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Book Review | Us by Terrence Real

From the publisher: Not much is harder than figuring out how to love your partner in all their messy humanness—and there’s also not much that’s more important.

At a time when toxic individualism is rending our society at every level, bestselling author and renowned marriage counselor Terrence Real sees how it poisons intimate relationships in his therapy practice, where he works with couples on the brink of disaster. The good news: Warmer, closer, more passionate relationships are possible if you have the right tools. 

This is one of those books that I think everyone should read. Even though it’s designed to help those in romantic relationships, this book changed how I see all of my relationships. Real encourages readers to question the individual-centric culture that is prevalent in western society and reminds us that social connections, on multiple levels, have been necessary for a healthy society since the dawn of humanity. He encourages people to be more patient and empathetic with one another, asking the reader to ask themselves: how is what I’m about to say going to make the other person feel? Real also reminds readers that if the goal of arguing with their partner is to win the argument, both parties end up losing. Though it’s easy to say what one should do when not upset, Real provides sound advice by asking readers to take a deep breath and remind themselves that they love the person they are arguing with before hurling insults or attacking that person’s character.

Having worked with thousands of couples, Real provides clients’ stories as case studies to exemplify his points. Real proves to be a trustworthy source, as he is able to admit his own biases when working with clients. I listened to the audiobook, which is available through Libby. Real himself narrates the book. I always appreciate it when authors narrate their own books, because I think they know the most effective intonation and inflection to convey their message. Clocking in at 10 hours, this book was so easy to digest and flowed so smoothly that I listened to it in pretty much one sitting.

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