Learn to Navigate Relationships with a Kind, Calm, and Faithful Heart in Dr. Bruce Chalmer’s ‘Reigniting the Spark’ [REVIEW]

Couple on grass
Healthy relationships don’t just happen. (Photo courtesy Canva)

Relationships are hard. We’ve been together for a couple decades now, and like everyone, we’ve had some ups and downs. But looking around at couples these days, particularly in the throws of the pandemic, we realize just how fortunate we are to still get along and enjoy each other’s company. Still, there’s a reason Oprah said just a few months back that by the time all this is behind us, there are going to be a lot of couples breaking up. All this unexpected togetherness can be challenging! But how do you keep love alive and well? Well, we’re not going to try and give you expert answers. Instead, we want to introduce you to Dr. Bruce Chalmer, author of Reigniting the Spark: Why Stable Relationships Lose Intimacy, and How to Get It Back.

TCK Publishing

Dr. Chalmer has been a therapist for nearly 30 years, working with couples, individuals, and families. He’s counseled Christians, Jews, Muslims, and atheists. And he’s trained in psychodynamic, narrative, cognitive behavioral, solution-focused, hypnotherapy, and more. So he’s been around the block a bit.

Through it all, however, he believes that the answer to every couples problems can essentially be addressed with seven words: “Be kind, don’t panic, and have faith.” In Reigniting the Spark, he hopes to guide you toward a happier love life and explains how each of the core ideas in his little mantra can help us in every aspect of our relationship.

This book is concise at only 158 pages, but it is so well written that it feels like we are sitting in his office or laying on his couch, talking about what we want and asking how we can get there. He shows us how to lay a foundation for intimacy and trust that will connect us to our partner for years to come. He also makes us take a look at all the reasons we should and shouldn’t get married. And if you’re already embroiled with a cheater? Well, he shows us how to navigate that situation too, and decide whether or not a fractured relationship is worth salvaging or whether we should simply walk away.

Having read lots of self help books and gone to therapy myself, much of what Chalmer says feels familiar. And yet the key ingredient I love about this book is that it is rooted in kindness. He asks us to examine whether or not we feel safe in our relationships. Do we feel like our partner truly belongs to us, and vice versa? If we do, if we have that investment and trust, we are better equipped to give our partner the benefit of the doubt, even in rough and choppy waters. If we extend good will, the result will be better communication, feelings of security and stability, which in turn will help us lower anxiety rather than just learning to tolerate it.

There is much more here that I won’t go into, but suffice it to say that it helps to read this book slowly and thoughtfully, mulling over what Chalmer has to say and honestly answering the questions he asks at the end of each chapter in the Reflection section. He also utilizes loads of examples from his practice, although he is quick to acknowledge that names have been changed and people have been consolidated so he’s not giving away their secrets. Still, having these examples to relate to is super helpful, and allows us to see ourselves in them and get a better understanding of what it is we also might need to change.

Whether you’re in a relationship or thinking about getting into one, this is a good resource to have handy. It helps us communicate more effectively, and reminds us why it is so important to be empathetic and patient at all times. It can help you crawl through the weeds of a bad situation and hopefully come out the other side still whole. But it can also help you avoid the traps that lay just out of sight in every relationship, waiting to suck us down into the mire beneath. Chalmer is eager to help, doling out practical wisdom we all need to hear and be reminded of, regardless of our background and personal beliefs. Relationship angst can stress us all out. But with Chalmer’s help, we can take a minute, inhale, and approach each situation with an open mind and a generous spirit.

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Dr. Bruce Chalmer
Dr. Bruce Chalmer


Dr. Bruce Chalmer has been a psychologist working with couples for almost 30 years. Through his teaching, consulting, and videos about relationships, his ideas have helped thousands of couples and their therapists.

He has held leadership positions in some of Vermont’s Jewish communities, and is also a musician and composer. He lives in South Burlington, Vermont, with his wife, Judy Alexander. Together, they host the podcast “Couples Therapy in Seven Words.”

For more information, visit BruceChalmer.com, like him on Facebook, and follow his blog.

By Dr. Bruce Chalmer
158 pp. TCK Publishing. $19.99

Buy Reigniting the Spark direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, or Walmart.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

3 Responses to Learn to Navigate Relationships with a Kind, Calm, and Faithful Heart in Dr. Bruce Chalmer’s ‘Reigniting the Spark’ [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: Dr. Chalmer’s Favorite Recipe: Apple Honey Challah – Dr. Bruce Chalmer – Couples Therapy

  2. Pingback: Dr. Bruce Chalmer’s Favorite Apple Honey Challah [RECIPE] | Jathan & Heather

  3. Pingback: Rave Reviews for Reigniting the Spark! – Dr. Bruce Chalmer – Couples Therapy

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