Note: Today’s post is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. You can find the introduction and links to the posts in this series right here. Additionally, this post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Have you ever wanted to attend a marriage conference or go on one of those marriage cruises? I know that in the past, I’ve felt bad that Jon and I have never gotten to participate in one of these kinds of events.
Before we get into today’s assignment, I’m going to share a bit of a bombshell here: I don’t think conferences and cruises about marriage are necessary for a happy, Godly marriage. Bigger bombshell: I even think these things can, at times and in certain situations, be detrimental.
“Climax of horrors!” you cry (from Agnes Grey, one of my absolute favorite books). “Did this blogger just say that a marriage conference could be bad for my husband and me???”
Here’s the thing: There is potential for marriage events to bring up things that may not be an issue in your marriage, actually causing you to worry whether or not your marriage is going well, when prior to the event, you’d never had any such concerns. This has actually happened to me.
Now, before you roll your eyes at me and determine never to read another post in this series, I’m NOT saying that all marriage-related events are bad or that you should never consider going on a getaway with your spouse!
What I AM saying is that I don’t want you to feel left out or less than if you and your husband have never gotten to attend an event or gone away just the two of you. And I’m also offering a word of caution before you go out and sign up for the next marriage conference you hear about.
Now, all of that was a preface to today’s assignment: read a good marriage book. (See? I’m not against everything that offers advice on marriage!) A well-chosen book from a trusted, Christian author can be a big blessing to your relationship with your husband. However, I think the same advice applies - don’t get caught up in fretting over something that’s not an issue in your marriage just because a book warns about it.
I’m not gonna lie: I’ve read a lot of books on marriage, many of which weren’t worth the paper they were printed on. But a few have deeply impacted my relationship with Jon for the better, and I’d love to share those with you.
You and Me Forever - this was probably the best book on marriage I’ve read to date. I especially appreciated the way Pastor Chan explains the depth of the husband’s commandment to love his wife as Christ loves the church. I don’t have anything negative to say about this book, and that’s saying something!
What’s It Like Being Married to Me? - another really, really good book on marriage from a wife’s point of view. Be prepared to have your toes stepped on in a really good way! There’s a segment in this book from a military wife about the ways in which she “washed her husband’s feet,” so to speak, when he returned home after deployment. Her testimony and selflessness was incredibly humbling.
Love That Lasts - this was the first marriage book I actually benefited from and felt was worth recommending. I appreciated that it’s written by both husband and wife. Their different views on the same instances was insightful, and, at times, a bit comical.
Feminine Appeal - I’ve long held to the concept that if something’s amiss in your marriage, the best way to address it is to begin with yourself. Even if the issue is 98% your husband’s fault, you still need to work on your own faults before addressing his. This book will go a long way toward helping with that.
(Caveat: the author’s husband has been under investigation for not coming forward with information on a child abuse situation. I do not ever condone keeping something like that hidden. However, I also do not believe in throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and because this book does not involve that situation at all, I recommend it with this caveat.)
The Excellent Wife - This book came across way too legalistic for my liking, but I recommend it for one very important purpose. There is a segment on confronting your husband when he is in sin that I felt to be Biblically grounded. Because of the commandment for wives to submit to their husbands, it is very easy for Christian wives not to speak up when their husbands are not walking in Godly ways. But this isn’t what the Bible meant when it commanded us to submit, and so I recommend this book for helping untangle the wrong ideas some of us have about Biblical submission.
(Note: I found a few of the examples in this book to be particularly off base. I recommend following her advice but not necessarily the examples she provides.)
The 5 Love Languages - I feel a little silly for recommending this book because it is so popular. I found it to be a little too psychological and not Biblical enough for my liking, but I also found it helpful enough that I’m tacking it onto the end of my list. I do think it can be very beneficial for you to know about the so-called love languages, especially if you can use that understanding to better communicate with your spouse. Just know that I personally believe there are many more than only 5 love languages (I would add “respect” and “listening well”), so don’t box yourself or your spouse into the 5 that are discussed here.
I mentioned at the start of this series that I would likely put my foot in my mouth at some point. Today’s post is one where that’s very likely to happen. This particular post comes with some very different advice than most people offer, and it also includes several cautions and caveats. I hope I’ve been clear enough about my intent, but if not, please feel free to reach out to me personally for further explanation! You can email me any time at email@example.com.
Have you read a really good marriage book that you’d like to recommend? Share in the comments why you love it and one of your greatest takeaways from it!