Flourishing Love: A Secular Guide to Lasting Intimate Relationships

Author(s) : Enrico Gnaulati

Flourishing Love: A Secular Guide to Lasting Intimate Relationships

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Flourishing Love is a secular defence of marriage and long-term intimate partnership. It rejects a moral–religious code to govern love lives and instead puts its faith in the human potential for couples to be benevolent, loyal, and forgiving to preserve and enhance their romantic union.

Dr Gnaulati draws on a variety of sources to present the joint emotional upkeep necessary to make an intimate relationship not just satisfactory, but vital, and to illustrate what these lasting bonds look like. The latest science, anecdotes from his own 30-year marriage as well as from his psychotherapy practice, the musings of ancient and contemporary philosophers, real-life interviews from partners in long-term happy marriages and intimate unions, and reflections on what can be derived from couples therapy are all used to reveal the secrets to a successful romantic partnership.

The result is a how-to of engaging in attentive and sensitive communication; employing a fairness habit of mind around household chores, childrearing responsibilities, and finances; optimally moving through and beyond conflict; keeping an erotic spark alive; and ethically handling urges to stray outside the couple. A must-read for all those who crave meaning, happiness, and fulfilment in life and need their romantic partnerships to help, not hinder, in this endeavour.

Reviews and Endorsements

At last a book on marriages that endure. At last a book on marriages that stresses the depth and quality of relationships, along with their quantity in years. Gnaulati’s Flourishing Love is a breath of fresh air for those of us (including the author) who have been blessed with enduring, quality marriages. In this era of quick fixes and fleeting encounters, Gnaulati’s voice is a welcome counter-narrative, particularly for those who have become cynical about the virtues–or even possibilities–of gratifying, lasting bonds. Replete with examples and humanistic sensibilities, Flourishing Love is a must for anyone yearning for deep and enduring partnership.
Kirk Schneider, Adjunct Faculty at Saybrook University, 2022 Candidate for President of the American Psychological Association, President of the Existential-Humanistic Institute and author of Life-Enhancing Anxiety: Key to a Sane World

With humor, frankness, wisdom born of deep personal and therapeutic experience, Gnaulati—in equal parts philosopher and psychologist—teaches us how to be better lovers and partners. Every married couple should read this book in bed together. Belongs on the bedside table with Stendhal’s On Love and The Joy of Sex.
Clancy Martin, Professor of Philosophy, University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of How Not to Kill Yourself: Portrait of a Suicidal Mind

My first two marriages were based on extreme self-sacrifice, a sense of overbearing duty, and the hope that I could live up to the religious values of my parents and grandparents. Of course, these relationships fell apart. I wish I would have read Flourishing Love in my early twenties and avoided unnecessary heartache. I am married again and, with Enrico Gnaulati’s help, giving lasting love another shot, this time with the understanding that settling into love is not the same as settling for less.
John Kaag Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts at Lowell and author of Hiking With Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are

Table of Contents

About the author

Chapter One
Aspiring to flourishing love

Chapter Two
Surviving domesticity

Chapter Three
Doing conflict well

Chapter Four
Humor me

Chapter Five
Lust is a must

Chapter Six
Wrangling with roving desires

Chapter Seven
Getting the right sort of help


About the Author(s)

Enrico Gnaulati, PhD, is a clinical psychologist based in Pasadena, California, and Affiliate Professor of Psychology at Seattle University. He has authored many acclaimed books and published a host of articles in academic journals as well as popular online magazines like The Atlantic, Salon, and The Huffington Post. His work has been featured on Spectrum News, China Global Television Network, Psychology Today, and more, as well as reviewed in Pacific Standard, the Huffington Post, The Australian, and the New Yorker. He is a blogger for Mad in America, an internationally recognized reformer of mental health practice and policy.

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