Dr. Harville Hendrix and Oprah Winfrey

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A technique Dr. Hendrix calls "behavior change request" can encourage communication and reduce partners' frustrations with each other. "Embedded in every gripe, complaint, criticism [and] frustration you have is a wish," Dr. Hendrix says.

Couples need to tell each other their wishes, he says. Oprah points out that most people believe their partner should automatically know their desires. For example, isn't it obvious the dishes need to be done? Why can't he just do them?

Dr. Hendrix calls this type of thinking "the illusion of romance." "It's like symbiosis," he says. "[Partners think], 'You live in my head, don't you? Don't you know what I'm thinking? Why aren't you doing it? I fuse you with me—I assume that we're just one person.'"
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FROM: An Abusive Husband's Desperate Plea for Help
Published on April 19, 2006

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