Finding the love you want

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples: Third Edition

Author: Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D.


Available in Digital Audio!

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About This Book

The New York Times bestselling guide to transforming an intimate relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship, now fully revised with a new forward and a brand new...

Book Details

The New York Times bestselling guide to transforming an intimate relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship, now fully revised with a new forward and a brand new chapter.

Getting the Love You Want has helped millions of people experience more satisfying relationships and is recommended every day by professional therapists and happy couples around the world. Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt explain how to revive romance and remove negativity from daily interactions, to help you:

· Discover why you chose your mate
· Resolve the power struggle that prevents greater intimacy
· Learn to listen – really listen – to your partner
· Increase fun and laughter in your relationship
· Begin healing early childhood experiences by stretching into new behaviors
· Become passionate friends with your partner
· Achieve a common vision of your dream relationship

Become the most connected couple you know with this revolutionary guide, combining behavioral science, depth psychology, social learning theory, Gestalt therapy, and interpersonal neuroscience to help you and your partner recapture joy, enhance closeness, and experience the reward of a deeply fulfilling relationship.

Imprint Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin



In The News

"What a treasure this book is, full of the insight, wisdom, and empathy that enriches loving relationships, even those that may seem worn at the seams or beyond hope. Harville and Helen bring fresh ideas, kind hearts, and deep humanity to everything and everyone they encounter." —Diane Ackerman, author of A Natural History of Love and other books

“This new edition of Getting the Love You Want, after an amazing 4 million readers, Helen and Harville show how to create safety with an interactional structure that allows two lovers to turn escalating conflicts into a win-win dialogue that is enriched by partners’ differences. Readers will benefit from the new wisdom of these two pioneers in understanding relationships.” Julie Schwartz Gottman & John Gottman, author of The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work

"In this 30th anniversary edition of the their timeless classic, Getting the Love you Want, Helen Hunt and Harville Hendrix have teamed up to provide couples with a time tested strategy to improve their relationships. By combining Imago Therapy with a new scientific understanding of how brain and behaviors change, Getting the Love You Want will help couples untangle the deep and confusing mysteries of love and connection and help them harvest the joy and healing power present in healthy, mutual, intimate relationships. " Amy Banks, M.D., senior scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College and author of Wired to Connect: The Surprising Link Between Brain Science and Strong, Healthy Relationships

Getting the Love You Want is one of the most important relationship books of all time. It is a classic. Harville and Helen's insight that we are attracted to mates that are similar to our caregivers is one of the most important revelations in the field of relationship psychology. Millions have benefited from this book, and so will you.” —Doug Abrams, coauthor of The Book of Joy, and Rachel Abrams M.D., author of BodyWise

Getting the Love You Want is an awesome book. Relationships are the key to life, and this book is a key to getting it right. This book has stood the test of time to be one of the best, and the updates are timely and relevant. We are total fans of Harville and Helen, and love this book. ” —Scott & Theresa Beck, cofounders of Gloo, LLC

“Where would we be without Getting the Love You Want? This articulate, wisdom-drenched, and profoundly knowledgeable book has given us tangible relational support when we’ve needed it most. More than just advice, this soulful and practical handbook has helped us build a foundational template for our marriage. We are forever grateful to Helen and Harville for sharing what is certainly among the greatest contributions to relational healing and harmony. Now, more than ever, its pages offer guidance, vision, rituals, insights, and illumination for cultivating and maintaining a healthy and vibrant partnership.” —Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Alanis Morissette & rapper Souleye

“This superb updated revision of Getting the Love You Want will inspire you to create deeper, more loving connection. The exercises alone are powerful reminders of how to love more elegantly. ” —Ellyn Bader, Ph.D, founder of The Couples Institute and creator of the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy

"Helen LaKelly Hunt and Harville Hendrix have done it again! Their powerful approach to bringing love alive in a couple's relationship through the creation of safety, trust, and connection enables us to let go of the common images of what we've longed for in our past to become fully present for our partner right now. Science affirms what these two pioneers in loving relationships have taught for decades: by taking practical steps to increase our self-understanding and cultivate clear communication, we can achieve the kind of intimacy and connection we've often longed for. By teaching us how to create safe conversations that open us to the true person in front of our eyes, we are literally able to get the love we want—and then some! Take in these time-tested practical steps to love and enjoy the freedom and closeness you deserve." —Daniel J. Siegel, M. D., Mindsight Institute, New York Times-bestselling author of Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence

"Harville and Helen have been a force in the world of relationships for decades, and their work has inspired so many. Imago theory and therapy help set a foundation for couples to know themselves, and each other, in ways that will serve them for a lifetime.” —Scott Kriens, cofounder of 1440 Multiversity

