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The 20 Best Marriage Books That Will Change Your Life

By Dustin | Book & Product Reviews

Best Marriage Books You Need to ReadIt’s hard to believe, but this month marks the 7-year anniversary of Engaged Marriage!

Over this time, we’ve been blessed to interact with tens of thousands of couples across the world who share our belief that the best way to enjoy the marriage of your dreams is to get engaged and make it happen.

After publishing over 500 posts, getting to know most of the top voices in marriage and self improvement, and reviewing dozens of wonderful books, we’ve pretty much seen it all on the marriage enrichment front.

Today, we want to give YOU a gift in celebration of our anniversary and the incredible community we share here.

I’m excited to share the ultimate guide to the best marriage books in the world.

The Best Marriage Books You Need to Read

Here are the best books you should read to enrich your marriage and your life based on our own experience and feedback from the Engaged Marriage community.

In no particular order, here’s the list:

1. Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman

2. Happy Wives Club by Fawn Weaver

3. 15 Minute Marriage Makeover by Dustin Riechmann

4. Stripped Down by Tony & Alisa DiLorenzo

5. The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Gregorie

6. Marriage Rebranded by Tyler Ward

7. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

8. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

9. Pursuit of Passion by Jeffrey Murphy & Julie Sibert

10. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott

11. Sex Savvy by J. Parker

12. The Bible by God

13. The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick

14. Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Dr. Gary Chapman

15. Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

16. Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix

17. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

18. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

19. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

20. Boundaries In Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

Best Marriage Books

What book would you add to this list?  Tell us your favorite marriage book in the comments below.

5 Surprising Factors of Long & Successful Marriages

By Dustin | Communication

5-surprising-factors-of-long-successful-marriages“Until death do us part” is a time-honored oath declared in most wedding ceremonies, but this promise is often difficult to maintain as numerous challenges wreak havoc on your marriage commitment.

In a society where divorce has become normalized – even expected – how can you withstand those bleak statistics and experience fulfillment with that same person to whom you vowed “I do?”

The following attributes can infuse your marriage with longevity and vitality for a lifetime.

Social Media Does Not Replace Interaction

The rampant accessibility of various networking sites can help you connect with people across the globe, but avid social media usage could alienate you from the relationship worth sustaining above all others – your spouse.

In fact, research conducted at Boston University in 2014 found that a 2% upsurge in nationwide divorce might correlate with increased Facebook consumption by 20%.

So, don’t mistake digital messaging for actual conversation – humans are communicative beings, and your partner is no exception.

Balance Togetherness and Alone Time

Couples who pursue both individual interests and shared activities tend to experience an increased sense of compatibility, engagement, mutual support and positive affirmation.

That’s because each person in the relationship needs separate and conjoined outlets to preserve their own identity, while finding common ground with their spouse.

Bring your unique passions into the marriage, but discover a new hobby you can cultivate side-by-side – whether it’s training for a marathon or taking lessons on the ukulele.

Prioritize Education and Employment

Financial strain can provoke numerous marital issues – deception, anxiety, selfishness, resentment and distrust – but a conscientious view of your job can give your partner the security and stability they desire.

Moreover, 35% of employed people get divorced, compared to 42% of unemployed people.

Obtaining higher education also projects to your spouse that you are dependable, motivated, and goal-oriented. The Washington Post even reports 10% fewer divorces among those with a bachelor’s degree.

Conscious Choices Exceed Rash Decisions

When faced with transitions – pursuing a career advancement, beginning a family or moving to another state, for example – couples are more equipped to reach a mutually beneficial verdict when they discuss their options in a thorough, candid and respectful manner.

This approach helps you both fight the urge to react impulsively based on heightened emotions, therefore avoiding tension, arguments or consequences.

While change is inevitable, your response can either uphold or derail the marriage bond.

Use Inclusive Pronouns

Rather than telling your spouse, “I think” or “I need,” research compiled at the University of California Berkeley indicates that “us” and “we” communicate a more unified front – particularly in disagreements.

Using these words during high-stress moments can reduce feelings of division and promote conflict resolution instead.

