Book Review: The Power of the Middle Ground

An argument with his wife led psychotherapist Babits to the realization that his personal perspective was responsible for the anger felt when a “minor” request was denied. As he began looking at the situation from her perspective, it became clear that not only had he failed to convey the importance of his request but allowed anger to invalidate his wife’s response. Being able to move beyond himself and view the situation from his wife’s perspective led to finding a middle ground.

Locating this middle ground enabled Babits to assist couples through a host of common problems including sputtering sexual interest, money problems and childrearing. By first identifying problem areas, the author uses vignettes of couples in crisis to demonstrate the validity of each person’s perspective and how it affects their relationship. A series of exercises and seven guidelines for communication assist couples, straight or gay, in locating the middle ground that will allow them to resolve their differences and strengthen their relationship.

This approachable if perhaps oversimplified self-help guide is refreshingly honest in its inclusion of gay couples, something most guides overlook. Babits also stresses the importance of developing and maintaining patience and honest communication. Not only couples in crisis but newlyweds just beginning a life together can find valuable insights into how to appreciate each other’s perspective and reach the middle ground before disagreements escalate into major problems.


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