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WE CAN WORK IT OUT by Clifford I. Notarius


Making Sense of Marital Conflict

by Clifford I. Notarius & Howard J. Markman

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-13866-8
Publisher: Putnam

An upbeat, well-organized how-to-make-your-marriage-work manual by two psychologists who've been studying marital conflict for 20 years. Markman (Psychology/University of Denver) and Notarius (Psychology/Catholic University of America)—both familiar to viewers of Oprah and readers of USA Today and Psychology Today— each operate a research center where happy and unhappy couples are studied and compared. The authors' major findings are neatly packaged in ``Six Simple Truths of Marriage'' (#1: Each relationship contains a reservoir of hope), as well in six further statements about successful relationships that are contrasted with conventional wisdom (e.g., conventional wisdom holds that who you marry has a lot to do with how happy your marriage will be; by contrast, the authors contend that marital happiness has little to do with who you marry and everything to do with how you cope with conflict). Notarius and Markman offer quizzes to diagnose areas of conflict in one's own marriage; then focus on strategies for communication, analyzing how happy couples relate and resolve conflicts; and, finally, introduce a ``Better Talk'' program, in which the information and techniques already learned are put into practice. Throughout, the authors exude confidence that anyone can learn their system. They give explicit directions on how to develop and use a ``Personal Problem Plan'' and a ``Relationship Issues Planner,'' and they coax the reader along with lively text interspersed with numerous catchy headings, lists, boxes, reminders, exercises, and case histories. A lucid do-it-yourself guide to managing conflict that will be most useful for couples with the motivation and determination to follow a structured program.