So, the next time you find yourselves embroiled in combat, remember that “I” or “me” conveys isolation, but “us” or “we” forges camaraderie…a basic ingredient for overcoming obstacles.

There you have it – five ways you can proactively help to ensure your marriage is lifelong…and happy.

How to Be a Good Husband: Here is Everything She Needs From You

By Dustin | Communication

how-to-be-a-good-husband-here-is-everything-she-needs-from-youWhether you’re single, thinking of engagement, or have been married for years, your lover will appreciate these tips on how to be a good husband.

We live in a world where you can find instruction manuals for almost anything online.

But there’s no Haynes manual on how to be a good husband.

We also don’t come into this world instinctively knowing how to do it.

With a 40-50% projected risk of divorce, it looks like a lot of couples could use some help.

The good news is, being a good husband is a skill you can learn!

Follow these tips and 10x your relationship!

1) Remember that she can sense how you’re feeling.

Men aren’t mind-readers. And while they’re much better at reading between the lines, neither are women.

But they can sense a shift in emotions. So if you’re in a bad mood, feeling resentful, or bitter, she’ll pick up on it.

Body language, tone of voice, choice of language – she’s unconsciously reading all of it, all of the time.

She might not even know she’s detecting your feelings on a conscious level. But she’ll react to them all the same.

So far, that sounds pretty negative. But the solution is surprisingly simple. If she’ll pick up on your bad emotions – she’ll also pick up on the good ones.

Respect her. Be authentic. Be honest.

This is particularly important if she senses something is wrong. If she asks you what’s up, don’t ignore her, even if you’re worried she won’t like the answer.

Howard Markman, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies, believes that “nagging is an enemy of love”.

2) So, don’t turn her into a nagging wife.

Be honest. Do you ever complain to your friends that your wife won’t stop nagging you?

Well if you want to be a good husband, then your first job is to realize that you’re not infallible.

If she asks you to do something, do it. Don’t keep putting it off until she has to ask you a million times.

She’s only nagging you because you’re ignoring what she’s asking.

You may get home from work and be too tired to do what she’s asking.

But think about it from her point of view. She’s probably been at work all day too,

Yet she’s still expected to do the household chores, make the meals, look after the kids, and clear up after you.

If you want some time to yourself to unwind, then why would you expect anything less for her?

Step up and take some of the responsibilities off her shoulders. That’s how to be a good husband.

3) Involve her in your struggles.

Maybe you’ve had an awful day at work. Perhaps you’re in a terrible mood for any number of reasons.

You already know she’ll be able to tell. So involve her in what’s wrong.

Tell her about your day. Ask her advice.

Just let her know your mood has nothing to do with her.

Simply talking about it might lift your burden. Or she might have some useful suggestions.

Making her feel like you’re a team to tackle problems together is an easy way to strengthen your relationship.

By the same token, when she talks about her problems, don’t offer to solve them for her.

And certainly, don’t tell her how she should have acted.

Just listen, and let her know that you care.

It’s a cliche but it’s true – a problem shared really is a problem halved.

4) She wants to feel wanted.

It’s sometimes a common misconception that men are more interested in sex than women.

That’s not true. It’s just the case that men are more vocal about it!

Flirt with her. Make her feel special.

Don’t make her feel like sex is an obligation or a chore.

This goes back to #1. If you’re resentful or critical of her, she’s not going to jump at the chance to jump into bed.

But if you show her you appreciate her, and you value who she is, she’ll naturally be more positive towards you.

Listen to her when she’s talking. Ask questions about her day. Pay her compliments even if she doesn’t ask for them.

Sneak love notes into her purse. Find out her favorite food and prepare it for her to take to work for lunch.

Or, offer to make her dinner. Take her to that fancy new restaurant that’s getting rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

You could really put some proper thought into your anniversary plans. These 5 gestures will mean more than a box of chocolates ever will!

If she feels more emotionally fulfilled by the relationship, then she’ll be far more loving towards you.

5) Remember why you wanted her in the first place.

There must be a reason you chose her above all other women.

