Goood morning!! It's a Monday which means not only is it incredibly hard to get out of bed, it's time for our first installment of Marriage Mondays! I blogged a little bit about this last week, sharing my hope to start a blog series that encourages marriage, healthy relationships and gives couples resources to make it happen! Marriage isn't something that just happens, you have to work at it! But that doesn't mean it can't be fun! So I hope you'll join me this year as I dig a little bit deeper into what it takes to be married. The good, the bad, and the ya know, married!
First up I wanted to share some of the books that have had a huge impact on our marriage over the past seven years. All read at various points of our journey to marriage, (dating, engagement and marriage) each of these reads have helped us to center and refocus on what really matters, especially for those times when we've felt like we hit a rut or couldn't move past a communication block.
Now I will say that many of these books put a heavy emphasis on faith and marriage. And for us our faith is a HUGE part of our marriage. And if you're not down with that, that's ok! I would urge you to find a book or BOOKS that speak to you, that encourage you and that help you move forward in your marriage. And if you have a favorite book that you've read, I'd love to hear in the comments below! Beyond that, all of these books offer tangible and meaningful words of wisdom that can truly help any couple to better understand their marriage, their spouse, how to grow their relationship and live life together. 1. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman -- I have to admit that when I first read this book I HATED IT. Honestly I thought it was sort of a cop out when it came to learning how to LOVE on each other well. But what I have realized over the years is that this book isn't necessarily about the different languages (I found it confusing because I could see myself in all the languages), but learning HOW your spouse, fiance, significant other, receives love. And often times it's NOT in the way that we think! The longer we've been married the more I've come to realize that Dave receives love in a completely different way than I do and in ways that I never expected! Definitely read this together or at least take the questionnaire at the end, compare your answers and honestly ask each other if you're giving love in a way that means something to your significant other! You might be surprised at their answers (and maybe even yours!)
2. The Most Important Year in A Woman's Life/Man's Life by Robert Wolgemuth, Mark DeVries, Bobbie Wolgemuth, Susan DeVries -- Dave and I read this as part of our pre-marital course and I've been meaning to take a look at it again all these years later. For us a lot of the information was revolutionary, especially in our expectations of what marriage SHOULD be like. The book reads like two, with half of the book dedicate to women and the other half dedicate to men, meeting with a chapter in the middle. They touch on communication, sex, financials, family history and expectations for marriage. You might be surprised how your life BEFORE your marriage can play a HUGE role in your marriage today.
3. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas -- At times Thomas' writing can be a bit stuffy, long winded and a little "preachy", but his message is clear and something that I think a lot of people can relate to. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who is engaged or newly married. It really helps to give you a healthy outlook on what marriage is. At the end of the day, Thomas wants couples to understand that marriage is not about fairytale endings and being swept of your feet. And while those things are not BAD, they are not why marriage was created! If you'd like to be challenged in how you approach and think about this marriage, read this book.
4. Red-Hot Monogamy by Bill and Pam Farrel -- Oh yes, I put that in here! And yes this book is exactly what you think it is about! But before you judge too much give this book a shot. Marriage can be hard, long and tiring, this book helps to give you the RIGHT perspective not only about sex, but about your relationship as well. Plus I got a bedroom remake after we read this book...Boo-yah! :-P
5. Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll -- So yes, Mark Driscoll can be a bit of a controversial fella but this book is not. Similar to The Most Important Year Mark and Grace cover all the major topics of marriage. Mark can be a bit "harsh" in his speaking and writing style but for me I really like it! He keeps things real, open and honest. So this book isn't about perfect marriages its about how to cultivate happy and healthy marriages! Each of the chapters in this book could probably be a book in of itself. I would recommend this book as a part of your library and not the only book you read on marriage.
6. The Marriage Book by Nicky and Sila Lee -- We read this book as part of a marriage course right around the six month mark of our marriage. Still on our "honeymoon phase" high we went in thinking that we were going to NAIL this marriage thing! Boy we're we wrong! And I'll admit as we read through this book, I felt a tang of guilt and disappoint that Dave and I didn't have a perfect marriage! We had so much to learn. But again like all the other books in this list, it isn't about perfect marriages, it's about lasting marriages. This book teaches how to START building a strong foundation to your marriage, one that will help you through those not so good times. I also find that Nicky and Sila's writing style is my favorite out of all of the authors listed here. The book is written with grace not perfection in mind, a truly freeing idea when thinking about marriage!
There you have it! My top marriage book picks (so far!). As an avid reader I'd love to hear if you've read any books that have encouraged you in your marriage! I'm always up for reading more! I think that is the key thing to remember as you navigate through this thing called marriage. The more you invest in your marriage the better prepared you'll be to handle the many situations that can occur in your marriage. It's not about a perfect marriage but one built on a strong and solid foundation!! Here's to some good reads and happy, healthy marriages!!