What if you could adapt one of the most successful methods of achievement for groups to your personal life? This month for Self-Care Sundays we’ll explore the after-action review (AAR) and how we can apply it to the different areas of our lives where we need to focus our self-care efforts.
Looking for one of the best books on relationships? After you read The Five Love Languages, read this one!
One of the Best Books on Relationships Will Help You Understand Yourself and the One Your Love
“Sometimes, Tim isn’t very nice to me,” my new neighbor in graduate school confessed as we sipped coffee in a local coffee shop.
“Oh,” I replied, not sure what else to say. She had been married for a few years, and her husband managed the apartment complex where I now lived as I attended graduate school. “I’m sorry.” I changed the subject.
Years later, I look back on that conversation with deep regret. My neighbor’s comment, one of many she threw out during our few interactions, painted a picture of a woman in an abusive relationship. She lived four or five doors down, so I never heard anything. But I did notice bruises on her arms and an occasional black eye.
As a naive twenty-year-old from a sheltered background, I had no idea married people hit each other, isolated each other from loved ones, or abused each other in any way. Admittedly, this happened back in the eighties, when people were just starting to talk about spousal abuse, child abuse, and incest.
For most of my life, I assumed everyone had about the same upbringing I did: lower-middle class, college-educated parents, churchgoing, private Christian education, and a two-parent home with little drama. In other words, sheltered and privileged. However, once I started teaching and got to know my students, I realized not everyone had the same background as I did. To understand them, I started reading books on relationships, counseling, and parenting. I regret reading and implementing some books on relationships and parenting—they didn’t serve me or my family well. But others have had a lasting, positive impact on my key relationships and how I interact with students. This book is one of the best.
By Anita Knight Kuhnley, Baker Books, January 23, 2024, 224 pages.
Do you know someone who always seems to be looking for love in all the wrong places? Or how about someone who acts like the Fort Knox of feelings and emotions? Maybe you’ve struggled to keep up with your people-pleasing habits and feel exhausted by the stress of making and keeping everyone happy.
Whatever the case, Dr. Anita Knight Kuhnley offers hope for you and the people you love. She believes knowing about attachment theory and understanding the four basic types of relationship styles will help us understand ourselves and the important people in our lives. Once we identify our relationship style, we can know how it affects others and consider ways to strengthen our strengths and shore up our weaknesses. It sounds like a win-win proposition!
Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages explains how we each have a hierarchy of how we feel loved (and prefer to love others). Dr. Kuhnley’s Four Relationship Styles explains our automatic responses to relationships with other people by explaining attachment theory.
Our earliest experiences with other humans (especially our primary caregivers) shape how we respond to relationships. A neglected child will react to future relationships (both platonic and romantic) differently than a child who grew up in a loving, stable home.
Dr. Kuhnley provides a self-testing activity based on research that helps readers identify their primary relationship style. Once we understand our style, we can work to change it. Knowledge is power.
If you feel like a relationship failure, Dr. Kuhnley offers hope. Maybe you struggle to understand a significant other in your life. With knowledge about relationship styles, you’ll know how to best support your loved one.
What I Loved About This Book
I’ve always loved Chapman’s Five Long Languages because they explained how I could grow and love others in the way THEY felt most loved. But I’ve always wondered why the love languages didn’t work with some people. Despite my best efforts to love them according to their love language, they never fully accepted the love. Now I understand why.
My favorite takeaway from the entire book is QTIP: Quit Take It Personally. All too often, we sabotage our relationships. We take things personally because we don’t understand how people’s relationship styles (especially for those who don’t understand relationship styles) drive their behavior. Their responses and reactions aren’t BECAUSE of us; they are just reactions based on instinct.
The author maintains an accessible, non-academic style most of the time, making this a valuable book for consumers, therapists, and counselors. The Christian author offers practical steps readers can take (journaling, bibliotherapy, therapy, and Bible stories and verses) to understand and change their relationship styles. The book avoids religious cliches, and I highly recommend it to my Christian and non-Christian friends.
As an educator who works with students, most of whom come from insecure families of origin, this book provides valuable insight into how I can support my students.