Cover Image: Why Couples Fight

Why Couples Fight

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Member Reviews

This is a great book on why couples fight, and what to do to understand your partner, relationship, and make it and keep it healthy. The author shares stories of couples and writes in a concise, clear, and interesting way. This book would benefit couples with issues, those who want to learn to stop reacting and start learning and for those who want to understand their partner better, or for someone who wants a stronger relationship. Highly recommended.
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I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

There is an abundance of practical advice for dealing with power struggles within a marriage.
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Why Couples Fight? by Mira Kirshenbaum is a fantastic book for anyone who is looking for a relationship or someone already in a relationship. The author is a relationship expert and she gives us the reasons why couples fight and how to resolve conflicts among couples. If you are looking to add tools to your life kit toolbox, this book will help you do that efficiently. It is accessible and easy to read with practical examples to help us understand the underlying issues that most couples face.

The book talks about the common issues couples faces in day-to-day life. She gives us glimpses into some common arguments and how things that are so simple can escalate in a matter of seconds. Looking at things from the outside makes it easier to see where things go wrong and what exactly couples shouldn't do in conflicts. 40% of the book focuses on the issues that will come up in the course of a relationship. She dissects each of them and shows us how these can affect the couples adversely. The solutions and methodology by which one can resolve the conflicts and find peace in the relationship are introduced around the halfway mark down the book. Mira goes through each conflict and how the steps can be used by showing us practical & realistic scenarios. I have come out of this book feeling more confident in seeing things differently and wanting to be better on my end.

I believe the book has accomplished what it had set out to do. Overall, this is a book everyone should read and apply to their lives. We might think our lives are perfect the way they are, but having the necessary tools will not only help us to improve on relationships it will also help strengthen our bonds. This is in my opinion a great book for anyone who is seeking solutions to end the toxic family environment to which both partners contribute. I gave the book 4.5 stars and highly recommend checking it out.
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Thank you, Netgalley for providing an ARC of this book. Opinions contained within are my own and unbiased.

I've read quite a few self-help books and books on improving relationships, not because my own marriage is troubled but because I think that things can always get better. I'd rather have more tools in my toolbox when a crisis comes, and I certainly don't consider myself to be a perfect person, so there is always room for learning and improving. Some of these books don't yield much in the way of solutions or strategies, but this one is overflowing.

Kirschenbaum's writing style is conversational and approachable. Occasionally she uses a phrase that seems a little odd coming from an older woman, but it's like listening to your favorite older auntie try to be cool -- you smile and love her anyway. The language is not the only place where the auntie comparison holds up; the entire time I was reading this book I felt like I was hearing life lessons and advice from an aunt.

Kirschenbaum offers several different solutions to common conflicts between couples, based on the theory that all such problems come from power imbalances within the relationship. To me this seems a solid premise. She aims to help partners communicate more clearly and avoid making "power moves" against one another. She also focuses on how to communicate kindly, without jumping to conclusions and attacking one another. I have already begun implementing her strategies in my personal life and discussing them with my husband and have had positive results. I think there is something useful in this book for even the happiest couples.
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This was the first book I read by Mira Kirshenbaum and I really enjoyed “Why Couples Fight”. This book was very relatable, enjoyable to read, and every point was backed up with multiple examples and solutions to help with conflict. Her main point is how power is what causes most conflicts in any relationship. 

There are a variety of different examples of conflicts that can cause fights that couples can go through that she explains detail and exactly how power comes into play. Each example was realistic and a lot of them felt that I could connect with. She also goes into detail about what steps you can take as a couple or individuals to approach the problem in the best way possible. 

I feel that everyone would benefit from this book being in a relationship right now or not. The concepts described in this book could help explain a lot of conflicts in variety of relationships. It opens your eyes to understanding the conflicts that we face every day and help put in it the prospective of multiple sides of the same conflict. It also gives you a ton of strategies for dealing with conflict on a variety of levels.
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“Why Couples Fight,” by Mira Kirshenbaum, is a straight-forward book explaining how empowerment/disempowerment leads to couples fighting.  There are several relatable examples of subjects couples fight about, and familiar “power moves” I have even heard my partner or myself say during heated debates.  Ways to reduce the power struggles, and in an end result, fighting, are simple and sensible.  I have taken away many tips and tools to use when I find myself again in a situation where my spouse and I are not seeing eye to eye on something.
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{Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for a fitted copy in exchange for my honest review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.}

I was not familiar with author and relationship expert Mira Kirshenbaum prior to reading this title but found her writing to be totally relatable and accessible.  

"I’ve written this book for everyone. Whoever you are and however you see yourself in terms of identity—man, woman, neither, fluid, non-conforming, questioning, queer, in transition, two-spirit—you’re in this book and I honor you all equally." -M. Kirshenbaum

I loved that she spoke about how this book can be accessed no matter the type of relationship the couple is in, which made this nonfiction book feel welcoming and compassionate from the very beginning. 

The beginning of Why Couples Fight dives into the concept of "power" and why we often resort to fighting when we feel misunderstood and/or defensive.

."It’s not that anyone wants power. It’s just that no one wants to feel disempowered. But from the outside, and from the inside as well, it looks and feels like a struggle for power." -M. Kirshenbaum

Often fights stem from larger issues that are layered underneath than the superficial moments that can quickly spark the flames. "Most of the time, buried within most feedback is a need. And you’re much better off going to the need and bypassing the feedback".

Not only does Kirshenbaum share a myriad of common examples, but she also expresses the importance of humility which I think is so important in any relationship. Kirshennuam believes in eight core experiences of love...attention, affection, support, fairness, validation, respect, feeling cherished, and passion and she shares how these play into our own unique situations. 

