1-Sentence-Summary: Hold Me Tight gives you advice on how to build and sustain a deeper connection with your spouse or partner by identifying the importance that every kind of emotion has in creating a lasting relationship and how to handle each of them maturely.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
If you had to rank the quality of your relationship with your significant other on a scale of 1 to 10, where would it be? We’d all hope for at least a 7 or an 8. But occasionally we get into relationships and situations within them that might make us think of a much lower number.
Establishing and maintaining a bond with your partner isn’t easy. You both have past traumas, endless challenges, and stresses that get in the way.
Is there hope, even if your connection seems to be hanging by a thread?
According to clinical psychologist and researcher Dr. Sue Johnson, there is. She’s helped many couples reconnect with her wildly successful Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT).
Now, she wants to teach you how it can help your relationship too.
That’s why she wrote Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. It will show you the exciting results of some couples who have been through EFT and give you tools to apply its principles to improve your own relationship.
3 of my favorite pieces of relationship advice from this book are:
- Blame is a common killer of healthy relationships, but you can beat it by becoming aware of the patterns you follow when feeling and expressing it.
- The “buttons” your partner pushes to get you angry come from past trauma, but emotional vulnerability will help you get through.
- Difficulties are inevitable and can make it hard to stay united with your spouse, but identifying the reasons a disconnect began will help.
Let’s get right to it and help you find out how to become closer to your partner!
Lesson 1: Notice the patterns you follow when you begin blaming your significant other to have a healthier relationship.
Do you remember the ice bucket challenge? While dumping ice water on your head and donating to charity is a nice thing, cold water on a marriage isn’t so nice.
But too often we fill buckets of blame and resentment toward our partners then dump them when the time seems right. Like water on the fire of a healthy relationship, this can put out the flame of love you once had for each other.
It might even start with something as little as fighting about minor household chores. You know it’s a problem when the argument spirals out of control into a yelling match.
The author had one therapy session with Pam and Jim that shows how this happens in real life. When Pam tried to compliment Jim and offer more support, he scoffed and turned away. This upset Pam who began blaming Jim for their difficulties.
Your relationship might experience similar occurrences when a tiny thing explodes, but you can learn to avoid them.
Start by looking back to what started the argument in the first place. Like Pam and Jim, you might notice the patterns you always follow in these situations.
Once you know how these fights usually go it’s a lot easier to see how to change. After Pam and Jim could see where their fight started, they stopped blaming each other and made up.
Lesson 2: Emotional vulnerability is the only way to defeat the fights that start when your partner pushes your buttons.
Have you ever said something to your spouse and out of nowhere they fly into a fit of rage? We judge these experiences harshly from our perspective because it seems so insignificant. But to them, it’s not.
That’s because each of us carries emotional baggage from past trauma. When others push the right buttons, it reminds us of the horrific experience and we go into fight or flight mode.
This is exactly what’s happening to your significant other when they explode at the seemingly tiniest thing.
The author once saw this in herself when she noticed her husband getting tired while they were talking.
After becoming furious at him, she realized that this little thing only reminded her of a past boyfriend that would fall asleep during important conversations.
Your secret weapon here, though, is understanding. It can come from both sides, too. From your side, you need to look for the experiences that get you frustrated in these moments.
Once you can see them clearly, you can open up emotionally to your partner. This gives them an understanding they previously didn’t have, which makes it much easier for them to take care of you through it.
Lesson 3: Look for the reasons a disconnect began when life challenges make it hard to stay united with each other.
My wife and I have a rule that unless absolutely necessary, we don’t discuss important topics at night. That’s because they usually result in a bigger argument that we wake up the next day thinking was stupid.
Sometimes, however, life’s challenges get in the way and make it difficult to connect well with each other. When a burden of sickness, mental illness, or the death of a loved one weigh us down, they also hinder our relationship.
An example of this from the author’s EFT work was with Claire and Peter. Everything was going well until Claire got hepatitis. She started to get frustrated with Peter, blaming him for not taking care of her and focusing too much on his work.
But when she asked for help, this only made Peter feel annoyed. But Claire wasn’t the only one with a burden, Peter had a big project going on at work.
The way out of these situations starts with recognizing the wedge between you and your partner and try to reconnect. To do that, look at when and how things started going bad. Ask yourselves, “what started this fight?”
For Claire and Peter, examining the origins of their frustrations with each other helped them see clearly enough to apologize, stop stonewalling and getting angry, and commit to breaking these bad habits.
Hold Me Tight Review
As a married man, I found Hold Me Tight to be super helpful. It made me realize the parts of my relationship with my wife that are emotionally healthy and how to improve the areas that aren’t doing as well. This will be a game-changer book for all couples if they will be open and honest with themselves about what they learn from it!
Who would I recommend the Hold Me Tight summary to?
The 22-year-old who just broke up with her boyfriend of three years, the 46-year-old couple that isn’t great at communicating, and anyone who constantly fights with their partner and wants to have a deeper and more peaceful relationship.