I have already recommended Hendrix, along with Diamant’s book, for all couples with whom I will be working in preparation for marriage. At first I thought that most couples would have little interest in dealing with the “second chapter of relationship,” i.e. the working out of conflict. After all, they come to me in love and focused on the joy of celebrating life together. In fact, everyone has been accepting and welcoming of the process of better communication. After a couple of meetings, I expect that they have read most of the book and are ready to do a few of the exercises. They should be done in sequence and after both have read the book. Excercise six is called Unfinished Business. I suggest that they do this exercise together orally. It is a great beginning to writing Tennaim.
The no-exit exercise is important in offering security and commitment to each other. Sam and Barbara did this exercise and found that they both had ways of “hiding” that bothered them but since they both did it, neither wanted to bring it up. The exercise brought more of their fears about relationship into the open and they negtotiated ways of being available to each other, despite their busy lives, that reassured them that they made the relationship a priority.
I will use these exercises as awakeners and as bases for my meetings with couples to have tools for communication. It will begin with the three of us talking about them and then they can take the issues of how we bring our childhoods and unconscious coping tools into relationship and how we can become more conscious of what we, as adults, want, and how we can get them.