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Getting The Love You Want

A Guide for Couples

By Harville Hendrix
13-minute read
Audio available
Getting The Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix

Getting The Love You Want (1988) offers practical advice on how to save a failing relationship and build a stronger one. It highlights a unique therapy program that offers a step-by-step guide to helping partners address repressed childhood desires and become more compassionate individuals.

  • Couples looking to reboot a relationship
  • People curious about Freudian psychoanalysis

Harville Hendrix is a relationship counselor with more than 30 years of experience. He is a popular guest on Oprah, and his appearances on the show have helped him to introduce the Imago Relationship Therapy program to an international audience. He also wrote the bestselling books Receiving Love and Keeping the Love You Find.

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Getting The Love You Want

A Guide for Couples

By Harville Hendrix
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Getting The Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix
Synopsis

Getting The Love You Want (1988) offers practical advice on how to save a failing relationship and build a stronger one. It highlights a unique therapy program that offers a step-by-step guide to helping partners address repressed childhood desires and become more compassionate individuals.

Key idea 1 of 8

Your choice of life partner is influenced by your hidden childhood desires.

They say that people often end up with partners who are similar to their parents. Most of us, however, would vehemently deny this when it comes to our own relationships.

Yet this is what happens! Unconsciously, we’re all trying to recreate our childhood environment. Nowhere is this more evident than at the beginning of a relationship.

In these early days, people tend to treat each other like babies, admiring how soft a partner’s skin is or how cute a partner’s ears are. Think about the names lovers call each other: kitten, baby, teddy bear. All these items are related to things from childhood.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, went even further. He said that even as adults, we’re just crying babies pining after parental love.

So why do we pick partners according to the needs of our “inner child?” From a young age, we construct an image in our head of an ideal caregiver, known as an Imago figure.

The ideal caregiver often resembles our parents and meets our every need. And because we are unconsciously seeking a person who reminds us of that caregiver, the Imago figure influences us when we are selecting a partner.

However, there’s another desire that affects our choice of partner.

We are also attracted to opposites, because in doing so, we work to regain traits that we lost when we entered adulthood.

We all know couples who seemingly couldn’t be more different. One is loud, the other is quiet. One is hyper-organized while the other couldn’t be more scatterbrained.

The reason that such relationships work is that each partner longs for a sense of wholeness. As your personality develops and you leave your childhood behind, you also lose that sense of completeness.

The way to get it back is to have an “opposite” in your life.

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