Book Review: Rock the Boat: How to Use Conflict to Heal and Deepen Your Relationship
Publication Date: Apr 28, 2015
Format: Paperback, 296 pages
Imprint: Hazelden Publishing
Publisher: Hazelden Publishing
Parent Company: Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
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Book Reviewed by Kam Williams
“This book is about the reality of relationships. It offers no comforting fantasies, false promises, or quick-and-easy fixes. Instead, it offers you and your partner a chance to make your relationship—and your lives—bigger and fuller… Committed relationships can be gritty and in our faces…
If you’re committed to avoiding grit or challenge or conflict, now is the time to step away from this book… If all you want is to feel good, put down this book and get a massage.
[But] if you want a relationship that helps you and your partner grow into the people you most want each other to be, welcome aboard… This book is a serious guide to growing up and handling conflicts as partners.”
Excerpted from the Introduction (pages 1-2)
I’ve refrained from reviewing relationship books lately, basically
because there’s been such a profusion of self-professed love gurus hawking
lighthearted advice ever since comedian-turned-love guru Steve Harvey not
only published Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, but turned the runaway
best-seller into a hit movie, too. However, I’ve decided to make an
exception for this relatively-sobering opus by Resma Menakem, a licensed
therapist you might recognize from his appearances on Oprah, Dr. Phil and
Resma is a licensed clinical social worker whose approach to counseling encourages couples to confront rather than smooth over their differences. In “Rock the Boat,” a how-to handbook delineating his professional philosophy, the author starts with the thesis that marriage is never the happily-ever-after fairy tale suggested by the end of every romantic romp you see in the movies.
It is his contention that couples fall in love because of positive responses to each other’s similarities. So, most are blissfully blinded to their differences when they make the decision to tie the knot.
Then, a rude awakening arrives the day reality sets in when you find yourself wondering whatever happened to the delightful partner you walked down the aisle with. That person has been replaced by a monster and don’t be surprised if he or she also sees you as one.
According to Resma, self-transformation is the key to navigating these perilous waters. “What each of us needs to do is grow,” he says, adding “We need to learn to become responsible for soothing the aches and pains of our own heart, rather than ask—or expect or demand—that our partner soothe them for us.”
A terrific, tough love tome suggesting that changing yourself is the first step to a better relationship, rather than trying to change your frustrating spouse.