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Reconcilable Differences

Second Edition
Rebuild Your Relationship by Rediscovering the Partner You Love—without Losing Yourself

Andrew Christensen, Brian D. Doss, and Neil S. Jacobson

Paperbacke-bookprint + e-book
January 21, 2014
ISBN 9781462502431
Price: $15.95 $11.96
348 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
January 20, 2014
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $15.95 $11.96
348 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $31.90 $17.54
348 Pages

Every couple has disagreements, but what happens when recurring conflicts start to pull your relationship apart? Do you lie awake hoping that your spouse will eventually see things your way, or rehashing the evidence that you're right? Demand some immediate changes—or else? This popular, science-based guide offers powerful solutions for couples frustrated by continual attempts to make each other change. True acceptance may seem difficult to accomplish, but the clear-cut steps and thought-provoking exercises in this book can make it a reality. You'll learn why you keep having the same fights again and again; how to keep small incompatibilities from causing big problems; what communication strategies really work to resolve conflicts; and how to problem-solve and make positive changes—together. Updated throughout with new research, practical tools, and examples, the second edition features a new chapter on mindfulness.

Mental health professionals: visit to learn about using this self-help guide as an adjunct to therapy.

“One virtue of the book is its utter realism....Offers a slew of tools that couples can use to reconcile their differences without the help of a therapist.”

The New York Times (on the first edition)

“Packed with data, wisdom, and common sense.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on the first edition)

“Gives several guides to building acceptance.”

USA Today (on the first edition)

“An excellent book with much to offer about a well researched and well thought out application for couple therapy.”

Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy (on the first edition)

“This deceptively simple book can change lives. You and your partner will learn numerous ways to accept each other and achieve a new level of happiness and comfort in your relationship. The genius of the book is that these techniques are not difficult, and they can help put an end to perpetual conflict.”

—Pepper Schwartz, PhD, coauthor of The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal about Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship

“No matter how many books you have read to improve your relationship, read this one, and follow the research-based principles it presents! The authors are internationally known scientists who have produced a book that all couples need to read. It's not the differences between you and your partner that matter, but how you handle them, and this book shows exactly how and why.”

—Howard J. Markman, PhD, coauthor of Fighting for Your Marriage

“There are lots of books for couples that make interesting reading, and some that provide specific, doable suggestions for improving your relationship, but just a handful—including this one—based on principles that have been scientifically shown to work. Any couple that wants to better understand and overcome problems in their relationship will find this book a great place to start.”

—W. Kim Halford, PhD, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia

Table of Contents

I. The Conflicting Sides of Conflict

1. Three Sides to Every Story

2. "You're Wrong!": Relationship Problems as Faults

II. A DEEP Understanding of Conflict: The Third Side of the Story

3. "How Can You Be That Way?": Relationship Problems as Differences

4. "You Know How to Hurt Me": Relationship Problems as Emotional Sensitivities

5. "Can't You See I'm Stressed Out?": Relationship Problems as External Circumstances

6. A Cure Worse Than the Disease: Relationship Problems as Patterns of Communication

III. From Argument to Acceptance

7. The Delicate Balance: Acceptance and Change

8. A Story of Our Own: Acceptance through Understanding

9. Walking in Your Partner's Shoes: Acceptance through Compassion

10. Getting Some Perspective on the Conflict: Acceptance through Tolerant Distance

IV. Deliberate Change through Acceptance

11. The Dilemmas of Deliberate Change

12. Deliberate Change through Mindfulness: Custom-Fitting Change to Suit Your Relationship

13. Deliberate Change through Communication: Taking Good Advice about Talking and Listening with a Mindful Grain of Salt

14. The Silver Bullet of Deliberate Change: Taking Charge of Change Even When Things Go Bad

V. When Acceptance Is Not Enough

15. "Don't Do That to Me!": Violence, Verbal Abuse, and Infidelity

16. Calling In the Professionals: Couple and Individual Therapy



About the Authors

Andrew Christensen, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Christensen has spent more than 30 years studying intimate relationships and working with couples in therapy. He has conducted extensive research on the impact of couple therapy, including the approach on which this book is based, which he developed with the late Neil S. Jacobson. Dr. Christensen and his wife, who live in Los Angeles, have two grown children.

Brian D. Doss, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami, where he teaches and conducts research on couple therapy and romantic relationships. Dr. Doss lives in Miami with his wife and two children.

Neil S. Jacobson, PhD, was Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington until his death in 1999. The author or editor of numerous publications, Dr. Jacobson was one of the world's most widely cited family therapists.


Interested general readers. Also of interest to mental health professionals, counselors, clergy, and students.

Course Use

May serve as required reading in undergraduate- or graduate-level courses.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 2000
ISBN: 9781572305090