Author: Dr Paul Hauck
If I could walk around with tens of copies of this book, and hand them out to people I know and care about, I would! Once you read this book, you wonder how you managed your relationships prior to reading it. This is what I call `a gem of a book’. It is small but potent book about 100 pages, first published in 1983, but recently reprinted. Every page contains pertinent and practical information, encapsulating Dr. Paul Hauck’s experience and knowledge as a clinical psychologist who counseled hundreds of couples. The book is geared towards marriages, but equally applies to intimate relationships too.
Dr Hauck says that he felt compelled to write this book having dealt with countless couples who were suffering in their intimate relationships. His understanding of the causes lead him to formulate the following ideas:
- The reciprocity theory of love
- Business theory of marriage, and
- The three rules for achieving co-operation, respect, and love.The latter etched itself in my mind.
Very early in the book, he quotes Maslow’s theory of motivation (see Abraham H. Maslow’s -Toward a Psychology of Being), that we are all driven by five motives, where the most basic motives are the strongest; and once satisfied, we move on to the next set of motivations, and so on. In their rank of importance they are:
Physiological needs (hunger, cold, thirst, food etc.)
Safety needs (a roof over our heads)
Belongingness and love needs
Esteem needs (strive for achievement, demonstrate adequacy, competence, independence, etc.)
Self-actualization needs (desires to become all that we are capable of becoming. Total and complete fulfillment of inner destiny).
The concepts, which he puts forward, may at first hand startle if not even shock. But his style is entertaining and his solid arguments make them difficult to ignore. He points that love has a vital but not per-eminent place in the scheme of things. He argues that to gain respect, admiration and love requires more than kindness, patience and tolerance. Romantic notions of love are often misleading and if we “spoil” people we may end up by no longer loving them. “Needing love is a temporary phase in our growth which leads us on to yet higher motivations such as self-esteem and self-actualization… it is a prerequisite for higher motivations, and can be reduced in importance once it has served its purpose in lifting us up to the fourth and fifth levels.”
He also believes that “when an intelligent, well-adjusted, handsome or beautiful person, suddenly becomes depressed, tearful, insanely jealous and is perhaps ready to commit suicide” because of a relationship gone wrong, it is not dues to personality disorder, nor a phase but is a human condition he called it `love disorder’ which can afflict young and old and the first time it hits is the worse. It can make us lose our reason it is a neurotic reaction! “The neurotic need for love rather than the practical desire for love, has caused more pain in people who are supposed to love each other than any other single thing”. He questions: “why do you have to be loved? And since when does somebody else’s loving you make you a wonderful worthwhile human being? Weren’t you worthwhile and wonderful before you were loved?”
He adds: “rejection is painless, unless you make it hurt. If you insist that you have turned into a nobody because your lover has rejected you, then you never had much of an ego to begin with. If you think your life is over because your husband has found an interest in someone else, then you never had much confidence in yourself”. He also “takes the exception to the idea that one has to have love constantly from that one particular person”- if the no longer satisfy their needs, or hold up their end of the business theory of partnership. This is an important point, as it will change your perception of what rejection is, and you will never feel rejected again.
This book shows you how to deal with all aspects of those feelings, and highlights causes of the problem also shows that loving relationships are better when they contain an element of assertiveness; the reciprocity theory of love:
Rule 1: If people treat you nicely, treat them nicely.
Rule 2: If people treat you badly, continue to treat them nicely, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and love those who trespass against you, for a reasonable period of time.
Rule 3: If people treat you badly, and the second principle does not work, treat them badly with approximately equal intensity, and without anger.
Hauck discusses marriages where divorce is an option, and offers advice on how to deal with the marriages when, for cultural or religious reasons, divorce is not an option. He also lists Healthy and Unhealthy reasons for marriage, highlighting why people change after marriage, and how to deal with that. Further, he gives a Compatibility test before you actually commit! But, in my view, the real key , `The goal of any caring relationship’ is what he calls the Just Reasonable Contentment (JRC) factor. “The goal of a relationship is to see to it that you remain at least just reasonable content at all times and that you have hope for greater degree of contentment…. There are three serious consequences from allowing yourself to live in a state of frustration, which is below your JRC:
· You will generally be disturbed, frustrated human being…
· You will almost definitely begin to fall out love with your partner..
· You will eventually not care about the relationship itself”
It would be difficult to at this point not quote the whole book! But the following concepts quotes are chosen here, until you read the book yourself:
– It is our thoughts that cause us to be depressed, angry, fearful, or jealous. It is not the way people behave towards us that create these feelings; it is what we make of them.
– There are 12 irrational ideas (he lists them).. that cause practically all of the normal emotional disturbances (including depression, jealousy anger.) Talk yourself out of believing these irrational ideas. Which will lead you to new behaviour and cause you to be undisturbed.- Would you like to know how to never get upset again? Then take this advice: never make a catastrophe out of anything again and you will be never be psychologically upset again! (He explains that).
– The moment you pity yourself more than just a little bit, try to appreciate the fact that you have just then enormously worsened your life. Self-pity is fruitless. It incapacitates you.
Hauck also discusses areas of conflict, when to tolerate a partner’s behaviour and when not to, how to evaluate and practically improve a relationship by staying in it, or leaving it: divorce and how to handle it. He tackles emotional, religious, and sexual issues between partners in terms of expectations and differences. He also discusses when is an expectation of a partner is reasonable and when it is not and how to deal with that.
In the conclusion of the book he says: “too much other-pity can hurt those you love. Take the attitude, `I love you enough to want to stop you from becoming the sort of person I can’t tolerate'”. He ends the book saying: “Giving is unquestionable a loving act. Not giving, with the absence of vengeful heart, can be the greatest love act of all”. Make sure you include this book in your Christmas stocking, and those of the ones you love and care about.
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