Thursday, April 29, 2010

Book Review: Love Must Be Tough

Book Review: Love Must Be Tough: New Hope For Marriages in Crisis by James Dobson

When I told a co-worker recently that I had just read this book, they were amazed. "That's quite the oldy" they said with just a touch of book snobishness. Is it just me or do we expect Christian books to age quickly and gracelessly? Anyway, this is only the second book I've ever ready by Dobson but it somewhat of a classic in marriage counseling circles. So I wondered. . . could this old girl offer anything new for me? I was curious to find out.

Love Must Be Tough turned out to be a very helpful book which I will be recommending to many of my clients who are in tough situations. It goes nicely with Boundaries and Divorce Busting, yet is different enough from each of them to be valuable all on its own. Dobson's book is for those spouses who have bent over backwards to make their partner feel loved and accepted but the only reward they've received has been anger, indifference, infidelity, or abuse. While many people in such reactions adopt a mostly passive role, Dobson actually encourages creating a crisis, arguing that it often the best chance to save the marriage. By being tough and standing up for oneself (and the relationship) you not only protect yourself from further harm but actually make yourself more attractive to your spouse (being a pushover who just "takes it" is not attractive). Whether you spouse is cheating on you, addicted, angry, or abusive the best chance you have is to avoid the natural tendency to panic and then appease a person who is disrespecting you. Or as Dobson says:

"Nothing destroys a relationship more quickly then for a person to beg for mercy."

If you know someone who is stuck in a terrible relationship and trying to appease an abusive or indifferent spouse then this is a book for them to strongly consider reading. The action of standing up for oneself and forcing a crisis is a big decision and for many they need the encouragement and discernment of someone outside the situation (like a friend, minister, or counselor) to assist them. But in almost all cases it is the only real way to give things a chance. This book is a great introduction and inspiration to add tough love to one's repetoire of relational tools. I'd rate it 4.4 out of 5 ninja stars.

1 comment:

Michele said...

I can sooooo relate! Think I'll pick up that book! Thanks Mark!