Friday, October 25, 2013

Reading for My Marriage

A few years ago Mike and I went to a marriage seminar. The speaker recommended reading a book about marriage each year.

This is advice I've tried to follow over the last five years of marriage. It's so easy to take your spouse for granted as time goes on, and generally just become more selfish. Often I find myself asking "What's in it for me?", rather than "How can I best love my husband?"

Happy Day - 2008
Below are some books on marriage that I've found helpful, encouraging, and generally a good kick in the you-know-where. The last two (#4 and #5) are my favorites.

1. The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, by: Dr. Laura Schlessinger
I read this book last month after hearing about it through Leila's post at Little Catholic Bubble: Women: Save your marriage. In five minutes. Dr. Laura is known for her no-nonsense advice. Her in-your-face style takes a little getting used to. The book explains that husbands yearn for acceptance, appreciation, and approval from their wives. It offers lots of concrete examples of how NOT to treat your husband in various aspects of married life (by women who have learned the hard way). I would have appreciated a few more concrete ideas for how to better love your husband. Still the book was very helpful and convicting. Dr. Laura also includes many letters from husbands across the country. It touched me to read the words of so many sweet, good-hearted men who really love their wives, and are craving the same love in return.

2. The Power of a Praying Wife, by: Stormie Omartian
My mom read this book in her women's small group, and sent it to me. First of all, I love the author's first name! I smile every time I see it. True to its title, the book talks about how be a praying wife. First the book challenges wives to become women of prayer, who seek God first. Isn't that really what it's all about!?! Second the book explains how important it is that wives cover their husbands in prayer in all aspects of life: faith, career, decision-making, fears, friendships, health, and many more areas. The best part is that at the end of each chapter there is a prayer to use in praying for your husband.

3. Three to Get Married, by: Fulton Sheen
Fulton Sheen is the best. His writing style is so clear. Sheen presents the beautiful nature of marriage, explains God's plan for marriage, and offers profound yet simple reflection on how couples can fulfill their vocation to holiness. True to Fulton Sheen's characteristic style, the book is full of many one to two sentence quotes that stop you in your tracks and make you think. He also explains how marital love images the Trinity, and how God must be the foundation of every marriage.

4. Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs, by: Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
A church friend, married many more years that I, recommended this book a few years ago. I loved it. The basic premise is that women crave love and men yearn for respect. My favorite part is the practical organization and advice of the book. The first section describes specific ways in which women desire to be loved. These ways are based on the acronym COUPLE (Closeness, Openness, Understanding, Peacemaking, Loyalty, Esteem) and provide practical advice to husbands. Second, using the accronym CHAIRS (Conquest, Hierarchy, Authority, Insight, Relationship, S.exuality), the author provides concrete ways for wives to communicate respect to their husbands. The book has lots of examples from the author's life and ministry. Plus there are helpful appendices with even more practical advice. Yay!

5. By Love Refined, Letters to a Young Bride, by: Alice von Hildebrand
I came across this book while browsing in a Catholic bookstore. A lady came up to me and said it was a MUST READ. I agree. The book is a collection of letters from the author to a new wife. Each letter is short (2-3 pages) and to the point, making it easy to read just a few pages at a time. Some of the letter titles are: "Love is a great thing!", "It really hurt when he said that", "Who should sweep the floor?", "Our marriage just hasn't been the same lately", "I thought I knew how to love", and "I've been trying to pray more". I first read it after being married about a year and was amazed by how it addressed all of the little things we experienced in our first year. Paging through it now, I think it's time to re-read it. Definitely one of my favorite books on marriage!!

What are your favorite books on marriage? I would love suggestions for the future!


  1. thank you for sharing these! what a great goal to read one per year. I thought Holy Sex by Popcak was good and also his book For Better, Forever. And The Surrendered Wife (with complete reservations on her advice regarding sexual ethics, but someone strong in their faith can take the good and leave the immoral behind)...

    1. Those are good ideas!!! I really liked "The Surrendered Wife" too, it was another suggestion from my mom. I always think its funny that its a secular book with a title like that. I need to try "For Better, Forever" ....I'm glad to hear you liked that one. :-)

  2. Thank you for sharing these books! This is a favorite post for sure. :)
    My mom gave me Dr. Laura's book several years ago, but I never even cracked it. (Sometimes my mom has weird recommendations for reading.) I'll definitely check these all out ... THANK YOU!!

  3. I'm glad you posted this list. I'm thinking I could use a good kick in the you-know-where right about now. It never hurts to work on being a better wife.

    And I have to 100% agree with you about Fulton Sheen. Thought I haven't read the book you've listed, I just love, love, LOVE all of his stuff. In fact, we think he's so great, Fulton is one of our top picks for boy names. Hope we get to use it some day. :)

    1. Soooo glad you like the list. Fulton is an awesome name. I can just imagine a cute little "Fulton" running around. Praying you get to use it!!!

  4. Love #2! ... Actually, I never read the book so much as I skipped to the prayer parts. It helps to have some humble direction.