“If you were to read one book one book that would change the way you relate to the most important people in your life, this is that book. When published in 1988, Getting the Love You Want was the first to stress the importance of loving partnership for emotional wellbeing. The messages in it are still most important for anyone, male or female, gay or straight, who want to be in a healthy, happy relationship.” —Marion Solomon, PhD, coauthor of Love and War in Intimate Relationships: Connection, Disconnection, and Mutual Regulation in Couple Therapy

“Learn: how the imprints of the past unconsciously eclipse the present. Learn: how safety is fundamental to illuminating relationships. Learn: to practice conscious partnership to brighten your future together. The goal of living is enriching connection. There are no better relationship experts from which to learn than Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt.” —Jeffrey K. Zeig, Ph.D, the Milton H. Erickson Foundation

“The world has changed drastically since the first edition of Getting the Love You Want thirty years ago, and so have many of the dynamics we see between partners. Fortunately, our knowledge about how to help couples improve their relationships has expanded alongside these changes. Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKellyHunt have kept pace with the times. Their new edition provides guidance for couples who are ‘doubly challenged’—both from childhood wounding and also from the cultural reward system in which they operate. At the same time, readers still receive all the many effective exercises from the last edition.—Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, developer of A Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy® (PACT) and founder the PACT Institute

About the Creators


Available in Digital Audio!

Trade Paperbacke-BookDigital AudioFormat

Getting The Love You Want

All relationships face hurdles, but great couples work through them. See how this book helped my relationship, plus watch our video series on the subject.

Anniversaries! Valentines Day! Family holidays! These are such wonderful times of love, togetherness, infatuation, and fulfillment!

Except when they aren’t. Except when you and your partner are struggling, quarreling, giving the silent treatment, and getting frustrated. And you’re wondering, What on earth did I get myself into? Did I choose the right partner? Will this relationship work?

Even the best of relationships go through challenges

I can guarantee that every couple that you admire has faced their share of struggles. But here’s the thing: The great couples work through them.

And here’s the other thing: Doing the work blesses both of you; the trial by fire forges your relationship into something stronger and more enduring.

Getting the Love You Want

One of the few truly life-changing self help and relationship books I’ve read is called Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix. Hendrix offers solid academic background, years of clinical practice, and plenty of his own failures and successes in relationships. The premise of the book (and his school of therapy called IMAGO) is that we select partners, usually unconsciously, who force us to grow in the way we need most.

Sounds lovely, but it’s usually pretty painful.

Mike and I had our struggles

In our relationship, I tend to be the co-dependent, people pleaser. Mike, on the other hand, tends to be detached and aloof. He chose me, per IMAGO, in order to grow and become more present and sacrificing. I chose him to learn to detach, look at things more objectively, and not waste so much energy trying to please everyone else.

That’s an overarching example of our conflict, but there were all sorts of specific sticking points that brought us a lot of pain and frustration in the early phase of our relationship. But, with the help of Hendrix’s book, and later an IMAGO relationship therapist, we worked through them. And, while we are still very much a work-in-progress, we are in a good place.

Want more? Check out the series we did!

A couple years ago, Mike and I created an eight-part video and blog series that covers the key points of Getting the Love You Want – as well as specific examples of the struggles and victories from our relationship. If you’re interested, here are links to all eight parts.

Part 1: External vs. Internal Quest


Many people view relationships as an external quest… The main focus is on the other person. “If I can just find Mrs. RIght.” “If only he could see the real me.” “If only she loved me the way I need to be love. ” “Then I’ll finally be happy.” Little do we know that the key to a happy relationship is to realize that it is an internal quest. Click to read more.

Part 2: The Imago Match


You hear it time and time again… “You’re acting just like my mother!” “I don’t need two fathers, thank you very much!” “I feel so alone in this marriage… like I did when I was a child.”

It’s a little bit freaky, but most people are attracted to mates who have their caregiver’s positive and negative traits. Click to see why.

Part 3: The Power Struggle


You’re wild about each other. Totally in love. Can’t wait to build a life together. So you decide to commit and… all hell breaks loose. This is the power struggle You’ve spent your whole courtship imagining, consciously or unconsciously, how your partner’s going to complete you, and now you want the fantasy to become reality.

Thing is, we don’t enter into a relationship looking to help or heal our partner. We get into it to fulfill ourselves. Click to see how to flip that equation.

Part 4: Closing Your Exits


Exits. We’ve all got them. These are activities we engage in to avoid intimacy with our partners. There are “hard” exits like divorce or insanity, and “soft” exits like overeating or watching too much T.V.