It’s easy to lose sight of that after you get married. The novelty wears off and the daily grind sets in.

You start to rub each other up the wrong way. She criticizes you, so you snap back. You want her to feel bad too.

STOP.

Talk to your friends about how they saw your relationship when you first got together. Look at photographs. Watch any videos if you have them.

And don’t just look at how she’s changed. Look at how you’ve changed. Is it for the better, or worse?

This is also an exercise you can get her on board with, especially if you’re both frustrated with each other.

Turn it into an adventure.

Go on an emotional journey together to find your way back to the people that you were.

Have dates in unusual places. Get to know each other again.

She’ll appreciate the effort that you’re making.

6) Most of all, learning how to be a good husband is just step 1!

Reading about it is one thing. Putting it into practice is quite another!

Put some effort into planning an anniversary celebration.

But always involve your partner in everything. She’s your partner, not your property, trophy, or servant.

Listening to her should be at the heart of your lives together.

Make no mistake, she needs to listen to you too. This goes both ways!

So make an effort to have time together without interruptions. Put your phones away, turn off the TV, and just talk.

Really listen to each other, too. Don’t spend all of your time just waiting to speak.

Practicing mindfulness could really help you, especially the use of deep listening. You’ll hear things you’ve often missed in the past – and you’ll get to know her so much better as a result.

It’s true that following all of these steps will take time and effort. If you’d like to kickstart your journey with a peace offering, then consider one of our beautiful gifts for her.

Good luck!

dr-carissa-coulston-relationship-psychologistDr. Carissa Coulston is a Clinical Psychologist with over 30 research publications in high standard medical and psychiatric peer-reviewed journals. She has experience in managing a wide range of problems within the Psychology spectrum from common everyday issues such as stress and anxiety, to more chronic and severe mental health conditions.

Carissa writes a regular blog on relationship management and helps people deal with various problems they face in relationships, offering advice on how to resolve difficult situations, strategies to cope with and move past painful and disappointing experiences, and tips on how to improve the overall quality of relationships to achieve happiness and fulfillment.

Seven Bedtime Routines to Get Your Marriage Glowing

By Dustin | Romance

seven-bedtime-routines-to-get-your-marriage-glowing

Some people believe that the day actually starts with the evening before, and this is not a bad way of looking at life.

Having a good night’s rest is essential if you want to be on top of the word when the sun comes up. And the best way to have a good night is to pay attention to your bedtime routine.

Yes, bedtime routines are not only for kids, but each and every one of us can benefit from a healthy routine, and especially if we are married.

In fact, the quality of the bedtime routine of a married couple may indeed be an accurate indicator of the quality of their marriage relationship.

If you have been married a few years and you feel the sparkle has somewhat evaporated, then have a look at these seven bedtime routines and see how you can bring back a healthy glow to your marriage.

1. Get to bed together at a decent hour

Many people who are now divorced will tell you that they very seldom went to bed at the same time as their spouse.

One would stay up late watching TV, or catching up with work, while the other went to bed.

Bedtime is one of the most important and special times of the day, so if you aren’t together then it probably means you aren’t together much at other times either.

Going to bed together, and not too late, is a conscious decision you can make to show each other that you choose togetherness rather than the slow drift of living separate lives which can happen so subtly.

2. Get rid of the gizmos and gadgets

Once you’ve made it into the bedroom, see it as a ‘sanctuary’ for the two of you.

If you have a TV in your bedroom, decide on a time when it goes off and stays off. And the same goes for your cell phones, ipads, tablets and any other electronics you might have.

If you need an alarm to wake up in the morning, make sure that is in place, but all the rest can go.

Surely you don’t want all those other people on the TV / Facebook/ Whatsapp or whatever invading your own private space with the one you love?

Do your marriage a favor and switch off all the gizmos and gadgets as part of your healthy bedtime routine.

3. Get caught up on your day

While you and your beloved are getting undressed, taking off your makeup, having a shower, and putting on your pj’s, it’s the perfect time to get caught up on your day.

Tell each other about your highlights and lowlights, your concerns and joys.

Keep this time for sharing how you really are, rather than the quick snatches of conversation you may have been able to have at dinnertime.

