It’s only February, so it’s not too late to add to those resolutions that we’re…uh…all keeping so well. Kidding! But if you haven’t already, resolve to read more with your spouse this year! The principles and suggestions in the books that my husband and I have read together have truly stuck with me. Plus, just like in every other area of life, the more educated we are on a subject, the better prepared we are for it. So let’s add some feathers to our marriage caps, shall we?

 

1)    The First Five Years of Marriage: Launching a Lifelong, Successful Relationship

 

This book was actually a gift to my husband and me from a counselor. After one too many arguments over who did and didn’t do what, Omari and I found ourselves on a counselor’s couch, trying to figure out where we would go from there. After listening to both of us pour out our frustrations over the mundane complexities of living together, the counselor picked up this book with a smile. He highly assured us that what we were experiencing – tugs of war over who washed the dishes, who balanced the budget, and the like – were typical squabbles that most newlyweds face; and more importantly, that these were issues that we would be able to triumph over.

 

He explained that the first five years of marriage are the most important. Statistics show that divorce typically happens within the first five years of marriage. After that fifth year, the occurrence and likelihood of divorce drop dramatically. Why is this? This is mainly due to the fact that within that timeframe, the “honeymoon” period, characterized by the “in-love” phenomenon of newness and infatuation, typically ends. Husbands and wives begin to realize that their beloved is imperfect, sometimes annoying, and a flawed human just like any other. This book is more like a manual or reader, published by Focus on the Family that helps guide new couples through those trying first five years.

 

2)    The Five Love Languages

 

This book by Dr. Gary Chapman is one of the best books I’ve read about navigating interpersonal relationships. I would argue that it not only applies to marriage, but to ALL relationships; I’ve even found success using the tactics he mentions in my professional career.

 

The idea is that every individual loves in his or her own language. We love, and expect to be loved, in the same way. The problem is that most husbands and wives do not share the same love language. Once we figure out our spouse’s own unique way of loving, we can experience a more fulfilling relationship with them, by loving them in the way that is most suitable to their needs.

 

3)    Strengthening Your Marriage

 

Here is the ultimate marriage workbook. The book, by author and professor Wayne A. Mack, takes on some of the most difficult aspects of marriage like spousal responsibilities, personal expectations, miscommunication and discord. Each chapter concludes with a set of questions for couples to complete together and discuss. But beware, this interactive read is not for the faint of heart. It requires husbands and wives to face some of their greatest challenges, but ultimately can lead to greater understanding and harmony within the marriage. If you’re up for the challenge, this book is for you!

 

4)    Renovating Your Marriage Room By Room

 

If you’re a nerd like me with a penchant for the idiosyncrasies of language, then you’ll surely get a kick out of this book. The entire book serves as a metaphor for marriage, equating it with a home in need of renovation. And indeed, every marriage could use some renovating. We all need to make sure that our marriage bricks are laid firmly, so that we have a solid foundation. For some of us, a careful inspection of each room in our marital house is due. No matter what the area is, Dr. Johnny Parker provides insight into how it can be made better. This book will help us keep the luster in our marriages.


 

Have you and your spouse read any of the books on this list? In what ways has reading with your husband or wife impacted your marriage? What other books should be added to this list? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

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