Getting The Love You Want Book Summary By Harville Hendrix

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Getting The Love You Want (1988) is an invaluable book for anyone looking to make the most of a relationship.

It offers a comprehensive overview on how to build better relationships, featuring practical advice and step-by-step guidance.

It's filled with useful insights into how to address repressed childhood needs, become more compassionate individuals and open up to more positive communication in a relationship.

This book will truly help you get the kind of love you seek and deserve!

Getting The Love You Want Book

Book Name: Getting The Love You Want (A Guide for Couples)

Author(s): Harville Hendrix

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 18 Minutes

Categories: Sex & Relationships

Author Bio

Harville Hendrix is a world-renowned relationship counselor and the author of the bestselling books Receiving Love and Keeping the Love You Find.

With more than 30 years of experience in this field, he has become a popular guest on Oprah's show and has helped to introduce the Imago Relationship Therapy program to an international audience.

His expertise in the area of relationships has made him an admired figure in many circles, and his work continues to help countless individuals build happier partnerships with their loved ones.

How To Use Freudian Psychoanalysis To Preserve Love And Save Your Relationship


If you want to make your relationship thrive, the key is to understand what makes your partner tick and how to meet their needs.

With this in mind, it’s important to get inside your partner’s head so that you can become a better emotional fit for each other.

The love lessons from Getting The Love You Want suggest using psychoanalytic ideas to better comprehend how your partner works.

This includes examining areas such as determining similarities between with your parents or exploring why certain habits can drive them (and you!) crazy at times.

In addition, it’s important to remember that relationships require effort – going beyond just giving flowers now and then.

By learning how to “get inside the head” of your significant other and meeting their emotional needs, couples will be able to build strong trusting relationships without losing sight of passion and pleasure.

Taking this approach helps increase trust, understanding, openness and overall communication satisfaction in a relationship – setting the path for a lifetime of loving bliss together!

The Unconscious Need For Recreate Our Childhood Environment

Your choice of life partner is heavily influenced by your deep-seated childhood desires.

It’s deep in our subconscious – we don’t even know why or how, but it’s there.

We often end up with partners who are similar to our parents, whether that means their physical characteristics or the way they interact with us.

It’s like an unconscious re-creation of what we feel we missed out on in childhood.

At the beginning of relationships people tend to treat each other like babies, playing up physical attributes such as skin or ears.

We even call each other pet names related to childhood items!

Sigmund Freud went further and suggested that adults cry babies still pining for parental love.

This Imago figure influences us when we choose partners, as those figures resemble our parents and can meet all of our needs better than anyone else.

But Opposites Attract too!

People also have a hidden desire for opposites, as they can help regain traits they felt they were missing during adulthood.

Couples may be polar opposites in terms of temperament and lifestyle choices, yet these types of relationships can still work well because both partners are yearning for that sense of wholeness that comes with having someone do the ‘opposite’ role in their lives.

The Imago Caretaker: How Unconscious Childhood Traits Can Affect Our Choices Of Partner

It’s a common phenomenon; partners start to notice traits in one another that they had previously overlooked, and after only a few months of being together, couples can find themselves arguing over little things.

This can be due to the fact that our partners often share similarities with one or both of our parents.

Take Kathryn and Bernard for example.

In their therapy sessions, it was revealed that Kathryn’s father experienced long spells of silence and depression – something her partner Bernard shared with him.

Though Kathryn had been unconsciously attracted to this trait of his at first, as time went on, she became frustrated over his moments of quietness – leading them to fall out of love.

This same pattern can be seen in John’s relationship with Cheryl.

Growing up, John was taught by his mother to repress his anger – yet it was precisely Cheryl’s stormy temper that drew him in.

Initially he felt connected to emotions he had suppressed while growing up, but eventually these outbursts caused him confusion and anxiety as they echoed his mother’s demands which made him resentful towards Cheryl and therefore fall out of love with her.

So if you’re starting a new relationship, it pays off to remain aware of your partner’s character traits that may reminded you of your parent(s).

It might sound cliche but the saying “history repeats itself” could definitely hold true in such cases – so take note!

Making An Commitment And Blocking The Escape Route: How To Strengthen A Relationship In An Era Of High Divorce Rates


People are often unconsciously looking for ways out of relationships, even when they don’t realize it.

Whether it’s taking up a hobby or socializing with friends instead of spending quality time together, these activities can be a sign of one partner wanting to avoid the other.

The Imago therapy program proposed by the author helps counteract this tendency by encouraging couples to block their exit routes and dedicate 12 weeks of meaningful communication against each other.

This program is designed to help couples strengthen their bond and become more connected.

