It is very common, in this era of self-help and pop-psychology, for authors to promise great and extravagant miracles from their books, books that turn out to be useless, filled with airy sentences and vacuous instructions. Dr. Aaron T. Beck is not one of those authors, and his book, Love is Never Enough, is not one of those books. Dr. Beck, considered to be the father of cognitive therapy, has applied his years of experience at the forefront of psychology into a well articulated book that, unlike many of it's contemporaries, can truly help people. Dr. Beck provides an expansive insight into couple's erroneous thought patterns that can lead to unnecessary, harmful and possibly devastating situations.
Love is Never Enough begins by addressing the primary issue head on, negative thinking. The book later goes on to discuss specific actions that couples may take to save or strengthen their relationship, but the core theme of how underlying thoughts influence the situation, never departs. Dr. Beck explains how these underlying thoughts do not merely nudge people one way or another, but that they have an impact on people so strong, that they frequently determine the outcome of a situation.
The essence of Beck's advice for couples is communication. Negative thinking can be most destructive when it comes in the form of negative assumptions. However, these can be promptly defeated through communication. Negative assumptions are typically incorrect, and if one voiced their assumptions to their partner, they could be immediately corrected. One of many examples that Dr. Beck offers, is an example from his own life.
While I am earnestly trying to explain my pet theory to my wife, she suddenly smiles. I wonder, 'Is she smiling because she likes what I said? Or is she mocking me? Or is she amused because she thinks my theory is naive?' (p. 20)
This situation has the potential to be destructive. If Beck was to assume that she was mocking him, he might lash out or become depressed, both of which would upset his wife, likely causing her to become angry at him. However, Beck was smart enough to not assume, and simply asked his wife why she was smiling. It turned out that Beck's theory had reminded her of something humorous and it was at that that she was smiling about. This is a perfect example, addressed in the very first chapter of the book, that is thematic of the entire work. Dr. Beck could have caused a lot of problems for no reason if he had...