As a general rule, it’s best to have all of your ammunition ready to go before the bullets actually start flying! It’s not really effective to say, “We’re taking fire! Now someone go and get me some ammo!”
Yesterday I wrote about the before-the-battle-starts strategies for your marriage. One of those strategies was arming yourself with some reading materials and strong, healthy friendships prior to the assault. I’d like to share with you some books Betsy and I have enjoyed reading together.
Love Talk by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. We’ve read a few books about the differences in communication styles between men and women, but this was the easiest to put into practice. The Parrotts contend that many of the hindrances to more effective communication stem from the fears we have: like the fear of the loss of connection with someone special or the fear of not being in control of our own lives, just to name two of them. Once I understood what fears I had, I could see why I closed off some areas of my heart and mind to Betsy. And when I knew what fears she had, I could be more sensitive in discussing those areas with her.
In addition to the book, we also purchased the workbooks which are specifically designed “for him” and “for her.” This helped us get some thoughts and goals down in writing. Betsy and I would each read the same chapter, work on the corresponding pages in our workbooks, and then find some couch time after the kids were in bed to talk. The combination of reading material and workbook gave us a great foundation to have some meaningful dialogue.
Wild At Heart by John Eldredge. This is touted as a book for men, so I read it first. But after I read it and begin to talk about the ways this book had so connected with me, Betsy said, “I think I need to read this too.” The subtitle to the book is “Discovering the secret of a man’s soul,” which makes it a valuable read for women as well.
Too many men today feel, well, unmanly. John does an excellent job in identifying the core needs every man has: to fight for a noble cause, to live an adventure, and to rescue his damsel in distress. It’s the stuff of all the epic stories and it burns within the heart of every man, but our society has asked men to become tame. When both Betsy and I read about the longings in a men’s soul, it resonated with us. I instinctively knew this was right, and Betsy had a whole new appreciation of my role as her knight in shining armor!
Intimacy Ignited by Dr. Joseph & Linda Dillow and Dr. Peter & Lorraine Pintus. Sex plays a vital role in marriage, but sex isn’t intimacy. Using the biblical book The Song of Songs as their main text, these authors explore the incredible intimacy that King Solomon had with his wife. They show how the taboos of intimacy within a marriage have been reinforced through the years, and what God really has to say about the white-hot passion that should exist between a husband and wife. A sizzling read!
Those are just a few of the books we have found helpful in strengthening our marriage. If you would care to share in the comments a book or two you have found helpful, we are always looking for more ammunition for our arsenal. Be ready for the assault on your marriage before it comes … fight for your marriage … it’s so worth it!