It is thought that this behavior may be due to our subconscious seeing our partners as mortal enemies if they don’t live up to our expectations.

According to Freudian psychoanalysis, this feeling is linked in part with the limbic system – an ancient portion of the brain responsible for activating our fight-or-flight instinct.

As such, any pain even on an emotional level will be viewed as a sign of impending death in evolutionary terms.

So it’s no surprise that we often resort to finding ways out when faced with difficult relationships without really understanding why!

The Power Of Unconditional Gifts: Showing Your Partner You Care Through Personalized Gestures

Gift giving has the power to significantly improve relationships between partners, because, on an unconscious level, both members of the partnership expect it.

It’s not enough to just do something out of duty or guilt for a minor misstep; little acts of love and kindness should address each partner’s individual needs and desires.

According to psychologist Richard Stuart’s book Helping Couples Change, giving tailored gifts can be beneficial in improving our relationships.

His Caring Days program asks couples to list all things they wish their partner would do for them; this is then exchanged so that wishes can be granted by the other person.

It’s interesting that even if a gift is done purely out of obligation, the otherperson still feels appreciated and loved as a result of the gesture – it’s like showing someone you care without any strings attached.

Whether you truly care or are going through the motions doesn’t matter at all!

By fulfilling one another’s expectations, gift-giving shows genuine caring that strengthens relationships.

3 Simple Steps To Improve Communication In A Relationship: Mirroring, Validating, And Empathizing

Getting the Love You Want: A Summary encourages couples to explore a three-step approach for non-judgmental listening.

The first step is mirroring, and it involves restating the other person’s problem in their own terms.

This reinforces with the other person that you have heard them correctly and confirms your understanding of their point of view.

The second step is validation and this includes acknowledging both how they feel and understanding why they feel that way.

This helps to create a sense of being heard and respected, which can diffuse any arguments.

The third and final step is empathy which requires going beyond just identifying feelings but actually recognizing and relating to those feelings.

For example, if one partner begins expressing strong emotions, instead of withdrawing from the anger or sadness being expressed, responding with compassion and understanding can help to dissipate the emotion intensity..

By taking this approach relationships can become more open and conducive to real solutions that satisfy both parties

Using Container Transactions To Help Partners Express Anger Safely

Express Anger

When you are in a relationship, it is inevitable that there will be moments of anger.

But when that anger turns to rage, it causes hurt and harm not just to your partner but also to the relationship between you both.

That’s why it’s important to find ways of expressing those feelings without causing any more damage.

That’s where container transactions come in handy.

Container transactions involve listening techniques like mirroring, validating and empathizing which allow your partner to express their anger in a controlled environment.

For instance, if someone complains or expresses angry emotions, instead of fighting back, you can use an empathetic approach which helps tame the intensity of the rage.

Another way of managing your anger is core-scene therapy which works by rewriting scenes from conversations or arguments.

Jack and Deborah found themselves getting caught up in an endless cycle of arguments so they used core-scene therapy to rewrite the argument by treating it like a scene from a play.

This helped them remain calm and express their feelings without attaching too much emotion to it.

By allowing one another to experience catharsis and taking turns being each other’s therapists (one person trying to understand while the other releases), container transactions can help couples express anger far more harmlessly than they would have been able to otherwise.

Achieving True Love In A Relationship Means Overcoming The Fear Of Change And Shedding Egoistic Behaviors

We all want to be loved, and sometimes we’re willing to change our personality in order to make our partner happy.

However, it’s not about becoming a totally different person for the sake of your partner – it’s about being willing to make changes in order to show how much you care for them.

Making small changes like being tidier or more emotionally supportive is an expression of love and caring for your partner, as these small efforts can help fulfill their childhood needs.

Not only will this create more love and understanding within the relationship, but it can also help you grow as a person by shedding egotistical behaviors.

The idea here isn’t that you have to completely kill off your ego – it’s just that being open to change can help you assess and address any egocentric tendencies that may be standing in the way of your growth.

Change can be difficult because it could feel like you’re losing part of yourself, however rest assured that any shift in personality is really just a change in perspective; it’s not a real death or loss – simply the death of your ego so you can develop compassion toward others, including your partner.

Wrap Up

The final takeaway of Getting The Love You Want is that we are all children seeking to heal old wounds.

We can do this by redesigning our relationships, turning a flagging romance into a marriage built on growth and fulfillment.

On top of that, we should question our ‘alone’ time and strive for regular activities together in order to keep our love for each other strong.

This book has provided us with actionable advice that we can use in everyday life and also makes it clear that universal brotherly love is important, and that we should use this as a tool when healing each other’s wounds.

Overall, by following the wisdom provided in this book, you can begin to create a loving relationship accordingly tailored to your needs.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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