Review: The Five Core Conversations for Couples by David Bullitt, J.D. & Julie Bullitt, LCSW-C

I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. The concept is interesting – Julie is a counselor and David is a divorce lawyer, so they do have some really interesting perspectives and stories. And if you think of it as more of a “memoir”, you will probably enjoy it. But if you are looking for some real, practical advice, I think it’s lacking a bit. The five topics of conversation are: communication, finances, parenting, sex, and work-life balance. All of these are also what I would say are probably the five most crucial topics. But again, if you are looking for some real in-depth advice, you’ll be disappointed.

One of the things I do like about the book is the abundance of metaphors. Being somewhat of a “metaphor queen” myself, I got a few new ideas on easy ways to explain concepts here. For example, they talk about the oxygen masks on planes (take care of yourself first before helping others); replacing the roof on your house (you don’t wait until it’s falling in to replace it); make-it and take-it basketball (if you made the mess, you’re the one who should clean it up); and the escort car to a wide load vehicle (sometimes you’re the one who needs help and sometimes you’re the one providing it). So if you are a therapist who uses a lot of metaphors, you’ll like this book for that.

There are also some really good one-liners to remember. The key to working on the ebbs is to work harder on the flows; if it won’t matter, don’t say it; and so forth. But there is also some advice I don’t like. For example, when they were talking about the silent treatment, they said that time outs are like five year old tantrums and have no place in a relationship, because it’s punishment. Maybe they were only talking about it in terms of the silent treatment as punishment, but time outs when things are heated can be a very effective strategy in my opinion, and I’m afraid couples will read this wrong. And I kind of really don’t like how they talked about differences in sexual frequency – it felt disrespectful to me. I felt that the book was really weighted towards the person who does not want sex as much and disregarded the pain that often happens for the person who does want sex more often.

The book is basically a log of conversations between the two of them over the years. And don’t get me wrong – conversations between a counselor and a divorce lawyer are probably endlessly entertaining. I found the tone of the book a bit snarky, however. Also, you must be comfortable with foul language, because there’s a lot of it. I’m not a prude regarding language, but I feel like it’s somewhat of a trend to try to make books appealing by swearing a lot.

Again, if you read this more like a funny memoir of two people with converging (diverging) careers, you might like it. But if you’re looking for more solid couples advice, there are a multitude of better options.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from Net Galley for my review. The link above is an Amazon affiliate link and I receive a small compensation from orders placed through this link.

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