14. The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted by Gary Chapman brings back memories of the one-day seminar we attended here at Ramstein Air Base where we got to hear the author teach on the same topic as the title of his book. Underneath his autograph in the front of the book it says, 10-30-10. This month, five years ago. huh. Just like that.
Do we have the marriage we’ve always wanted five years later? smile. I can confidently say we’re growing the marriage we’ve always wanted. It keeps getting better and better.
I confess, I didn’t read the book because I attended the seminar… However, there are homework assignments at the end of each chapter. I think I’ll revisit those.
3 stars. And, yes, I would recommend this book. Down to earth. Easy to read. And it’s fairly short.
I’m not sure if I read Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne Mack. I very well may have. No, the advice offered in this book did not make our marriage stronger. Mack’s advice mixed with the dynamics of our marriage made for a near-lethal outcome for our marriage.
I do not recommend this book if you have a natural bent toward legalism or if there are control issues in your marriage.
1 star. This will go in the
dump donate pile.
Well, this is fun. This is the second book in a row that I’ve cracked open only to find the pages filled with underlining, notes in the margins, and our personal answers written to deep questions. It’s almost like opening a journal in which we recorded our struggles, victories, conflicts and blessings in regards to our marriage. We should have wrote the dates as we went along, but I figured out we read this one in 2009 because one of the questions I answered with, “…and we’re still going strong six years into this marriage.”
The 12th book in this project is Communication, Key to Your Marriage: Simple, Daily Guidelines to Help Couples Reduce Conflict, Manage Emotions & Avoid Anxiety by H. Norman Wright.
I can see it created some great connection when we read it so long ago. And perhaps it would be helpful to revisit some of the guidelines… but the most interesting parts in this particular copy are the notes we wrote. I’m glad Wright wrote this in the style he did, with lots of questions to provoke dialogue. But do you notice the big idea here?
You and your spouse are writing your own story. That’s something to pay attention to, think about, dream about, and live out! Your marriage story is completely unique to the two of you!
11. His Needs Her Needs: Building An Affair-proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley, Jr.
I read this so many years ago, but perusing it just now was super fun. It’s filled with highlighted sections (that would be LeRoy) and sections underlined in pencil (that would be me) and notes to one another in the margins. I think I’m going to show it to LeRoy tonight when we go to bed… so much of what I wrote in the margins were thank you notes to LeRoy for being the amazing husband that he is.
One of the gems we took from this book is Harley’s suggestion that the husband call and check in with his wife everyday before coming home from work. This is when LeRoy started to call me to ask, “What is the emotional climate at home?” (This is also usually when he asks me what he can do to honor and bless me, but sometimes he waits until he gets home. :))
3 stars. But I’m not sure I’d recommend it. While Harley gets a lot of things right, I notice that he makes a lot of gender stereotypes and presuppositions. Maybe I’m a little too free-spirited for his take on marriage and what he supposes women need and men need.
10. I Promise You: Preparing for a marriage that will last a lifetime by Willard F. Harley, Jr.
Hm. This is the fourth book out of ten that I haven’t read yet. Yikes. I’m so glad I’m doing this project, but I’m a little lean on the reviews since I haven’t read some of these books.
No rating — I’m marking this one “To Read.” It looks like a fairly quick read… and perhaps it will offer insights that I can pass on to all these newlyweds and about-to-be-weds. You know how sometimes you know something from experience but you’re not quite sure how to articulate it in such a way so that the hearer is able to receive the message? And then you read something in a book and, voila! There it is. Perhaps?
Another book by Dr. Gary Smalley… this one is The DNA of Relationships: Discover How You Are Designed for Satisfying Relationships.
Except I don’t remember reading this one. If I did, I definitely could use the refresher. Anyway, I don’t feel it’s fair to rate it so instead I’m putting it on my “To Read” list… at the top.
8. Cracking the Communication Code: The Secret to Speaking Your Mate’s Language by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
No rating — I haven’t read it yet.
Judging from my last post on Love & Respect, you’re probably wondering why I own Eggerichs’ next book. Well, because my parents bought it for me. The difference is that I haven’t heard anyone talk about this one. I haven’t read any reviews. And I haven’t cracked it open to read it yet.
Truth be told, I’m hopeful that I’m going to be delightfully surprised and enriched when I do get to it.
It’s going on my “To Read” list.
7. Love & Respect: The love she most desires, the respect he desperately needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Gzzsh, grzh, grz. (That’s me hitting my head against the desk.)
This book comes highly recommended by so many people. I think that’s why I bought it. Or did someone buy it for me? (If that was you and you’re reading this now, please extend a ton of grace for me.) But I could not get past chapter three. I think I tried at least three different times.
They led workshops and classes on this book at our church. Small groups have been formed from this book. Really, there must be something to it. So don’t rule it out based on my opinion. From what I can tell, though, the content in this book could just as easily have been written in a medium-size six-page brochure and covered all the information that’s in the book. Maybe, I could have gotten all the way through it then.
Anyway, it’s still on my shelf. Perhaps I’m waiting for the next person to say, “We’re reading ‘Love & Respect’ in our Small Group so I guess I better order it!” Then I can run up to my library and happily bless them with the book.
Ohmyword! Book number 6 is one of my all-time most favorite marriage books ever!
Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley
Well, and now that I’ve said that, I read it so long ago, I can’t remember all the specific pearls of wisdom that I gleaned from this book. But it was one of the transformational books for our marriage.
LeRoy likes to highlight in books and write in the margins. (Agh! Something I’ve learned to treasure instead of getting frustrated about.) So, when I flipped through this book, I noticed that he read about half way through. I’m thinking that either he read enough from this book that we grew together or the principles were so easy to discuss and practical to implement that I shared as I read and they resonated with him, too.
Just one of the nuggets we mined from this treasure trove of wisdom was the idea of asking your spouse every single day, “How can I honor you and bless you?” LeRoy has been devoted to asking this question ever since, (16 years?), and here’s what happened: my three boys began asking me on a regular basis, “Mom, how can I honor you and bless you?” (Way to be amazing, LeRoy! I so admire what a loving husband you are and an awesome example to our sons!)
So, 3 stars.
And I highly recommend this book for every married couple and anyone who thinks that maybe they’d like to be married one day.
5. Safe Haven Marriage: Building a Relationship You Want to Come Home To by Dr. Archibald D. Hart and Dr. Sharon Hart Morris
No rating — I haven’t read it yet.
Oi. So this is what will happen when I come to a book that I haven’t read yet, but really want to read at some point in the future. I’ll sit here and stare at the book, get a bit overwhelmed momentarily, and then start a “To Read” list, mark it with a bright pink tab and set it back on the shelf.