Why would we avoid intimacy with our partners? According to Harville Hendrix, it ties back to childhood, where we didn’t get all of our needs met, and we learned dysfunctional ways to avoid recreating this pain. Click to view this post.

Part 5: Create A Relationship Vision


Without a shared vision, a relationship will perish. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, why not create a relationship vision with your partner? Mike and I did this based on Harville Hendrix’s Getting the Love You Want and it was a huge blessing in our lives! When we wrote it, some of the statements were aspirational, and not our present reality. What’s amazing is that, today, not only did our vision come true, it’s something we still use as a tool when we get off course. Click to read our relationship vision.

Part 6: Re-Romanticize Your Partnership


Remember those early days of your courtship when we professed our love freely and did wonderful, thoughtful things for each other? But then, as time passes, we slowly stop doing those wonderful things and we grow complacent. We can even take each other’s love for granted.

It’s time to regain that loving feeling. Click to see how.

Part 7: The Couple’s Dialogue


“It’s all your fault!” “You’re always such a slob!” “Why don’t you ever listen to me?” In our weaker moments, this is how we can talk to our loved ones in the heat of an argument. But there’s a better way. It takes some time and patience to get the hang of, but it’s a wonderful tool for effective communication.

Click to see how to do the Couple’s Dialogue.

Part 8: Reap The Rewards


Champagne wishes and caviar dreams, mamas! This was a pretty heavy series, so we wanted to dedicate this final video to something joyful. The fruits of a conscious marriage It’s like all those fantasies you had when you first met your partner come true. Only this time it’s based on reality.

Click to hear about the fruits of a conscious marriage.

Do any of these concepts sound familiar?

What kinds of struggles have you experienced in your relationships? What books or resources helped you work through them? Share with us in the comments below!

6 solutions and 1 answer

Love ideas / Ideas for Relationships

Love is that wonderful feeling that spiritually enriches us and makes us happy. But in search of our chosen one or chosen one, we are most often too prudent and make many mistakes, which, in the end, only brings disappointment. Therefore, now we will go in search of the best way to find true love!

How do you imagine your ideal partner? People usually see next to them either a very similar person, or a complete opposite that could complement them. In any case, such a person someday meets all of us, and we begin to think that this is a unique chance, which should not be missed in any case! And here the strangest thing begins. At the initial stage of acquaintance, we try to present ourselves only in the best light for our potential partner and strive to show only our positive sides. Thus, in search of love, we often deliberately deceive ourselves and our future chosen one. But how effective is this approach? nine0003

In my personal experience, finding your soul mate requires a different, much more spiritual attitude. And here are the six only correct steps that will allow anyone to find their love!

1. Stop looking for your soul mate and find the missing parts of yourself

This advice may seem counterintuitive, but that's how I met my husband. At some point in my life, I stopped and took a closer look at myself. Behind me were two years of failed relationships with the person I thought was "that one." And our breakup became quite painful and difficult. After these events, I decided not to dwell on the search for a new young man, but to turn my attention inward in order to get to know and accept myself better, to heal the wounds of the past, and also to develop new facets of my personality. nine0002 Previously, in order to feel whole and “full”, I had to be with someone, and in order to feel loved, I needed someone to love me. Each gap seemed to crush me into separate parts and deprive another piece of my heart. But this is the real addiction!

So I came to the conclusion that I need to learn to be whole. And when I started working on it, my life changed dramatically.

2. Live your life the way you want it

When I began to get to know myself more and do what I want, I began to live a life that became incredibly meaningful and interesting for me. I stopped following other people's rules and ideas about what I should do. Such behavior may disappoint those around you, especially your loved ones, such as family members. But if you want to live a happy life, you must choose your own path!

And if you do that, you'll start going to those places, going to those jobs, and surrounding yourself with people who are in line with your own path in life and with your personality. Thus, you will have a much better chance of meeting a soul mate, because she is waiting for you on your life path, and not on the one that others have chosen for you. nine0003

3. Stop trying to be attractive to an imaginary potential partner

A positive side effect of living the life you choose is that you automatically become more attractive to your soul mate. You become a more real, passionate, happy and harmonious person. It makes you more beautiful in the most natural and easy way that exists in this life. And this will also make you a particularly attractive person for your future soul mate. nine0002 You don't have to be a certain weight, have ideal body measurements, or wear uncomfortable shoes if you don't like it. Go to the gym only if you feel like it, do yoga only if you love it, go surfing or cycling only if you are attracted to such activities.

A partner with whom you can build a long-term and serious relationship will not judge you only by appearance. Therefore, do what you like, wear the clothes that suit you and that you feel comfortable in. nine0003

You will be much more attractive to your significant other if you are yourself when you meet her. Your beauty is in nature!

