Book Club: Hold Me Tight, Final Section, Part 2

We have been reading the book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Want to go back to the beginning of the series? Just click here.

We have made it to the end of Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson. It’s been a great journey, and I hope you got as much out of it as we did here at Crescent. This final chapter is called Ultimate Connection – Love as the Final Frontier. In this chapter. Dr. Sue Johnson discusses the “culture of separateness” that is beginning to form in our society.

She discusses the importance of bonding with others – we recognize that attachment is crucial for a child to develop properly, but seem to think the same isn’t true for adults. However, it most certainly is!

Overall, this chapter is short but powerful. Dr. Sue Johnson discusses some of the important lessons she’s learned from working with couples in all situations and from all walks of life, everything from “Our need for others to come close when we call – to offer us safe haven – is absolute” to “There is no perfect performance in love or sex. Obsession with performance is a dead end. It is emotional presence that matters.”

The chapter concludes with discussing a few ways that love manifests in our culture outside of purely romantic love – specifically, familial love and the impact it has on our society as a whole. She discusses how love can manifest itself through compassion to others, perhaps in the form of donation to victims of tragedy around the world, or perhaps simply reaching for a connection with a stranger.

Overall, this is a lovely way to conclude this book. We hope you enjoyed this book club – keep an eye out for our next book club series, coming soon!

 

Book Club: Hold Me Tight, Final Section, Part 1

We have been reading the book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Want to go back to the beginning of the series? Just click here.

We’re coming to the end of Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson! It’s been a great read, with tons of tips and tricks for having tough relationships and working through problems – and the final section is no different! It’s so full of great content, we decided to tackle it in 2 parts, which is how it’s divided in the book as well.

The first section is called Healing Traumatic Wounds – The Power of Love. This is a very powerful section. It discusses how the conversations throughout the book apply when one or both partners have been through a very traumatic experience. Though many of the conversations are applied similarly, seeing them discussed in context of one partner experiencing a trauma is very useful.

Dr. Sue Johnson states that “trauma is always a couples issue” – when one partner has trauma in their past, it almost always impacts the other partner in one way or another. The best thing to do is for the partner who experienced trauma to be open and honest about what they experienced, and how it’s currently impacting their lives. She mentioned that this is the opposite of how many people handle trauma – they prefer to keep it buried inside and not burden their partner. However, she cites a few studies showing that a willingness to discuss what the traumatized person is dealing with tends to lead to both stronger relationships and a stronger mental state for the traumatized.

The chapter is filled with scenarios and examples of couples facing all sorts of trauma, from assault to working in a dangerous job. We would definitely recommend taking a look if you or your partner has been through trauma, even if it doesn’t seem like it’s impacting your relationship now. It’s always worth having these coping skills in your back pocket!

Next week, we’ll be discussing part two of the final section of Hold Me Tight: The Power of Hold Me Tight. Stay tuned!

Book Club: Hold Me Tight, Seventh Conversation

Over the next few weeks, we will be reading the book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Want to go back to the beginning of the series? Just click here.

So far, Hold Me Tight has been full of tips and instructions on how to handle conflict in the moment or right after. However, you may have had one burning question throughout – how do we keep ourselves from slipping back into these toxic routines? Never fear, Conversation 7 tackles this question thoroughly!

As Dr. Sue Johnson puts it: “Love is like a language, if you speak it, it flows more easily.” The best way to ensure that you and your partner don’t slip into your previous worrisome behaviors is to consciously practice love. Conversation 7 provides many examples on the best way to do this, but we’ll just go over a couple in this post. Make sure to grab the book if you want to learn more!

One of the first ways to keep your love alive suggested in this chapter is to create routines. This one is near and dear to us here at Crescent – many of the suggested routines involve coming up with consistent date nights, maybe once a week or maybe once a month. Need some ideas? Let us help!

Of course, not all your routines should be larger date night activities – you should try to blend in some smaller, daily or weekly activities – perhaps something like always having a glass of wine together after the kids go to bed, or making sure to text each other throughout the day – about things other than chores and children!

