Thursday, September 2, 2010

9 Books to Strengthen Your Marriage

If there is one thing that I have learned in my nearly 10 years of marriage it is that marriage is not a cake-walk. Marriage requires commitment, patience, effective communication, and the almost constant repetition of the phrase "it's not wrong, it's just different".

Because so many people struggle after jumping into marriage, with both feet and all of their heart, here are some of the books that the reviewers of Reading for Sanity have found helpful in strengthening, and in some cases, saving our marriages.

For those people who are married and striving to stay that way:

Couples : How to Confront Problems and Maintain Loving Relationships by Carlfred Broderick - This book was particularly helpful in explaining the importance of knowing and understanding your partners marital "script" (ie. What your spouse thinks marriage should be like, based on what he/she saw in the home).  Once you understand where their expectations are coming from, it is much easier to talk about conflicting "scripts".

The 5 Love Languages : The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman - Does your partner feel love through quality time spent, conversation, a well-thought gift, kind words of encouragement, or through physical touch?  If you don't know, perhaps you should find out how to speak their love language!  The 5 Love Languages is a wonderful book that teaches you to love your partner in a way that THEY will understand.

Mars & Venus: In the Bedroom : A Guide to Lasting Romance and Passion by John Gray - While this book has some serious "cheese" in it, it is helpful in understanding the physical nature of the male sex drive (translation: why it is so dang important), the emotional nature of the female sex drive, and how to reconcile the differences between the two.

The Divorce Remedy : The Proven 7-Step Program for Saving Your Marriage - This book is designed for anyone who feels that they are having to save their marriage on their own. It gives techniques and suggestions that can be applied by one person (which, I imagine, is extremely helpful if your partner isn't speaking to you, let alone reading books with you).

Between Husband and Wife: Gospel Perspectives on Marital Intimacy by Stephen E. Lamb and Douglas E. Brinley - This book was written for LDS couples, particularly because many young LDS couples go into marriage with little to no knowledge of what goes on in a sexual relationship. It focuses on how to meet each others needs both emotionally and physically.

And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage Through Sexual Fulfillment by Laura Brotherson - This book is another written for LDS couples but I do believe any marriage could benefit from the advice--as with any book, pick and choose the advice that works for you. It has a strong focus on fidelity and making sure both partners understand how the sexual relationship is important for both a man and woman and how to get there.

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray - This is a fairly basic book about understanding the differences between men and women and focuses on their basic emotional needs, daily functioning style, and communication.

You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation by Deborah Tannen -  This book might be more helpful for the couple in trouble, specifically with their communication or lack thereof. It gets down to the nitty-gritty of how certain phrases or words affect men and women differently and can obstruct communication between the sexes.

The Portable Romantic : An Indispensable Pocket Guide to Creating Loving Relationships by Gregory J.P. Godek - This easy-to-read book offers 501 ideas to enhance the romance in your marriage.  Definitely a book to leave sitting open around the house!

and as an added bonus..

For those people who are single and looking:

The Real Prince Charming: Discovering God's Plan for a Lifetime of Fulfilling Romance by Michelle Raftery - This book emphasizes the importance of looking at long-lasting, eternal qualities, over those set by the world or the current entertainment industry.  Read the RFS review.

Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman - This book gives a broad overview of some of the conflicts that occur in most marriages after the honeymoon period is over. It is designed to encourage dating couples to realistically discuss important topics before getting married.  Read the RFS review.


Have you read a book that saved
or strengthened your marriage?
Please share!


historicman said...

I have never found a blog like yours before. This is really a wonderful collection of books.

MindySue said...

Wow! I hope you are serious, because that really means a lot! Thank you!


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