If you are in a relationship or want to be in a relationship—which is pretty much everybody!—you owe it to yourself to read The Romantic Love Question & Answer Book, written by psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden.
The book addresses every conceivable aspect of romantic relationships and offers a wealth of insights and examples that can help people create a healthier, more intimate relationship. If you are not currently in a relationship, this book can help you make your next relationship a successful one.
The book was published in 1982. I suspect that if it had been published in 2010, it would have been a runaway bestseller.
Branden writes with great clarity and precision. I found myself repeatedly impressed with how he expressed complicated subjects so concisely and powerfully. Reading something that makes me think, “Wow, I couldn’t write this better myself,” is my litmus test for quality.
I had read Branden’s book, The Psychology of Romantic Love, years ago and enjoyed it greatly. (Originally published in 1980, Branden updated it in 2008.) In both books, he shares a sentence-completion exercise that is remarkably effective at helping people express their true feelings about a topic. For example, here is a humorous albeit quite revealing excerpt:
Q: My husband is in favor of my working, so long as it doesn’t interfere with all my duties at home. In effect, my emancipation consists of having two jobs. How do I get my husband to understand that I need help in running the house?
A: We once presented this problem at an Intensive to a group of men whose wives or girlfriends held jobs ranging from the secretarial to the executive. Most of them acknowledged feeling that regardless of any work a woman did outside, the home was her first responsibility.
We invited them to experiment with the sentence stem “If I were expected to be a homemaker in addition to holding down a full-time job——.” Amidst a good deal of laughter and embarrassment, their endings included:
I’d say, “Are you kidding?”
I’d feel angry and exploited.