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Marriage Books


How to Improve Your Marriage

5.0 out of 5 stars Empowering Advice , July 20, 2008
"Words hurt. Words destroy. Words can kill a relationship." ~ pg. 66

"how to improve your marriage without talking about it" is not about a lack of communication, it is about more effective communication and an understanding of how fear and shame factor into a healthy relationship. From the minute I read the first page, this book started to make perfect sense. This book has many stories of couples in trouble and in each case the authors show how the problem is not about communication it is about disconnection.

Since men feel worse when discussing problems and women feel better, how can both partners feel satisfied? The authors show ways that women can reduce the triggering of shame in men and they show men how to reduce the triggering of fear in women.

To begin the discussion the authors show how marriage problems are actually a result of conditioning as a child. Boys are taught to suppress emotions while girls are rewarded for being emotional. In their discussions of how children are raised they give some good advice for parenting.

There is a revealing list of ways to shame a man that helps women to realize what they are doing wrong when they do talk to a man. There is also some good advice on dealing with anger and resentment. This book encourages you to take an honest look at your life to see if you can make more time for your relationship.

Instead of talking, have more sex. Could it be that easy? At the end of the book there is a secret formula to create more love in your relationship. Throughout this book there are many insights that will nurture your relationship. I tried quite a few ideas and they all worked in my own relationship.

So if you are tired of talking and you want to find ways to connect that are less verbal then this book may help. In the end, you still have to have good communication skills to make a marriage work, but giving a hug is a lot better than criticizing or making a partner feel fear or shame. According to this book, talking about your problems just makes things worse. Compassion, love and a deeper understanding of your partner's vulnerabilities can make things better.

~The Rebecca Review


Save Your Marriage


If you have thirty minutes to an hour to read this book and do the exercises you could be on your way to feeling better fast. Claire Hatch has a plan that works to simply melt your resentment away. She explains how resentment is undermining your relationship and what to do about it. There are many warning signs like perhaps you are becoming more irritated with your husband than normal. Maybe you don't feel understood or are always fighting. Claire also explains why women remember all of the negative things that happen in a marriage. Basically in this book Claire walks the reader through a step-by-step process to find relief. She also gently guides you in what to say to your husband for the most positive response. She also teaches women to get straight to the point for more effective communication. I really think this book will be useful to you and in a short time you will have a better relationship with your husband. After all, isn't that what you really crave? This book will lead you in the direction of more quality time and more relaxed communication.

~The Rebecca Review


Love Busters


5.0 out of 5 stars A Realistic Look at Marriage Today, September 28, 2009
"If you want to be in love with each other, you should place far more importance on mutual enjoyment than on trying to follow through on commitments that cause one of you to suffer." ~ pg. 214

Staying married can at times be very difficult in our modern age. You may feel like throwing your hands up and taking the easier route: divorce. If divorce is however not a feasible option for you then "Love Busters" may have a lot to offer.

Willard F. Harley, Jr. explains the dynamics at work in the typical relationship. He explains how our internal "taker" or "giver" encourages a variety of positive and negative behaviors. Throughout the book he gives real-life examples from his own practice. These are very revealing and help to paint a portrait of a successful or unsuccessful relationship.

Some of the topics in this book include a serious discussion about radical honesty, a revealing look at annoying habits and an extremely helpful look at financial conflicts.

Whether you are constantly arguing with your partner or you are in a new relationship that you hope will be successful, this book has a lot of good advice. I would especially recommend this book to newlyweds who want to beat the odds and stay married. You can either learn everything in this book from personal experience (the hard way) or you can use the wisdom in this book to build a very strong relationship.

~The Rebecca Review



Communication Code


4.0 out of 5 stars Communication 101 for Christian Couples, June 24, 2008
"The key to motivating another person is meeting that person's deepest need - love for her and respect for him!" ~ pg. 134

Whether you are in a fairly good marriage or in one that is falling apart, "Cracking the Communication Code" has a lot to offer. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs backs up his points with plenty of scripture references and gives advice based on wisdom gained from experience. He places an emphasis on listening, decoding, forgiveness, unconditional love and being thankful for your spouse. The main sections of the book include:

A Summary of the "Love & Respect" book authored by Dr. Emerson
Three Vital Truths for Better Communication
The Crazy Cycle: A Relentless Enemy of Marital Communication
The Energizing Cycle: To Better Communicate, Meet Your Spouse's Need
The Rewarded Cycle: The Unconditional Dimension of Communication

Dr. Emerson explains how couples get into cycles and shows how you can escape destructive patterns by showing respect and love. If you are fighting all the time then you are spending most of your time in the "Crazy Cycle." Couples who are giving love and respect are in the "Energizing Cycle." For those fighting to save their marriage through unconditional love, the "Rewarded Cycle" shows the way to conflict resolution and reconciliation.

This book is filled with inspiring stories of couples who have used these teachings to their advantage. At the end of the book there is a special section for couples who want to improve their relationship by speaking to each other as Jesus would. Imagining Jesus standing next to your partner can be a way to monitor your speech.