Another thing that Dr. Sue Johnson recommends is avoiding danger points – issues in a relationship that may trigger your demon dialogues. If you sense a sensitive spot beginning to form in your communication, call it out and discuss it in the open. Don’t let it fester, because soon you’ll find yourself slipping back into undesirable bad habits.

The last tip we’ll discuss today is creating a Future Love Story. It starts by thinking about where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, perhaps in your career or personal goals. Once you’ve decided on that, discuss your dreams with your partner. Let them know where they fit in, and how they can help you achieve your goals. Once both of you have shared, you’re ready to craft and stick to a plan for how to back your goals come true – the perfect way to make sure you continue to work together as a team!

Next week, we’ll be discussing part one of the final section of Hold Me Tight: The Power of Hold Me Tight. Stay tuned!

Book Club: Hold Me Tight, Sixth Conversation

Over the next few weeks, we will be reading the book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Want to go back to the beginning of the series? Just click here.

 

This week, we’ll be discussing the sixth conversation Dr. Sue Johnson discusse – Bonding Through Sex and Touch. This chapter starts off with some things that may seem fairly obvious – many couples going through a difficult time in their relationship also have a less-than-satisfying sex life. Dr. Johnson is quick to remind readers that this is rarely the root cause of any relationship issues – it’s often just a canary in a coal mine, a symptom of relationship distress.

It’s not hard to understand why it works that way – when we feel less-than-secure in our relationships, it can be hard to be intimate, both emotionally and physically. Dr. Sue Johnson discusses the need for both in a healthy bedroom relationship.

Three main types of sex are described in this chapter. The first is sealed-off sex – all physical, no emotional. Think James Bond. The second is solace sex – sex initiated with the purpose of seeking reassurance from our partner. Often, the cuddling afterwards is more important than the actual sex. The third is synchrony sex – sex where emotional openness and physical experience come together. This is the kind all couples should strive for, but it can be difficult when there are other issues in the relationship.

Even when the issues are on their way to being resolved, it can be hard to get back on track. Dr. Sue Johnson describes a few conversation starters and questions for us to ask ourselves and discuss with our partners to help – things like “If you wrote out a brief guide for the Lover of _____ and inserted your name, what would you put in it?” We definitely recommend grabbing this book for more tips if this is something you’re struggling with in your relationship!

Next week, we’ll be digging into the seventh and final conversation Dr. Sue Johnson discusses: Hold Me Tight – Keeping Your Love Alive.

Book Club: Hold Me Tight, Fifth Conversation

Over the next few weeks, we will be reading the book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Want to go back to the beginning of the series? Just click here.

The fifth conversation in Hold Me Tight that Dr. Sue Johnson discusses focuses on Forgiving Injuries. The chapter begins by going into detail about relationship traumas – moments in a relationship where a lot of damage happened. They may not be big moments, but they do have a big fallout.

The chapter spends some time explaining what kind of damage may have occurred – sometimes, it’s a scenario where a partner feels betrayed – for instance, the revealing of a lie their partner told. However, oftentimes, the injured partner feels something closer to abandonment – for instance, perhaps they got some bad news and their partner told them to get over it or simply ignored their distress.

These conversations can have long-lasting effects, and be the catalyst for the demon dialogues the couple is experiencing. If a moment like this has occurred in a relationship, it can be a roadblock for making progress in the overall health of the partnership – the injured partner will revisit the problem, consciously or subconsciously, and re-trigger the emotions they felt at the time.

Dr. Sue Johnson outlines 6 steps for identifying and overcoming these issues. They can be very painful, and she mentions that couples struggling with the first three conversation will likely not be able to tackle this one. The steps include the injured partner speaking to their pain, the injuring partner staying emotionally present and acknowledging the pain and the couples developing a new story together on how to deal with similar scenarios in the future, Overall, a very comprehensive, yet emotionally challenging, guide.

The chapter also takes some time to go into things like defining forgiveness, as well as a few different kinds of unproductive apologies – both are definitely worth taking a look at!

Next week, we’ll be digging into the sixth conversation Dr. Sue Johnson discusses: Hold Me Tight – Bonding Through Sex and Touch.