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Synopsis

Couples can make significant progress toward resolving their own problems when they receive appropriate guidance from a caring person. This book outlines five tasks focused on identity, agency, and meaning that spiritual caregivers can use to empower couples for significant change in just three to five conversations. This form of “empowering guidance” is a dimension of pastoral conversation rather than formal counseling. Critically integrating desert spiritual theology with empirical data about successful marriages, Bidwell advocates for mutuality and partnership within covenanted relationships, which allows partners to create an alliance strong enough to resist the forces that threaten relationships—especially the negative influences of criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and withdrawal.

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