Part two takes on how to resolve these issues, knowing that they can stem from multiple angles. She introduces the 1, 2,3 Method, which takes on the conflict in three simple steps. 

"The 1, 2, 3 Method for Resolving Conflict:

1. Before you begin to discuss solutions, make sure each of you understands what the other thinks and feels about the issue you’re facing. 
2. Come up with plenty of options. Be sure you’ve put as many options as you can on the table. 
3. As a way to arrive at a final agreement, take different options, and together explore how they would play out and discover what their pros and cons are.
While it sounds incredibly simple, following these specific steps can help us work towards our ultimate goal in a more straightforward and actionable path." -M. Kirshenbaum

This book is packed with so much accessible ad actionable advice and is one of the most useful books I have ever read on conflict resolution. Breaking down the walls to get back to hearing and meeting each other's needs is the ultimate goal and this book can help end this negative cycle no matter what your individual issues are. Highly recommend!
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Relationship are in my opinion the most important thing going on in life. If we don’t have relationships then we have nothing. My words... 
“Why couples fight”, has tons of examples of common struggles. Her first point is about power and what that misplaced does to a relationship. 
She believes in eight core experiences of love: attention, affection, support, fairness, validation, respect, feeling cherished, passion. 
She emphasizes that there has to be room for two whole people in the relationship. Throughout the book she has questions to answer to help you understand her points. 
I loved that she mentioned humility. Reminding me that neither of us is perfect. She also feels that the power struggles can be addictive. 
At about 40% she produces the solutions. 
And breaks down the 1, 2, 3 Method for resolving conflicts. 
	1.	Hearing each other out. 
	2.	Create Options, lots of options. 
	3.	Come together and live out your agreed options. Exploring it together. 
Again the author gives great examples of conflict with healthy council. She covers a lot and I can tell she’s been doing this a long time. The last chapter is about questions she gets asked a lot. I found it very helpful. And I’d recommend it for couples looking for resolutions.  
Thanks to Kensington Books via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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I'm a huge fan of Mira Kirshenbaum and will read anything she ever writes. Her book "Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay" played an instrumental role in helping me to decide to leave an abusive relationship after three years. I don't know where I would be without her today.

Why Couples Fight is another excellent and helpful book on dysfunctional relationships. It is divided into adequate parts. The first one is about why we fight and ways to look deeper into the real reasons behind these fights, as they usually are about a lot more than the superficial reasons we fight over. Part two is about getting over the conflicts. It's the more challenging part, one where the reader has to accept that she needs to take action too, no matter how hurt she is by her partner's actions. There are SO MANY different angles, like I've never read a relationships self-help author so comprehensive.

While I'm no longer in a relationship, I am hopeful that if I encounter non-abusive conflicts in my future one, I will be able to handle them with this knowledge. What's more, the author's tone is so compassionate at the same time as it is informative that I don't feel judged or faulty. 

*Thank you to the Publisher for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Why Couples Fight is a practical book to help ordinary people work through the conflicts in their relationships.  I thought it was extremely useful and can really help a couple who are stuck in battle to see other perspectives and possibilities and find their way out.  I think it is definitely a book of hope and might provide a light in the dark when it feels as though everything is lost and nothing else can be done.  Not everyone has access to a good therapist so this is a brilliant alternative.  It may also encourage people to see a therapist or relationship expert when they realise that there is hope, and a solution leading to a better, happier relationship is possible.  The steps are really simple and the case studies may allow couples to identify a similar situation.  The book is very easy to read, not at all heavy and I think it may help give hope to relationships on the edge of survival.  A good, very welcome book.  Thank you.
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Mira Kirshenbaum’s “Why Couples Fight,” is an informative book on how power plays out in romantic relationships. In a day where everything is about “attachment” and “emotional bonds,” Mira’s book is a breath of fresh air. There is no doubt that couples will feel more understood, connected, and empowered after reading it!
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Mira Kirshenbaum has written a wealth of books (mostly about couples) and the reviews on Amazon and elsewhere are consistently 4.5-5 stars. This book is specific to fighting and working out conflicts. There was only one thing I didn’t like about this book and that was what I considered the unprofessional kind of language that she uses. I know I’m not reading a textbook, but saying things like “Look, I ain’t gonna hype you”, makes me think of something my teenager would write. I get that she is trying to be relatable, but I don’t think you have to do it that way. It’s really a small complaint, but it was bugging me throughout.

There wasn’t anything I read in this book that I didn’t already know as a couples therapist. However, if you are a therapist who doesn’t specifically specialize in couples therapy, or if you are just a person who is part of a couple trying to work out conflicts, I think the information is super useful.

I feel like there is kind of two parts to this book. The first part is where she claims that “power moves” are the main (only?) culprit in couples being unable to resolve conflict. And because she knows that many people will not resonate with that, she goes to great length to define power moves, giving a lot of examples and stories. The bottom line is that anything I say or do that makes my partner feel disempowered is a power move, even if that was totally not my intention.

Then she moves on to her solution, which she calls the “1, 2, 3, Method”. For any conflict there are three steps: 1. fully understand and hear each other, 2. explore a ton of options, and 3. brainstorm solutions and decide. This sounds crazy simple, but obviously it’s not or we would all be doing it! In my experience, couples go into conversations like this knowing already what they want and therefore they don’t hear each other, they only have one option idea (theirs) and therefore they never get to step 3. This is the kind of process that any couples therapist will lead you through but the book is intended to help couples do it on their own.

She also talks about some topics that are specifically problematic, like money and sex, because they have inherent power issues attached. All in all, I think the book could be useful to laypeople or therapists who only see couples occasionally and don’t have a ton of skill in resolving difficult arguments. This book comes out January 2021 and is available for pre-order now.
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