1st Edition

Compassion for Couples Building the Skills of Loving Connection

By Michelle Becker Copyright 2023

    How resilient is your relationship? Do you and your partner go into "reactivity mode" when a conflict arises? Do you wish you were closer and more connected? We all need healthy, secure relationships in order to thrive/m-/but they can be hard to build and maintain. Where do you start? According to marriage and family therapist Michelle Becker, the answer is with yourself. By learning to practice self-compassion, you are better able to respond to your partner with love and acceptance/m-/even when they inevitably cannot meet your every need. This caring and insightful guide shows you how to stop defaulting to feelings of annoyance, disappointment, or detachment. Instead, using techniques from Becker’s renowned Compassion for Couples program (plus guided meditation practices with accompanying audio downloads) you will learn mindfulness, compassion, and other skills that bring you closer to your partner and enrich your lives together. For happy couples looking to strengthen their relationship, or those facing obstacles, Becker leads the way to greater trust, mutual understanding, and a renewed sense of warmth.

    Foreword, Christopher Germer
    I. Start Where You Are: Understanding How Things Go Wrong in Relationships and How Things Get Better
    1. We All Need to Be Loved
    2. "Why Can't You Be Here for Me?": Understanding What Gets in the Way
    3. "I Wish I Could Fix It!": Resisting Pain with Problem Solving
    4. "Do You Care?": Finding Safe Connection
    5. "Who Will Love Me?": Ensuring That Compassion Is Always Available to You
    II. Building a Foundation for Compassion in Your Relationship: Mindfulness, Common Humanity, and Kindness
    6. Being Present: Mindfulness Skills to See Clearly and Quiet Reactivity
    7. Cultivating Connection: Strength in Common Humanity
    8. Getting What We Need: Kindness in Three Directions
    III. Putting It into Practice: Tailoring Compassion Skills to Your Relationship
    9. "What Really Matters to Us?": Rooting Your Relationship in Your Values
    10. "How Can We Really Get Each Other?": Using Compassionate Communication Skills
    11. "Can We Heal Our Wounds?": Cultivating the Conditions for Forgiveness
    12. "How Do We Keep Our Love Alive?": Celebrating Positive Experiences Together
    List of Audio Tracks

    Audio Downloads:
    1. Finding Strength and Softness (5:25)
    2. Uncovering Your Survival Strategies and How They Impact Your Partner (5:52)
    3. Discovering Our Tendencies to Fix and Finding Vulnerability Underneath (4:57)
    4. Discovering What’s Underneath Your Need to Control, What Your Partner Feels, and How to Speak from Vulnerability (3:29)
    5. Finding the Strong Back of Compassion (3:57)
    6. Finding the Soft Front of Compassion (4:31)
    7. Discovering How We Treat Ourselves and Others (5:35)
    8. Putting Self-Compassion into Practice with Mindfulness, Common Humanity, and Kindness (8:54)
    9. Supportive Touch (4:31)
    10. Soles of the Feet (4:10)
    11. Awareness of Breath (7:41)
    12. Awareness of Sound (5:38)
    13. STOP (5:35)
    14. Touching Hands (5:06)
    15. Discovering Common Humanity (5:57)
    16. Belonging (6:48)
    17. Loving-Kindness for Couples (9:13)
    18. Motivating Yourself with Compassion (12:22)
    19. Soften, Soothe, and Allow (8:42)
    20. Meeting Our Own Needs (4:47)
    21. Discovering Your Core Values (5:16)
    22. STOP and LOVE (13:43)
    23. Forgiving Others (7:48)
    24. Forgiving Yourself (7:22)
    25. Gratitude for Your Partner (3:51)


    Michelle Becker, MA, LMFT, a marriage and family therapist in private practice in San Diego, is dedicated to helping people thrive in healthy, well-connected relationships. She is the developer of the Compassion for Couples program and cofounder of Wise Compassion (www.wisecompassion.com). She is also a cofounder of the teacher training program at the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion and a senior teacher of Compassion Cultivation Training. Through workshops, online education, and a podcast, she shares the knowledge and tools required for people to relate to each other better.

    "Stunning revelations. Michelle Becker's approach has helped us find a deeper connection and finally stop trying to fix each other--paradoxically, by learning to be kind to ourselves. The 'Core Values' exercise yanked us out of the routine doldrums of marriage and reminded us why we are together. We are grateful."--Becky and Tim P., Fort Wayne, Indiana

    "This beautiful book will help couples move their relationships from a place of pain and blame to love and acceptance. Drawing on empirically supported self-compassion practices, the author provides concrete tools to help people open their hearts to themselves so they can open fully to their partners."--Kristin Neff, PhD, coauthor of The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook

    "The absorbing, step-by-step approach makes the exercises easy to dive into. I especially enjoyed the 'Touching Hands' exercise, where my partner and I experienced what it felt like to withdraw or be withdrawn from. This is definitely the book for anyone who wants to break negative relationship patterns and work toward the love you deserve."--Lynn H., Pleasanton, California

    "From her vast experience as a therapist and teacher, Michelle Becker has written a masterpiece for any couple, whether you are seeking greater intimacy or help with serious conflicts. Her advice is grounded in science, with lots of examples and many simple, powerful exercises. Beautiful, timely, and important."--Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Resilient

    "We would all like to have relationships that are constantly supportive, empathic, and fun--but, unfortunately, things don't always work out that way. Having compassion for each other allows us to resolve conflicts, face disappointments, accept compromise, and learn the arts of apology and forgiveness. For anyone interested in building relationships based on courage, wisdom, and deep friendship, this is an ideal, inspiring guide."--Paul Gilbert, PhD, FBPsS, OBE, author of The Compassionate Mind

    “Michelle Becker is the therapist any couple would be lucky to find when they hit a rough spot--she is wise, practical, and without judgment. Compassion for Coupleswill transform your relationship."--Susan M. Pollak, MTS, EdD, author of Self-Compassion for Parents

    "This book is designed to help couples heal and thrive. Compassion does both. Compassion is a positive emotion. It brings energy and happiness into our lives. Therefore, when we wrap ourselves and our partners in compassion, suffering is transformed into something different, even into joy. It’s like alchemy, but it has to be personally experienced to be understood. Please go ahead and try, and see what happens in your own relationship."--from the Foreword by Christopher Germer, PhD, coauthor of The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook-