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2 X 2 ON THE ARK by Mary J. Giuffra


Five Secrets of a Great Relationship

by Mary J. Giuffra

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-982256-96-8
Publisher: BalboaPress

Couples therapist Giuffra offers a debut guide for those navigating the waters of romantic relationships.

This work draws heavily on the metaphor of Noah’s Ark in the book of Genesis: “Did [Noah] wonder what he needed to learn from all those animals aboard? Clearly the animals had done a far better job connecting and living peacefully with others of their species than humans had.” Giuffra uses such examples to help readers explore what traditional wisdom reveals about modern love, but she also draws on more recent neuroscience research. In five sections, the author lays out a practical “Love Map” for successful relationships, arranged into five distinct advice topics: “Leave Space for Love,” “Operate Your Brain To Love,” “View Your Conditioning With Love,” “Emerge Free To Love,” and “Route and Navigate Life’s Stormy Seas.” Throughout, Giuffra not only provides numerous stories of couples, including her own anonymized clients, as they learn to incorporate various principles, but also clear tips for readers for using these strategies in daily life: “Recall a time when you felt happy, fulfilled, or just pleased….Sense, smell, touch, feel, hear, and imagine that experience again.” At the core of her research is the understanding that, when it comes to love, one’s anxious “reptilian and mammalian brains” dominate; however, she asserts that one can resist one’s natural “fight or flight” response, create new perceptions, and reverse negative relationship dynamics. This meticulously researched but easy-to-follow work is pragmatic and never preachy, and although it’s aimed at those in long-term relationships, its advice will likely be effective for those who are currently in the dating world or simply looking to improve communication in platonic or familial relationships. The broad relevance of Giuffra’s work is due to its focus on self-love, on taking responsibility for emotional outbursts, and on addressing unrealistic expectations of oneself and others. By touching on such topics as attachment styles and birth order, she encourages readers to recognize and challenge limiting beliefs and patterns in their own lives.

An informative and useful guide to approaching emotional interactions in new ways.