Book questions relationship wisdom

Book asks whether better communication is really the key

Bill Strom

Bill Strom

Abbotsford resident Bill Strom questions traditional advice that says the secret to improving marriages and friendships is better communication in a recently released book The Relationship Project.

This is the second book for Strom, who has a PhD and has taught relational communication at Trinity Western University in Langley for more than 20 years.

“We have a ‘toolbox’ mentality regarding communication,” Strom said. “We tend to think that whatever the issue in our relationship, communication is the answer.”

Strom said communication is often the crux of the problem, so more of the same is only going to make things worse. Even if one improves skills, the question remains: What is the source of good skills? Is it simply a matter of more education?

Strom counters with the idea that con artists are highly skilled in communication strategies to get what they want. Perhaps excellent communication begins with character.

“So the book looks at five personal virtues that social scientists are finding key to relating. They include self-control, humility, relational effort, faithfulness and wisdom,” Strom said.

The book refers to those studies plus lively stories of people using – and failing to use – the virtues. Self-assessment quizzes provide an opportunity for the reader to get an idea about their own moral makeup and relational health.

The Relationship Project: Moving from ‘You and Me’ to ‘We’ (Beacon Hill Press, 2014) is available through Strom’s website: