A soup-to-nuts primer on romance offers a simple, though not always easy, plan for success in dating and marriage.
Blum (The Tao of Your Psychotherapy Practice, 2011), a psychologist who counsels couples and singles, argues that relationships are among the supreme psychological boons that life provides. But they remain hampered by the difficulties people face in building intimacy and trust and overcoming childhood complexes that hobble adult bonds. He structures his advice using a series of food-preparation metaphors that mainly serve as memory devices for commonplace principles. (His “three spices” for productive dating turn out to be homespun injunctions about primping to make oneself attractive, getting out to socialize more, and being receptive to new people.) Blum grounds his presentation in psychological theory, delving into the insecurities that inhibit people from approaching others, the different and often mutually incomprehensible communication styles that impede the sexes from understanding each other, the evolutionary tactics that make them bring sometimes-incompatible goals to relationships, and the baffling antagonisms that can arise among seemingly attuned couples who are too similar to each other to make up for the personality deficits they share. He translates these ideas into practical strategies for resolving issues, with valuable tips on everything from repairing a relationship after an infidelity to rekindling lust to breaking out of routine arguments by rewriting the script or, in a pinch, dumping water over one’s head. Blum has a knack for grounding romantic idealism about love with pragmatic realism about how to achieve it, conveying his ideas in warm, straightforward, very readable prose—his “gold medal recipe for love” is nothing more complicated than “two people who are good to each other stay in love”—illustrated with intriguing case studies from his practice. Singles looking for love and couples wrestling with it will find much nourishing food for thought here.
A fine, insightful relationship self-helper filled with useful suggestions.