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Marriage Book Recommendations

Here are three books I often recommend to people dealing with marriage problems.

If You Doubt Your Spouse Still Loves You or Your Spouse Doubts Your Love:
The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman

If Your Disagreements Turn into Loud Arguments:
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

If You Hit, Grab, Choke, or Belittle Your Spouse or Your Spouse Hurts You:
Love Without Hurt: Turn Your Resentful, Angry, or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate, Loving One


Do you have a suggestion for engaged couples who wish to keep their relationship as good as it is now? (besides reading your excellent blog!)

I do. (Pun intended.)

Every chance you get, offer to look together for Third Alternatives to some of your small disagreements, the ones you might otherwise concede out of love, and any big ones. If you ever find yourself doubting your mate's love for you, knowing from experience how well this technique works will make it easier to rely on it.

Watch your silent thoughts for these four words: "If you loved me..." They are four of the most incredibly corrosive words for a marriage. You don't know, cannot know, should not know how your spouse will love you. Expect Love, but not any particular way of showing it.

If you want something, ask for it. If your mate cannot provide it, ask for his or her help getting it elsewhere. Free your mate to love you freely and with joy. Free yourself to receive all the love he or she is capable of giving you.

If the thought ever crosses your mind, as it has crossed so many minds before yours, that you can improve an unhappy marriage by pulling back instead of leaning in or by adding a child to it, be prepared to sweep it away with a brisk broom.

Learn your mate's greatest character strengths and create frequent opportunities to use them in your play and in pursuing your shared goals. Use yours, too.

And spend more time planning your marriage than your wedding. Don't wait until the wedding to ask all your relatives with more life experience than you for their words of wisdom. Before you discuss the wedding budget, discuss the home you want to own, the flying lessons you want to take, the world travel you hope to do, the childhood you hope to give your children, and the retirement you hope to have. Make your first wedding album one of the childhood stories that defined the two of you. These will define your tenth anniversary far more than the photos of your wedding will.

And some books to read before the wedding: The Five Love Languages, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking about It, and The First Dance.

Wishing you two a fantastic marriage!

I have bought and read How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. It is an excellent book. I have requested The Five Love Languages from my library, it hasn't come in yet. Who is the author of The First Dance? I am interested in reading it, but am having difficulty finding it. Thanks!

Oops! The website is The book's title is actually Take Back Your Wedding, by William J. Doherty and his daughter, Elizabeth Doherty Thomas.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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