Marriage is hard work. You have to work at your marriage if you want it to be successful. I have heard both of those phrases before but I never knew what they meant. I mean really, what is the hard work? What are you supposed to do? I never really understood that and I still have yet to meet anyone that can answer those questions. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure out how I can put in the hard work. I started researching online and didn’t find much other than dating advice. I then looked for a book that would answer some of my questions and I found two books that will improve your marriage. I found both to be filled with tons of great advice that I have put into practice and the results have been good so far.
My husband and I will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this summer and we dated for seven years before we got married. And although our relationship is in a good place right now, that hasn’t always been the case. I think it’s normal for all relationships to go through ups and downs, especially when you have been together for a long period of time. I feel like we sometimes are stuck in a rut, stop feeling as appreciated as we would like and once in awhile, may need a little tune up. Some time to reconnect and check in with one another on the health of our marriage, can lead to uncomfortable conversations but it is necessary.
The first book I picked up is so popular, you have probably already heard of it, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman. I purchased two copies of this book and my husband and I each read it at the same time. When we were both done reading the book, we took the quizzes and talked about the results. My love language is gifts and his was almost 50/50 quality time and acts of service. So wow, we are on very different pages when it comes to our love languages.
What I loved about this book is that under each love language, it describes in detail what types of things your partner can do to “speak” your language. So it’s not like you read this book and then say, “Now what? What am I supposed to do?” And it also details why and how having your partner speak your love language impacts you emotionally. This has been so helpful in our relationship and I think it will be helpful in yours.
The second book that I selected is a bit more controversial, The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Now before you tune out, I know not everyone is a fan of Dr. Laura and frankly I wasn’t either. She has a lot of scandal surrounding her but before all of that happened, she was a best selling author, had a relationship advice radio show and was revered as a relationship guru. This book in particular was a recommendation by one of my favorite YouTubers, Jordan Page of Fun Cheap or Free. So I looked it up on Amazon to see what it was all about and hit the purchase button right away. It sounded like she might actually have sound advice.
And I am so glad that I did give this book a shot! Now some of you might think her ideas are outdated and anti- feminist, but if you really listen to what she is saying, most of the book is just common sense. And if you are open to hear her message, you will come to realize she is so right, on so many points. For instance, she tells her readers to examine their life and re- prioritize their spouse/ partner and family first. And as your top priority, you basically have to stop letting those lesser priorities get in the way of your relationship with your spouse and children. Put your man and your kids first. Seems simple enough. But I think a lot of women aren’t open to doing the things necessary to make that happen.
Most of us love our girl’s nights out and our jobs and our extracurricular activities. But if those things are taking up too much of your time and taking time away from your family, then you need to reevaluate how you are choosing to spend your time. And focus on spending more time with those people in your life that you want to make your top priority. Now I am not saying to go quit your job or not hang out with your friends, there’s no way I am giving up my margarita nights with my girls, but I am saying look at your schedule and cut back on some things that you can cut back on in order to regain time that could be better spent with your family.
The other aspect of this book that some women don’t like to hear is her overall theme of catering more to your husband. I guess some women feel that is a degrading idea and that as an adult, the man can and should fend for himself. That is true, he sure can take care of himself, but is it really that hard to make his dinner plate for him or pack a nice hearty lunch for him when he works so hard to provide for his family? I don’t think any woman would say that doing nice things for your spouse, even just on occasion, is a terrible idea. These things that may seem ridiculous to some women or a waste of time, are just small gestures that show your partner how much you care for them and that they are appreciated. And that’s really what men want, right? They want to know they are loved and appreciated. And it really doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to make his morning cup of coffee or to take the kids to the park to let him watch his favorite game on tv in peace and quiet. I think you get the idea.
So please give this book a shot. You can’t knock it, til you try it, right?!
Please let me know what you think about these two books and how you continue to work on your marriage. I would love to hear your advice so leave me a comment below!
I also want to throw in a disclaimer here that I keep referencing marriage and my husband, but I am speaking to all of you. Whether you are married or not, in a long term relationship, living together or not, heterosexual or homosexual, have a girlfriend, have a boyfriend, #itscomplicated, whatever your situation is, I think these two books provide basic relationship advice that can be applied to your situation. I keep using the terms marriage and husband because that is what my situation is, but my terms are easily interchangeable with your terms. This is my little space on the internet which is all loving and accepting of all peoples’ situations.