I am a reader, I won’t lie. When I found out I was going on a mission trip to Venezuela after high school, I read what I could about the country and even brushed up on my Spanish. When I found out I was having a baby for the first time, I poured myself into all the new mommy books I could get my hands on. My marriage, however, was completely off this cycle. I don’t know if my marriage just happened so suddenly (we had one of those 3 week military weddings) or if I really was so arrogant that I knew I would just rock at being married?! I didn’t begin pouring myself into marriage books until my marriage almost ended 2 short years after it began.
[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”2927″ align=”right” size=”medium” lightbox=”true” group=”army” title=”Ben digging a foxhole in WA.”] We made several mistakes as a newly married couple. My husband had lived the military lifestyle and so leaving his family to join up right out of high school was a no-brainer decision for him. Getting married and dragging his new wife 5 states away from the only place she had ever lived was much more challenging for his young wife. To top it off, I married an infantry soldier. That means that my husband would live out in the field for weeks at a time on the whim of his commander. I was left utterly alone in a new state, new city, and I had no friends. I was miserable. I made the classic mistake of calling my daddy (yep, daddy’s girl right here), and I called my best friend to complain about it. Like all good dad’s and best friends, they resented what this new husband was doing to me.
[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”2926″ align=”left” size=”medium” lightbox=”true” group=”army” title=”That’s me, shining those old, black boots.”] Within a few short months, he left the military and we moved back into my parent’s house as we tried to figure out what our next move was. Big mistake! I naturally returned to life before marriage, going straight to my parents to discuss my day with them and ignored the pouting man in the basement for being a hermit. Just 6 short months later, I joined the military myself and was shipped off for Basic and AIT. That was another 6 month separation. By the time I got out and we moved to Chicago for our undergrad work, we hardly knew each other. It was a stark reality to look at your ‘spouse’ and really not know them and really not like them. I entered some dark days, completely humiliated that I would be the first divorce in my family!! Thankfully, my husband wanted to fight for us and was stubborn enough to make me want to fight for it. We began reading books about marriage to each other, desperately trying to save this sinking ship. It worked! These are the books that have helped to breathe life into my marriage.
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
This is such a great book. It is not from a Christian perspective, but it was extremely useful concerning the differences in the sexes!! Men and women communicate and think very differently. This book did an excellent job of making these differences both good and humorous. This book helped me to be very straightforward with Ben when asking for things. I never again asked for things sideways or via innuendo. I spoke directly to him and made all requests plain. It helped us out quite a bit, I highly recommend this book for couples!
The 5 Love Languages
The first time I heard about this book, I thought it was hoky. But after watching my hubby teach the concepts at marriage retreats and listening to the intro video by Dr. Gary Chapman, I am hooked! I do believe that everyone has a ‘love tank’ and the only difference between feeling loved or not is how we are shown love. Some people feel loved when they are touched (hugs, kisses, holding hands), other feel loved when another person drops everything to spend one-on-one time with them. Learning and understanding what your love language is is very helpful. Learning and understanding what your spouse’s love language is is crucial to your marriage. You can hug your spouse all day long, but if they is not how they feel loved, you are not connecting. I highly recommend this book for couples. The survey is in the back to discover what your love language is. Right now this book is free to borrow from Amazon for all Prime members with a Kindle app/Kindle. Take a look at it and put the effort into a worthwhile cause: your marriage!
Love and Respect
I found this book VERY helpful! It was written after we had already been married for nearly a decade. The premise of the book is that women need to be loved and men need to be respected. It sounds so simple, but it was a real eye-opener for us. We chose to go through this book while Ben was deployed. We read the book and did the workbook assignments, then we discussed them during our phone conversations/email. It helped to to understand what Ben needed from me in our marriage and he learned what I needed. This book is currently available for only $2.99 for the Kindle version.
Those are the three must-have’s for my marriage. Are there any other books you would recommend to a married couple? Please leave me a comment below for suggestions.
This post is part of a blogging series on Love and Marriage. Go there to enter to win a gift card just for Valentine’s Day!
Linking in today with Serving Joyfully: Thriving Thursday
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