If you picked up this book because of difficulties in your own relationship, then your simple act indicates two important things about you. First, it signifies that you’re feeling some pain. I’m not talking about the obviously physical, just-cut-your-finger kind of pain. I’m talking about the kind of pain that hurts somewhere in your spirit. But even though your pain is spiritual, it can still be described in physical terms. If your relationship is in acute crisis, then the pain may feel sharp and piercing. Or if your frustration is chronic, then the pain may feel like a dull ache or perhaps an empty, hungry kind of sensation. Another possibility is a stifling, suffocating kind of feeling. You may associate it with your chest, your heart, the pit of your stomach, the back of your neck or even your head. But wherever you feel it, whether it’s subtle or intense, you’re still feeling some form of pain. You may also have the disturbing sense that your life wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. You started this marriage with dreams that you hoped your relationship would fulfill. You wanted love, respect, and a soul-mate with whom you could share life’s experiences. You not only wanted to be nurtured, but you wanted to be appreciated for being the loving person you always knew you could be. You wanted the opportunity to let your love unfold, and now you fear that the opportunity is passing you by.
The second thing indicated by your picking up this book is that you still harbor hope. Maybe it’s not a lot of hope. Perhaps it’s just the tiniest fraction of hope. However, it’s still hope. After all, this isn’t a book about divorce. And you’re probably also hoping that this book will offer you tools that are effective. You want this help to be practical because you’re concerned about results. You’re probably tired of skimming the plethora of self-help books that speak of the eight principles of this and the six rules of that and yet still leave you with unsettling questions of how to get from here to there. Questions like: “HOW can we work on emotional intimacy when all we do is fight?” or “HOW can we rebuild this relationship when all I ever get from my partner is the feeling that I’m never enough?!” You want practical interventions for these kinds of problems.