Most of the advice is for couples who want to learn to speak each other's language and who want to avoid fights. I did not feel that this book would be as useful in a very abusive relationship where someone is in danger. This is mostly for couples who are willing to work at their marriages together, although there is plenty of advice for anyone seeking to save their marriage on their own.

~The Rebecca Review


Give and Take


5.0 out of 5 stars Why Bliss Turns Into a Battle, October 17, 2009
"...people fall in love when their emotional needs are met. They fall out of love when those needs are no longer met."

Willard F. Harley, Jr. presents one of the most well thought out theories on why marriages go from bliss to a battle. I've read a lot of marriage books over the last ten years and this one is the best I've read. I'm amazed this doesn't have hundreds of reviews. Throughout the book Willard F. Harley, Jr. guides you through the stages of one marriage's recovery. The couple goes from a state of withdrawal to a state of intimacy after following his excellent advice.

In "Give and Take" you will finally understand the causes of marital disharmony and what to do about them. In this book you will learn how to adapt to marital needs as they change over time. I felt that there was some excellent advice about dealing with anger which can be deadly to any marriage.

So why do people who once loved each other end up feeling intense hate? Is it simply because selfishness takes over? That is part of the problem but what really made sense was Willard F. Harley, Jr.'s ideas about how each one of us has an internal "taker" and "giver." When we are in love the giver seems to be in charge and when we fall out of love the taker seems in charge. By balancing the desires of the giver and taker we can find harmony in intimate relationships.

I read marriage books constantly because I think they are one of the keys to staying married. This book goes beyond teaching basic communication skills and really gets to the heart of the matter. I can highly recommend this book to you if you are in a marriage where you feel you are likely to divorce because you are in a state of withdrawal. If you think intimacy is not possible then you will be impressed by the dramatic recovery one couple goes through in this book.

~The Rebecca Review


10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage


3.0 out of 5 stars An Analysis of Ten Couples' Interactions, September 28, 2009
"10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage" is based on the interactions of ten couples who are concerned about their marriages and are willing to do what it takes to create more harmony and love in their relationship. This book shows ineffective and effective communications as recorded in a "love lab" set up by John and Julie Gottman.

Each chapter begins with some background about the couple and then proceeds into a section where the couple has a real-life conversation. This discloses the main problems in the relationship and then John and Julie Gottman give their analysis on the situation.

Here are the situations these couples find themselves in:

Mike and Maria need to lose weight and find time to nurture their relationship
Candace and David are recovering from David's affair and Candace wants to know she is #1
Sam is a workaholic and Katie wants him to spend more time with her
Marilyn and Bob have developed communication problems since Bob has been retired
Steve and Denise want to go on a dream vacation to India
Kevin and Suzanne have financial problems and Kevin is depressed
Craig and Beth are caught up in an argument about dividing up household chores
Jack and Maureen feel their relationship lacks passion
Ron and Melissa don't have time for each other
Terry wants stability while Amanda lives for excitement

Do you see any similarities in the problems these couples are facing and the ones you have in your own marriage? By reading this book you will realize what is detrimental to your relationship and what to do to solve recurring problems.

I like that all of these couples were willing to make changes so they had more effective communication. It really was as simple as developing some new communication skills.

If you have noticed an increase in criticism, defensiveness, contempt or stonewalling you could be headed for divorce. This book could help you analyze your own relationship and find creative solutions so you can remain married to the person you love.

Here are some additional books I've found helpful in my own marriage:

Cracking the Communication Code: The Secret to Speaking Your Mate's Language

How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate

Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs

For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex

The Love Dare

The Secrets of Happily Married Women: How to Get More Out of Your Relationship by Doing Less

7 Stages of Marriage: Laughter, Intimacy and Passion Today, Tomorrow, Forever

The Secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wife's Heart Forever

~The Rebecca Review


Why Marriages Succeed or Fail


5.0 out of 5 stars Beware the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, December 9, 2009
John Gottman is famous for his marriage laboratory where he observes interactions between couples and analyzes their reactions and conversations. He has observed so many couples that he can now tell you with great certainty which couples will survive and which couples will divorce.

In this particular book he focuses on three marriage styles: validating, volatile and avoidant. In each case he explains the strengths and weaknesses and what happens to each marriage as it spirals downward. Can some couples fight quite often and be happier than a more complacent couple? Apparently fighting is not the problem, it is how you fight and how many positive interactions you have to outweigh the negatives.

"Why Marriages Succeed or Fail" is mostly a book about how to fight fair. There is good advice about how you should avoid certain instinctive behaviors (what you think of saying first - usually damaging) and choose a more carefully worded response during an argument.

I liked the information about how men and women react differently and how they desire different outcomes. Some men just want peace and quiet when they come home while some women really just want to know they are attractive and loved. John Gottman gets to the heart of the matter and explains what people actually want. Throughout the book there are real-life conversations which make the points very clear.

I can recommend this book to all married couples as it has some pertinent information about "The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse." This may sound scary but you should know what to expect when you start to be too critical, express contempt, become too defensive or start to stonewall. These are signs that your marriage may end in divorce sooner than you expect.

~The Rebecca Review




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