There are people who observe, people who write about change, people who do the change… in the world of therapy there is an author who has observed couples over the years and written about change, AND he has also lived that change with his own marriage and relationship with his father. Terrence Real is one of my relational heroes.
“I Don’t Want to Talk About It” is a ground breaking book about relationships, depression and how it shows up in men especially in covert ways, often overlooked. Such good stuff, stepping back to take in the American world view with the limits and repression of the patriarchy that has shaped our society for so many years. Splitting off certain qualities into more worthy (doing, accomplishments: masculine) and less worthy (being, relational: feminine) has diminished us all and led to some very dissatisfying and often destructive relationships over the years. He gives theory and action steps to develop and nourish exciting, vital relationships.
He encourages the women to speak up with savvy and respect, to go toe to toe for what they need and want in the relationship, which calls the man to be who he could ultimately be. Revolutionary steps for those of us raised to be loving by not speaking up/disagreeing with others. And equally revolutionary for those who feel safe behind their tv remotes and sports chatter to step out and engage from their heart. The following quote sums up this change from safely uninvolved to growing honesty and joy filled connection:
“In twenty years of practice, I have encountered many unfortunate women who, afraid to make reasonable demands on their depressed husbands, wound up, years later, being left anyway. Most wives do not fully contain the resentment that they rightfully feel. And even if they do, the relationship itself eventually loses vitality by virtue of the lack of honest engagement. Conversely, unless the patient has already decided to leave his family, I have rarely encountered a man who was willing to set foot in my office but unwilling,with coaching and help, to pick up the challenge of increased relational skill.” “I Don’t Want to Talk About It”, pg 318