Aaron Beck is an American Psychiatrist and professor emeritus in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. In the field of psychology, Aaron Beck is known as one of the pioneers of cognitive therapy – you can call him the Father of Cognitive Psychology.
I’m reading Aaron Beck’s 1988 published book: “Love Is Never Enough – How couples can overcome misunderstandings, resolve conflicts, and solve relationship problems through cognitive therapy.” Here are my thoughts on it.
A Short Review of “Love Is Never Enough” by Aaron Beck
Aaron begins his book describing the Power of Negative Thinking. The way we think about people, situations, ourselves, so powerfully influences our moods and the way we interact with others. Throughout Chapter 1 he gives great examples identifying different “thinking trap” conversations we have with ourselves. These patterns of thoughts can hinder what we feel for our partners. What stands out for me the most is Chapter 4, where he gives examples describing the tyranny of the Shoulds that we place on our partner’s behaviors.
One of the main challenges in a romantic relationship (or marriage) are the unwritten rules/expectations that each spouse has for the other. For example, these rules include how to give and receive love, how much time to spend with friends, how to raise children, how much time to spend with the in-laws on vacation and any other number of things. These unspoken expectations create havoc in a relationship precisely because they go unspoken. Furthermore, they lead to criticisms about the other person that are general rather than specific.
Without proper training, it’s usually difficult for the couple to discuss these expectations aloud for two reasons. One – they are unaware (only semi-conscious) of these expectations in the first place. Two – they are usually too wrapped up in conflict to properly examine these automatic thoughts, let alone express them properly. Usually, these expectations become evoked as the couple grows closer and more intimate. Usually.
Overall, “Love Is Never Enough” by Aaron Beck is great. I am more than happy with the content of the book. It brings enlightenment to the power of our thoughts, and how to work through changing your own cognitive distortions.