Loving Through Your Differences by James L. Creighton -  Couples Conflict

Building Strong Relationships From Separate Realities


Even in the most harmonious relationships, there are differences that set us apart. We may have fundamentally different ideas about how to raise kids, spend money, or handle relationships with friends or relatives. We may have fundamentally different reactions to physical closeness or sexuality. This leads to conflict. This book empowers couples with the knowledge and skills they need to find excitement and fulfillment, rather than disappointment and frustration, in their differences.

“This jewel of a book — simple, clear, and profound — is packed with wisdom to help two separate people love wholeheartedly.”

— Linda Carroll, MS, LMFT, BCC, psychotherapist and author of Love Cycles

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Dr. James Creighton has worked with couples for decades, facilitating communication and conflict resolution and teaching them the tools to build healthy, happy relationships. He has found that many couples start out believing they like the same things, see people the same way, and share a united take on the world. But inevitably differences crop up, and it can be profoundly discouraging to find that one’s partner sees a person, situation, or decision completely differently. Although many relationships flounder at this point, Creighton shows that this can actually be an opportunity to forge stronger ties. In Loving through Your Differences, he draws on the latest research in cognitive science and developmental psychology to show how we invent our realities with our perceptual minds. He then provides clear, concrete tools for shifting our perceptions and reframing our responses. The result moves couples out of the fear and alienation of “your way or my way” and into a deep understanding of the other that allows for an “our way.” As Creighton shows, this way of being together, based on the reality of individuality rather than the illusion of sameness, sets the stage for long-term excitement, discovery, and fulfillment.

“Loving through Your Differences is a highly readable and practical guide to handling differences gracefully. Creighton coaches us how to change the attitudes and behaviors that lead to conflict. He shows how by responsibly negotiating through mutually satisfying guidelines, couples can cocreate successful, deeply fulfilling, loving relationships.”

— Linda Bloom, coauthor of 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married



Chapter 1: Whose Reality is Right?
Chapter 2: Making Sense
Chapter 3: Creating Reality
Chapter 4: Using Differences as Teachers Rear Cover


Chapter Five: Response-Ability
Chapter Six: Responsible Communication
Chapter Seven: Listening
Chapter Eight: Escalation
Chapter Nine: Mutual Problem Solving


Chapter Ten: Conflicts over Values
Chapter Eleven: Reframing
Chapter Twelve: Reframing Your Life Story
Chapter Thirteen: Self-Talk
Chapter Fourteen: Who’s the Me in This Conflict?
Chapter Fifteen: The Value of Being Different

Chapter Sixteen: A Closing Comment
Appendix 1: When You Need Help

“This book has a crucial role in people’s lives — whether in a marital relationship, extended family, or close friendships. The most valuable insight is that you have a right to your emotional reality and that others have a reality of their own. It is not a matter of ‘right or wrong’, but listening with both your head and heart to reach understandings.”

— Barry McCarthy, author of Enduring Desire