03/19/2014 12:30 pm ET Updated May 24, 2014

How to Thrive in Love

Arianna Huffington's New Book Is A Boon To Intimacy In Relationships

We got an early look at Arianna Huffington's new book, Thrive: The Third Metric To Creating A Life Of Well-Being, Wisdom And Wonder, and immediately realized it was a gift to the well-being of intimate relationships as well as overall wellness.

Reading Thrive will be a transformative event in anyone's life, but if one of your passions is creating conscious relationships in your life, you'll get a special value from it. Bottom line: Everything Arianna says about well-being is absolutely true for the health of your relationships.

We've been married and working together for close to 35 years now, and during that time we've seen just about every sort of relationship conflict come up, either in our home or in working with 4000+ couples in our seminars and office. The issues that first bring couples to relationship counseling, the Big Four, are money, sex, kids and chores. Arguments about those four topics consume much of the fight-time in long-term relationships. But as any seasoned relationship coach will tell you, the problem is seldom where you first think it is. In other words, a recycling argument about money may actually be driven by a deeper source as yet hidden from anyone's awareness. Here is where Thrive contributes something of great value to relationships: Arianna's book gets to the source causes of the imbalances that contribute to recycling arguments about money, sex, kids and chores.

Pause to consider something fundamental to all of us: how many relationship conflicts in our lives -- at home, at work, in school -- would have happened if we'd gotten eight hours of deep, restful sleep the night before?


Would we have gotten into that argument at home, just after an exhausting day at work, if we hadn't run our bodies the whole day on a cup of yogurt, four espressos and a chocolate bar?

We're not suggesting that all relationship problems can be resolved with better sleep and nutrition, just as all automobile problems aren't solved with a full tank of gas, but not to address the fundamentals is asking for trouble. Couples need to address other fundamental issues such as:

•Are we willing to focus on solutions rather than continuing to burn our energy in blame and criticism?

•Do we want a relationship of complete honesty, or do we want to maintain areas of concealment?

•Are we willing to make a new commitment to appreciating and being appreciated in this relationship?

Your ability to answer questions such as those will be greatly enhanced if you have an awareness of the issues Arianna explores in Thrive. Thrive is a deep and comprehensive book. It goes far beyond foundation issues such as sleep and nutrition into the spiritual nature of life itself, and this is where the book becomes of ultimate usefulness in relationships. Relationships are where our spiritual natures thrive and grow and can be appreciated most profoundly. Relationships are also where we see our spiritual shortcomings most clearly, the moments when we discover the giant gaps between our good intentions and their flawed execution.

Our experience is that the quest for intimacy in love is also a quest to discover one's own spiritual essence. We ask the couples who come to us to think of their relationship as a spiritual path, to make the same kind of deep commitment to its wellbeing that they would make toward any significant spiritual endeavor.

Now, those of us who want to thrive in love have a new tool. When a new couple comes in for counseling, we usually give them a copy of Conscious Loving to read (or re-read) before the next session; now we'll also give them a copy of Thrive and say, "Read this one first."

Katie and Gay Hendricks are the authors of relationship classics such as Conscious Loving, Learning To Love Yourself and relationship mystery novels such as The Third Rule Of Ten. Hay House will publish their new book on relationships at midlife and later life in early 2015. More about their work at