The Pragmatist’s Guide To Relationships Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Pragmatist’s Guide To Relationships is an extensive, practical guide to finding a companion, be it for marriage, dating, or sex and building a healthy, happy life with them.

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You put a lot of effort into planning and preparing your career. It’s normal to put in 40, 50, or even 60 hours a week. You have big goals, and you know only hard work will get you there.

Why don’t you think the same way about your relationships? We know a great career takes hard work, but we expect our relationships to bloom naturally. Don’t worry. It’s an all too human mistake we all make from time to time. You’re not alone.

But the truth is that your relationships have a far greater impact on your happiness than anything else. Consider this: A single horse can pull 8,000 pounds, but when two horses work together, they can haul 24,000 pounds. That’s three times as much at just double the effort!

Just like having an intentional strategy helps you build a great career, thinking through how you approach partner acquisition and relationship structure can lead to the rewards of extraordinary relationships. This is what Simone and Malcolm Collins will help you with in The Pragmatist’s Guide To Relationships.

The Collins’ have started The Pragmatist Foundation to uplift people through this philosophy, and all of their books’ proceeds go to this charity. The Pragmatist’s Guide To Relationships is an extremely comprehensive manual to all components of relationships. It will help you find the people you want and need in your life, attract them, and keep them around.

In our 3 of countless useful and eye-opening lessons from this book, we’ll focus on finding a partner for life:

  1. There are 12 relationship lures you can use to find and keep a partner, which will directly affect the partners and relationships you’ll get.
  2. Marriage is a useful institution because it lets partners share each other’s mental load. 
  3. The greatest self-improvement tool is being married to someone who is dedicated to helping you become your ideal self.

Are you ready to take your relationship skills to the next level? Here we go!

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Lesson 1: Use the 6 efficient relationship lures to find a great partner.

According to the Collins’, a relationship lure is the value you offer a potential partner. It sets the stage for the short and long-term quality of the partnership, so it’s vital that you get it right.

Relationships lures work like fishing lures. If you want to have a specific kind of relationship, you’ve got to use a certain lure. When we make an excuse like “all guys are the same,” often, we’re just trying to attract someone the wrong way. If a fisherman thinks all fish have whiskers, he’ll only use bait designed to catch catfish – and catfish(ed) is all he’ll get.

The Collins’ describe 12 lures in total. The first six – dominance, niceness, sexual exploration, easiness, sneakiness, or a promise of love – are inefficient. They lead to unstable relationships. The last six work better in securing a good, lasting relationship:

  1. Pygmalion: Appeal to a person’s desire to improve themselves by identifying their potential and working with them to achieve it.
  2. Status: Show how you’ll elevate someone’s status through their being with you.
  3. Self-Identity: Highlight how a relationship with you reinforces your desired partner’s idealized vision of themselves.
  4. Friend With Benefits: Sometimes, being close friends can make the transition into a relationship easier.
  5. Long-Term Relationship: Openly explaining that you’re looking for a long-term relationship will appeal to those who want the same.
  6. Social Construct: Matchmaking is still a great way to meet someone. All parties are vetted through their friends, so there should be a decent amount of shared values!

These lures are not the end of a good relationship but the beginning. Use them wisely, and, once you’ve found someone, the real work begins!

Lesson 2: The beauty of a good marriage lies in sharing your mental load.

My wife never has to think about our finances, but she does help me with my work. I don’t have to worry about groceries, but I do help my wife plan meals. This is what the Collins’ call “cognitive integration.”

When you work together, you’ll be able to do more than double what one of you could do alone. This is like two horses being able to pull more than double the weight of just one horse.

The three levels of cognitive integration are:

  1. Separate
  2. Siloed
  3. Integrated

Cognitive separation is when people are simply roommates that share some income, have sex, and maybe even kids or pets. If you’re in a cognitively siloed relationship, you divide entire life domains, like finances or child-raising, between each other. A cognitively integrated couple, however, shares the various stages of the decision-making process across all domains of life.

This graphic will help you understand the difference between the latter two:

The Pragmatist's Guide To Relationships Summary

One is a tree with separate branches, stems, and sections of leaves, the other is more integrated, and that’s why it helps ease cognitive load even more!

Lesson 3: Find a partner that’ll unlock your potential and help them do the same.

People always say: “Never marry someone out of the expectation they will change.” There is some truth to it, but people always change, and there’s also an opportunity to help your partner become the best version of themselves – and vice versa! Imagine a good friend always pushing you to do your best.

We all want our friends to support us, but when it comes to supportive lovers, society isn’t as encouraging. As the Collins’ say:

“While you may or may not spend the rest of your life with the person you marry, you will have no choice but to spend the rest of your life as the person into whom your partner transforms you.”

That’s why you must look for a partner who will love you as you are while encouraging you to reach higher. Most often, the traits you already want to change will be the same ones your companion will want to help you improve, so this isn’t as hard as it sounds.

To train your partner in return, express both disappointment in their bad actions and pride in their good actions by praising them.

The Pragmatist’s Guide To Relationships Review

The Pragmatist’s Guide To Relationships is the most thorough book on relationships that I have ever come across. It challenged my thought patterns, helped me see the strengths and weaknesses of my own marriage, and gave me actionable advice to make strengthen my relationship with my wife. I highly recommend this book to everyone. All proceeds go to charity. Grab your copy today!

Who would I recommend The Pragmatist’s Guide To Relationships summary to?

The 21-year-old college student who is trying to figure out how to get a date, the 48-year-old married couple that wants to improve the weak spots in their relationship, and anyone who’s ever been in love.

Last Updated on October 12, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.