husband, no matter how good intentioned, always seemed to make things worse, not better! Learning WHY he withdraws when I try to provide constructive feedback, after all that's what I wanted from him, so why wouldn't telling him what's wrong help him fix it right? WRONG!! I am the "over sensitive, lets talk" type, and he is the silent "nothing is wrong" type, always taking everything I tell him out of context and getting angry, when all I was trying to do was get him to show he cares.
Gaining the insight of the etiology of men and women, our behavior, our instincts and above all our inner fears. Learning how all this subconsciously impacts our daily interactions with each other and having the choice to choose my emotions based on who I want to be, THIS SAVED MY MARRIAGE!
The authors truly explain HOW to change your thought process when in the moment and give REAL solutions to the negative thoughts and emotions that occur for even the most innocent of gestures. They don't try to tell you your wrong, broken or incapable of change, they give you tools to CHOOSE who you want to be as a spouse.
I now understand my husbands thoughts, his reactions and his fears and no longer see them as hurtful. I now know how to react to my husbands consistent need for sex, understand why this is so important to him (regardless of the situation) and have the tools to teach myself how to change my reactions. Showing him how I feel without words, allowing him to feel confident as a man thus our relationship has grown into what it is meant to be. All the things I always wanted out of marriage, the real reason why I fell in love in the beginning, it all came flooding back immediately!
Without my negative thoughts, knee jerk reactions or comments harming our relationship; we are happy, loving and most of all successful in helping each other, and we NEVER talked about it. I cannot express the true gratitude I have for this book and the positive outcome from simply thinking differently and using actions to express my gratitude, love and understanding to my husband, in return I NOW have the loving, compassionate and happy husband I wanted all along, thank you!

84 of 87 people found this review helpful

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Profoundly Accurate and Explanatory

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes! Because they present with so much experience and background as marriage counselors. Also because it explains accurately how men and women generally relate and where our "miss" has been. A true code cracker book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It?

All the precursor and educational foundation of the book that prepared us to hear..."Just jump into the puddle" was the most intense relief. But the most memorable moment was in the beginning of the book when she lists so much information about how the genders generally relate to others and how we are socially locked in and reinforced to communicate in these certain ways. It was heartbreaking and disarming to see my husband and all men with such clarity. First this book breaks the spell of resentment with facts and experience and accurate emotional tones when a marriage has gone so far off course then it breaks the cycle of isolation and shame, gives us insight into how the cycle is so pervasive and self perpetuating...and then gives us solutions we are relieved to know and are ready for. I felt heard, seen and expressed though their words and exposed to my husband's inner world like never before...Disarmed is the word. Thank you.

What does Laural Merlington bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She was so expressive. She brought these facts to life. If I had to read all those facts to my husband or just by myself, it wouldn't have come across so neutrally. I would've gotten bored, lost, angry at having to process so much linear information when he and I were in such an emotionally dark and twisted place. And the way she brought emotion to the sections....gave examples as if she were really talking to us...brought the information in more completely, convincingly...as if we were with a guidance counselor, not left up to our own tones, emphasis and innuendo. We were fed the information and given tasks to do along the way. We needed that. We NEEDED that. Thank you!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My extreme reaction was the feeling of being seen.....and how disarmed I was by the general ways we are socialized....and how it's not ok to live and die by "women do it better" motto when it comes to "communication". The compassion that I had access to made me feel humbled and grateful. It also made me angry after awhile because I got tired of hearing how high maintenance he is...and the irony is that he called me high maintenance....and we got to realize together that we are both this way in our own way. So simple yet SO hard to get to if you don't know the natural tendency generally of the genders...and after 17 years of marriage and misunderstanding. God, I wish we had found this book 10 years ago. wow.

Any additional comments?

A code cracker...and it must be done in audiobook!!! A must hear for anyone in relationship as I see it. My husband agrees, this book would not have been as powerful in hard copy. We were both too biased...we needed a neutral party in the mix.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Male - Female interactions make so much more sense

Any additional comments?

I have listened to this more than once and get new insights each time. It has helped me understand what is going on so much better in relationships and given me some tools to improve them...and they do help!

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Innisfil, ON, Canada
  • 02-25-13

Everyone Should Read This Book

Would you listen to How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It again? Why?

I have listened to this book many times to understand the details. Read this book if you want to understand why you don't get along with your spouse, child, or parents. Everyone needs this information. It should be taught in school.

It has improved my relationship with my wife - Without talking about it.

I whole heartily recommend this book!

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Pretty good

Very informative. Lots of science behind why we do what we do. Narrators voice was a little annoying to me. At times she sounds as if she's talking to a preschool class. All in all, good sound advise and exercises.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Best marriage book out there

I have read many relationship, marriage, and "after the affair" books. This book is the best one I've read. Its lesson is simple. It's easy to apply the methods, and, most important, it works. I have read it twice now- just to make sure the concepts are ingrained within my behaviors. The whole idea is to reconnect with my spouse. To let go of resentments and wrongs and to be compassionate, empathetic, loving and caring. (The letting go is tough- but the author helps you with that). After that everything comes back to the way the relationship began. We are reconnecting- showing love toward each other and respect. And there was NO talking. My husband and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary. We've weathered financial issues, children, affairs and life. We're still in love and we still both want connection with one another. Do not hesitate to read this book. I hope it changes your marriage and your life as much as it changed ours.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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The material is okay but seems written for the 1980s

Almost all of this material seems to be written for men-as-bread-winners and women-as homemakers. The authors make a passing reference to the significant percentage of women that make more than men, but then the authors revert to “His worry about providing for their household. “ There is nothing, nothing about a woman’s worry about her salary and providing for her family.

Some of the material is useful, but when someone is already trying to accept where they have to work on themselves, having this constant litany about men’s salary and head-of-household insecurities creates a barrier to that potentially useful material.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Title is misleading

The first 3/4 of the book (aka “part 1”) is about how men and women have different fears. You don’t get any actionable tips until the last portion “part 2”. This is misleading for a book entitled “How to”. I was disappointed in the time I invested reading this book and the small amount of tips I took away.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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horrible

was not helpful and misleading. I had to restart numerous times. tedious listening. I did not find it educating.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful