His rules for handling conflict in marriage rank among Tony Garascia’s most valuable “lessons” in “The Honeymoon Habit.” One rule states, “Treat the other with respect by the use of eye contact, calm voice tone, nonthreatening body posture and by respectful speech.”
Among other rules, Garascia advises spouses to “listen to the other until you experience the other side,” to attempt only to “solve one thing at a time,” not bringing up “issues from the past” and to “be as specific as possible in what you mean and want.”
Resolving marital problems creatively calls for “absolute respect for the other person and a commitment to resolve arguments nonviolently,” Garascia writes. This, he says, “means avoiding the language of put-downs, sarcasm, criticism and the many other ways we hit below the belt.” Furthermore, “it means a true sharing of power between the two spouses” in which “there is an acknowledgment that neither one wishes to overpower or control the other.”
Garascia is clinical director of the Samaritan Counseling Center in South Bend, Ind. The intent of his self-published book is to help married couples “continue the conversation” about their relationship that started during courtship.
Readers will find guidance here on many key demands of married life such as effective communication, the clarification of expectations and basic values, keeping intimacy alive and pursuing spirituality. This book suggests that a marriage benefits greatly from ongoing efforts to renew a couple’s relationship.
“In a marriage a couple is always cycling through a rhythm that has the following characteristics: pursuit, catch/bonding and rest/routine,” Garascia explains. He believes that “like life, marriage has its own rhythm, and if we pay attention to that rhythm we can ensure that we are engaged in a continual process of renewal.”