10 years ago on a Saturday afternoon in late April, I settled into a window seat of an Irish bar, overlooking 2nd Ave in the East Village, with a Guinness in one hand, and the teal, hardcover book by Dr. Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, in the other.
My significant other (who is now my spouse) was meeting me there, and I arrived early so I could start devouring the book as soon as it was released.
How appropriate to be in a bar meeting my significant other, as Johnson opens the book discussing how she grew up in her father’s pub, always fascinated by love and the drama that frequently ensued around it.
I’m writing about the best selling book today in honor of its 10 year anniversary, which has sold around half a million copies and has been translated to 22 different languages.
My aim is to bring this book to your attention if you haven’t yet discovered it.
You’re interested in improving and deepening your relationship if you’re reading this post or are on this site. Awesome.
Stop reading this post and just get the book.
A lot of people respond to blog posts I write with many details about their lives and relationships, painting a hopeless picture and then saying, “what should I do?”
Blog posts can only go so far in facilitating transformation, so my answer more often than not is to go get some professional help.
Find a guide who can show you the path of what love is all about. The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy is a great place to start. (Emotionally Focused Therapy is what this book is based on.)
Yet perhaps you don’t need a therapist, or maybe you are not able to or open to seeing one.
This book is your answer.
The topic of your relationships deserves way more of your time than the 5 minutes you’ll devote reading a 600 or so word blog post, so invest in a few hundred pages of Hold Me Tight (you won’t regret it).
It maps out the ancient wired in system we tend to take for granted but all have as mammals, and how it serves us to not only keep us alive but enables us to flourish.
That wired in system is love.
Sue Johnson gives us a map about how and why it goes wrong with couples, and more importantly, what to do to get it right.
With a divorce rate in the U.S. still hovering around 50% and of those couples who remain married, not a ton happy, we still have work to do to spread awareness about this map, which is why I’m writing today.
Once you see and understand this map, the stuck places where you and your partner are missing the mark with each other will make more sense.
You’ll see yourself in the destructive patterns she illustrates, and you’ll understand what they’re all about (hint: not feeling important, valued or like you can rely upon your partner).
You’ll understand what you and your significant other are really fighting about when the most trivial of issues get you spinning (hint: it’s not about the laundry, who takes out the trash or the fact that they’re always late and it drives you bonkers. It’s about something way more significant).
More importantly, you’ll figure out how to convey to each other what really matters so those patterns will no longer take you both down.
When we all do this important work, we will have a better world as a result.
There will be more peace, increased joy, greater resiliency and improved performance and innovation across the board.
You’ll run on a cleaner fuel (called love) and will be a more powerful agent of change in your family and community and more effective in your work, and you’ll be healthier and live longer too (she shares loads of research that backs those claims up).
In the author’s words:
“Love has an immense ability to help heal the devastating wounds that life sometimes deals us. Love also enhances our sense of connection to the larger world. Loving responsiveness is the foundation of a truly compassionate, civilized society.”
(so good I made a meme)
I am the therapist, coach, partner and parent I am today (and of course there’s room for growth in all of the above categories) largely because of what I’ve learned from Sue Johnson and the body of cutting edge research she shares in Hold Me Tight.
It’s flipped my orientation to the world, and has transformed countless relationships for the better, and will also change yours if you allow it to.
Grab your copy now, or if you’ve already read it, let me know in the comments how this book and/or this work has changed your life, and share it with someone you care about today.
Here’s to reaching a tipping point together, so the ancient wisdom and modern science is widely accepted as the Truth that it is, and no longer neglected or taken for granted.
Here’s to love,