Book Review: An End to Arguing: 101 Valuable Lessons for All Relationships, by Linda and Charlie Bloom

By Katherine Itacy

Summary (as provided by the authors):

“Now more than ever, couples need guidance for navigating conflict wisely and skillfully. Drawing on insights from their work with couples since 1975, the Blooms offer practical tools and strategies that apply to all relationships. An End to Arguing convincingly shows how destructive conflicts can be avoided, and provides stimulus for individual and interpersonal growth. They use compelling examples from their clinical work and their own fifty-year marriage, which has had its share of challenges.

An End to Arguing doesn’t just provide a way of preventing differences from turning into painful conflict; it gives the reader an insight into what qualities are inherent in argument-free relationships. The way of getting there may be simpler than you think!”


Overall, I found the book credible, helpful, and easy to read.

The authors are both psychotherapists and relationship counselors with almost one hundred years of combined professional experience. They’ve also been married to each other for over fifty years and appear to be forthcoming about the ups and downs of their relationship.

Like many of us who’ve entered into long-term relationships or marriages, Charlie and Linda Bloom are opposites in a number of ways, including the way they approach arguments, how they express/process their emotions, how detail-oriented they each are, and more. During the early years of their relationship, there was a lot of avoidance and unhealthy conflict resolution going on, and they got close to ending things before they committed to resolving conflicts in more respectful, communicative ways.

Since that time (and over the course of their respective practices), they’ve amassed a number of insightful, productive pieces of advice for their readers to have happier, healthier, less contentious relationships. Some of those lessons include noting:

  • That any healthy relationship is going to require both parties to work hard at it and be respectful of the other person’s feelings and opinions. It’s about hearing each other out and working toward mutual understanding; it’s not about always trying to win the argument or prove that you’re right and they’re wrong. You need to come into a conversation with an intent to connect, not to control or to win. If you go into an argument trying to win it, you’ll both lose.
  • That you need to be open and vulnerable with each other, actively (not reactively) listening, taking responsibility for our own feelings and behavior and communicating in an assertive yet nonaggressive way, recognizing when we need to take a time out when we need to cool down and reflect on things before continuing.
  • That you need to ask your partner what they need or what they’re feeling rather than make assumptions or project.
  • That there will be times when the other person isn’t willing to make the necessary effort to maintain a healthy relationship, or when they’re acting in an unhealthy or abusive way. The Blooms address setting healthy boundaries and encourage leaving in unhealthy/abusive situations.
  • That you should make your partner’s needs as important as your own – no more, no less.

The book also includes a lot of helpful advice, including:

  • The authors providing a list of possible guidelines to use when discussing a point of conflict or a grievance. They instruct you on how to give an authentic, genuine apology, and how to sincerely forgive someone.
  • The authors telling you that you need to focus on bettering yourself, your habits, lessening your insecurities and finding happiness in yourself so you’re not only healthier and happier, you’re also a better partner for the other person in the relationship.
  • The Blooms emphasizing being honest with yourself as well as your partner, reflecting on what you really want for yourself and your life as well as for your relationship, and what you’re unwilling to tolerate in a relationship.
  • The authors warning against participating in projection, being judgmental, and having confirmation biases. They suggest how to reframe unhealthy viewpoints before engaging with the other person.
  • Emphasizing that you need to make sure you’re still having fun with and enjoying the other person’s company.
  • Noting that all of the skills discussed in the book are ones we need to learn and practice over time in order to be retained, and we need to be aware of when we slip up and fail to apply those skills. You don’t need to feel ashamed that you’ve faltered, but you do need to recognize when you do so you can regroup and do better in the future.

Unfortunately, many of the lessons are a bit repetitive. In all honesty, there are probably 50-75 actual lessons, with the remaining 26-51 being variations on existing themes. For that reason, I can’t say I loved the book. But I did appreciate the overall guidance they imparted, and I would recommend that you and your loved ones read the book in an effort to have happier, healthier relationships in the future.

My Rating: 3/5

About the Authors (as provided by the authors):

“Linda Bloom, LCSW and Charlie Bloom, MSW have been married since 1972. Trained as psychotherapists and relationship counselors, they have worked with individuals, couples, groups, and organizations since 1975 and have lectured and taught at learning institutes throughout the USA and internationally, including the Esalen Institute, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Northern California Mindfulness Institute, The California Institute for Integral Studies, and the World Health Organization. They have authored five books, including the bestseller, 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 sold), Secrets of Great Marriages, Happily Ever After… and 39 Other Myths about Love, That Which Doesn’t Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places, and An End to Arguing: 101 Valuable Lessons for All Relationships. They are founders and co-directors of Bloomwork, based in Santa Cruz, California.”

You can find An End to Arguing on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or

Katherine Itacy is the author of Relentless: From National Champion to Physically Disabled Activist (July 28, 2020, E.L. Marker). After medically retiring from practicing law, Katherine wrote her memoir, Relentless (which is available now in paperback, e-book, and audiobook formats on Amazon and through her publisher here), and started “The Phunky Diabetic Podcast”(which is available to stream on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIn, and YouTube). She now contributes to the Warwick Public Library podcast “Warwick Radio Online.” She is also chair of the board of directors for the Rhode Island ACLU, on the board of directors for the Warwick Health Equity Zone, is an advocate for the Rare Disease Legislative Advocates (RDLA), a patient advisor for the All of Us Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC), and enjoys blogging about social justice and disability issues.


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