4. If you are attracted to certain qualities in someone, find or develop them in yourself

Do you know what kind of person you really are? It is unlikely, because in everyday life only a few of our qualities are manifested, which represent only the tip of the iceberg of our personality. All the rest are safely hidden somewhere in the depths of our souls. We buried them there either of our own free will, or our parents in the process of education forbade us to show them. nine0002 Evolution has always taken place in the animal world according to the same principle: everything unnecessary dies off, and everything necessary for survival develops. Thus, we all once in the past renounced some particles of ourselves, which at a certain moment have to be dug up.

When we do not yet realize that we already have confidence, activity or courage, for example (we just buried them somewhere deep inside and forgot about them), we begin to look for such relationships with other people that would make up for the loss these qualities. This is how we unconsciously try to make ourselves "complete" through the relationship. nine0003

Such love relationships are often referred to as "communication patterns". So, for example, a very responsible man can become a “powerful father” in relation to his partner, who is used to behaving like an “obedient daughter”, and a woman who is mature in terms of the wealth of her inner world can become a “caring mother” for an infantile man who, in In this case, he will act as a "son in need of guardianship. "

But in the process of development of relations, when tension and misunderstanding will arise more and more often, what was the connecting link in such models will become a negative factor, and partners will gradually begin to turn away from each other. nine0003

I am so grateful to have learned about connection patterns because understanding them not only helps relationships, but also acts as a guide to finding those parts of myself that I have lost touch with.

Binding patterns are inevitable. We all try to fill our own gaps with another person. And no matter how conscious we become, there is always something in our inner world that remains hidden from us. And in this case, communication models can be successfully used for self-improvement. nine0003

When you understand what attracts you in other people, you will find out what you once denied in yourself, and then you can work on cultivating these qualities and developing your love relationships. And you can not even doubt that after that your relationship will become much happier and richer.

5. Interact with life and accept its gifts without hesitation

One day my friend invited me to a party of one of his acquaintances, and at first I was not sure that I wanted to go there. nine0002 I was immediately tempted to decline this invitation and not go anywhere, because I did not know the organizer of the party personally, and it was scheduled for Sunday evening, and on Monday I had to go to work. But my friend didn't want to listen to any excuses, and I gave in and accepted the invitation, which seemed to come out of nowhere. And it was one of the most wonderful gifts my life has ever given me!

At a party I met my future husband, with whom we are raising three children and have lived together for twenty-five years of a happy family life. nine0003

Was I intentionally looking for someone when I went to a party? No. And so meeting the future spouse there was a pleasant surprise. If I had been intentionally looking for a partner, I probably wouldn't have even spoken to my husband that night.

When you look too critically at every person you encounter (as if they were interviewing for a job with a lifetime contract), it changes the natural flow of events and the formation of the inner bond that develops between you and other people. Such an approach on a subconscious level can be assessed by another person as a "trap", and this, most likely, will only repel all potential partners from you! nine0003

Stop intentionally seeking your love and interact with the people you meet with genuine interest. Then you can enjoy relationships that develop naturally, whether it be friendships, business relationships, or love relationships based on mutual interest.

6. Take your time, let the relationship develop naturally

When you meet someone with whom you feel a special connection, it is natural to assume that your relationship will only develop. And if both of you have a genuine interest in each other, then surely a happy continuation will not take long. nine0002 But there is no need to play games or try special methods of seduction on the other person. Successful and long-term relationships are not a game.

Answer the following questions honestly to yourself: Do you want to be in control of absolutely everything in your relationship? Do you really want your partner to be captivated by the image you created to show off your best side? Or do you want your partner to love the real you with all their heart? In what ways do you want to raise your children in the future? nine0003

Every link between two people is unique, and every person is unique in their own way, so your relationship will unfold in the most unique way. You can't plan them and put them into fads. You must join the process of forming your relationship together, and then decide together in which direction to go next. There is no single right path for the development of events, and you always have a huge choice of options for action. And what you choose will always depend on the result that you get in the end. So the moral here is: Don't rush things, don't try to do things "like others" and allow yourself to relax and enjoy the natural development of your love relationship. nine0003

All you need to do is live your life more fully and vividly, learn to accept and love yourself, and then you will be able to find your true love in the best and most natural way! Love and be loved!

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    Synonyms Arabic German English Spanish French Hebrew Italian Japanese Dutch Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Swedish Turkish Ukrainian Chinese Ukrainian

    These examples may contain rude words based on your search. nine0003

    These examples may contain colloquial words based on your search.

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