“Making Marriage Simple” and Other Hendrix/Hunt

In Making Marriage Simple: 10 Truths for Changing the Relationship You Have into the One You Want, couples counselors Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, creators of Imago Relationship Therapy, presented a “blueprint” of sorts for couples in committed relationships.

An Amazon reader/reviewer reveals the 10 truths the authors say are the keys.

  1. Romantic Love is a Trick
  2. Incompatibility is Grounds for Marriage
  3. Conflict is Growth Trying to Happen
  4. Being Present for Each Other Heals the Past
  5. It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It
  6. Negativity Is Invisible Abuse
  7. Negativity Is a Wish in Disguise
  8. Your Brain Has a Mind of Its Own
  9. Your Marriage is a Laughing Matter
  10. Your Marriage is Your Best Life Insurance Plan

Publishers Weekly: “The overall message—built on an enthusiastic notion of marriage as the core institution of society and following a structure of specific communication exercises—is one that divorce-happy America may not be ready to hear: ‘the best way to heal a relationship is not to repair the two people, but the Space between them.'”

Making Marriage Simple is just one of the Hendrix manuals. Others include Getting the Love You Want, Keeping the Love You Find, and Receiving Love. Following are selected quotes from their books.

The idea that your partner is really a composite of your parents can be a bit upsetting at first. Though we love our parents, most of us got over (consciously) wanting to marry them when we turned five or six. Then, when we hit our teenage years, all we wanted was our freedom. But the fact is, we’re unconsciously drawn to that special someone with the best and worst character traits of all of our caregivers combined. We call this our “Imago”—the template of positive and negative qualities of your primary caregivers.

About 90 percent of the frustrations your partner has with you are really about their issues from childhood. That means only 10 percent or so is about each of you right now. 

Ironically…fusers (who experienced neglectful caretaking) and isolators (who experienced intrusive parenting) tend to grow up and marry each other, thus beginning an infuriating game of push and pull that leaves neither partner satisfied.

There is a concept informally called woundology, where couples spend too much time dwelling on the past, which should be avoided. Nonetheless, spending some time sharing your childhood experiences is vital because it gives you a better understanding of your partner’s inner reality and helps you shift from judgment to curiosity and empathy.

Romantic Love delivers us into the passionate arms of someone who will ultimately trigger the same frustrations we had with our parents, but for the best possible reason! Doing so brings our childhood wounds to the surface so they can be healed.

In a healthy relationship, two people gradually transition from moving within a single orbit to moving in two separate, but overlapping, orbits. They are able to have their own friends, their own interests, their own schedules, and—most important—their own opinions, feelings, and thoughts, while still enjoying and preferring each other’s company.

People believe that separation opens their eyes to their self-defeating behaviors and gives them an opportunity to resolve those problems with a new partner. But unless they under- stand the unconscious desires that motivated their dysfunctional behavior in the first relationship and learn how to satisfy those desires with the new partner, the second relationship is destined to run aground on the same submerged rocks.

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