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A Note from a Villanova University Senior Thesis Group
on April 25, 2004
Amazon.com Review for Relationship Rescue
Author: Phillip C. McGraw
We are a group of five college seniors from Villanova University who have spent a semester researching and reviewing best selling self-help books on the subject of relationships. We evaluated five texts after reviewing academic literature specifically on the topics of: commitment, trust, conflict, verbal communication, & intimacy. In order to make you a more informed consumer, we hope to provide you with an educated insider view of Relationship Rescue by Dr Phillip C. McGraw.
McGraw's intent is to "rescue" relationships, and get partners to reconnect by first evaluating their individual selves. He challenges readers to address the truths about themselves, and get in touch with their core of consciousness. When the individual can recognize his or her inner strength, and eliminate "bad spirits," he or she has the power to lift the partner, and get the most out of the relationship. While there are partner exercises in the end, this book for the most part is geared toward the individual. McGraw provides a "7-step process for reconnecting with one's partner", which included a series of personal inventories, journal entries, and self-evaluation. By performing these activities, and engaging in a 14-day process of self-disclosure and relationship evaluation with one's partner, one will grow toward a better relationship.
In our evaluation of five major topics, we found the following in Relationship Rescue:
Commitment - In the chapter entitled, "Reconnecting with Your Partner," McGraw addresses the personal dedication component of commitment found in academic research. This basically says that commitment includes the individual's desire to improve the relationship. He also stressed the importance of physical activity in finding commitment.
Trust - While McGraw did not address trust directly, there are some connections to be made to ideas presented in academic research. It seems to be generally understood that the disposition of the individual greatly effects trust, and an overall personal deceptive nature will negatively affect the relationship. McGraw's goal is to get the individual to remove these negative feelings. Also, a great deal of the book revolves around self-disclosure, which is imperative to developing trust. However, this all depends on how the individual approaches the exercises in the book.
Conflict - In regards to this topic, McGraw touches on the idea that conflict is inevitable. We found this to be an overwhelming theme in research conducted on the topic. Conflict can be constructive if it is done properly, and partners remain in control. He gives rules for "fighting with your partner" which focused on the environment (physical and mental) that the disagreement is taking place in. He also focused on managing one's differences, because there are some that cannot be fixed, and therefore must be embraced.
Verbal Communication Skills- McGraw makes it clear that this is not a book that addresses communication theories. Therefore, it was not his intention to lay out specific communication skills. Instead, he focuses on inner attitudes. While a great deal of the exercises involve partner communication, McGraw does not address the verbal skills necessary for effective communication.
Intimacy - In this book, McGraw affirms the idea found in research that positive regard in the sense of acceptance and confirmation is necessary within a relationship. He also points out that the presence of affection does not make a difference in the relationship unless it is communicated to the partner. McGraw motivates the reader to do, and not just say what he or she feels to achieve intimacy. In regards to intimacy, the emphasis on self-disclosure throughout the book supported what we found in our research as well. In general, McGraw promotes individual behaviors that lead to love and increase intimacy.
Relationship Rescue is best for the topic of Intimacy.
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