Okay, I found this book a bit hard to read. Not because the words or phrases are complicated or awkward; they aren't, it's an easy read, word- and style-wise. No, it was difficult because apparently I've been doing relationships all wrong. Well, primary relationships, anyway. At least according to this book.
Okay, maybe not ALL wrong. I'd been doing a lot correctly, tidbits and habits picked up over the years. The big things, though, those I'd been doing poorly. The one I smiled biggest at the recognition of doing well with is launchings and landings: a kiss good morning, a kiss good night, a kiss hello, a kiss goodbye. I've done will with seeking out the Boy when I return from our being apart, which goes with the kiss hello. That is my favorite habit.
The book has ten guiding principles, with ideas like the Couple Bubble, becoming expert managers of our partners, loving is up close so look your partner in the eye frequently (like all the time), and learning to fight fairly and never with a goal to win, but to understand better (well, fuck, where have I heard that one before). I've done some of them correctly, but failed miserably at the rest.
The book describes people's tendencies in relationships to be Anchors (securely attached, comfortable with who they are and the relationship), Islands (insecurely avoidant), and Waves (insecurely ambivalent). Having read Attached a couple years ago when it was spinning through the web development spheres, I recognized the different attachment styles. I've most definitely become an Island, though I hadn't really thought I had. This quote hit me in the gut, though:
People who are islands often confuse independence and autonomy with their adaptation to neglect.
I'm still mulling it over.
The happy examples in the book are great, as happy examples should be. The two-anchor couple sounds like bliss. Part of me suspects, however, that so much of that bliss sounds like choosing the right person in the beginning, and being lucky enough to be with someone not obsessed with the typical American cultural values, by which I mean youth over the wisdom of experience and the growth (read "aging") that comes with it, money over experiences, gratitude over consumption. Being with someone who is secure with who they are, able to be vulnerable, and willing to bring stability to the chaos of the Island or Wave, seems to be the way to a happy relationship for an Island, Wave or Anchor. Not really sure how someone manages to become an Anchor, though. And that's the kicker.
I recommend this book for anyone in a relationship. I'll likely read this one again. I expect to learn again in the next reading.