Conversation, or rather communication is one of the primary factors which keep a marriage relationship strong and close. No wonder lack of communication is also a major reason for the breakdown of relationships.

So talk, talk, talk, and more importantly, listen carefully to each other.

4. Get ready all day

Once you start enjoying this bedtime routine you may actually find yourself looking forward to it all day long. After all, the best foreplay is what happens before you get into the bedroom.

In fact, you can get ready throughout day by sending a loving little text message out of the blue, or perhaps a little note tucked into your beloved’s pocket or lunch bag when they’re not looking.

Then of course there are all the practical things that you can do to show how much you care, like loading the dishwasher, folding the laundry, or making a relaxing cup of tea for your spouse.

If you make a point of doing intimately loving and thoughtful things for each other every day, by the time you get into the bedroom in the evening, you will both know for sure that you are loved, wanted and desired.

5. Get in touch and stay connected

As one thing leads to another, don’t be afraid to try new ways of touching – with your partner’s consent of course.

There’s nothing like a massage to make you both feel relaxed, especially after a long stressful day. Help each other to unwind and enjoy the safe space that you have with one another where you can just be yourself and be refreshed to face the world again tomorrow.

Enjoy the privilege and blessing of intimacy and sex as much as possible in your marriage relationship.

Even when you drop off to sleep later, regardless of your preferred sleeping positions, try to stay connected throughout the night with at least one part of your bodies touching each other.

6. Get spiritually connected

But before you sail off to dreamland, don’t forget to say a prayer together or perhaps read a short portion of your favorite devotional book together.

A wise person once said that the couple who prays together stays together.

As human beings we are more than just a physical body – there is also the soul and spirit.

In this most intimate relationship of marriage it is vitally important that all levels of our being are connected and nourished on a daily basis. So make it a priority to get spiritually connected with your spouse as part of your healthy bedtime routine.

7. Get a good goodnight kiss

One last thing: instead of a mumbled ‘nite nite’ make sure you give your beloved a good goodnight kiss.

Even if you don’t say it in so many words, that kiss will convey the message that you enjoyed being with them today, that you wish them a peaceful night’s sleep, that you will be there throughout the night, and that whatever the day may hold in the morning, you will be there to face it with them.

 

Author Bio: Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage.

She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy, happy marriages. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Google+ and Pinterest.

The Art of Not Communicating

By Dustin | Communication

the-art-of-not-communicatingWe often hear communication in a marriage is everything, and that is indeed true.

But good communication doesn’t always require dialogue.

One of the most proactive measures I’ve taken to bring about a more peaceful marriage is to not talk.

Well, less than I used to anyway.

The reason this is important is that men are a largely silent bunch.

They speak far less than women do—research shows women talk some 13,000 words more per day than men!—not because they have nothing of value to offer but because men don’t talk just to talk. They think first about what they have to say and then ‘bottom line’ it.

That’s not how women operate.

To us, talking is second nature; and it starts when we’re young. Our girlfriends come over, and we talk for hours on end, or they don’t come over so we talk for hours on end on the phone.

Even as adults, a ‘girl’s night out’ is often filled with incessant gabbing. And if we haven’t seen a friend in months and then spend two hours together, we feel like we haven’t said squat. “We have to get together again,” we implore. “That wasn’t enough time!”

If you’re female, this will sound very familiar. A man won’t identify with this at all—although he may recognize it from his experience with sisters, wives and girlfriends. Women talk.

I once went to a ballgame with my husband and another couple. From the moment the other wife and I sat down, she and I turned toward one another and began talking. Half way through the game, we were still talking—and still facing one another.

The man behind us finally leaned over and asked what in the world two people could find to talk about for that long, especially in the middle of a baseball game! The truth is, we didn’t even know who our home team was playing.

Now I realize that’s an extreme (although 100% true) example, and I’m not suggesting most women don’t like baseball or would be as clueless as I was about who’s playing whom.

I’m simply demonstrating that talking is a largely female activity.

As a female, if I have a thought, I need to get it out. I love to talk! To communicate! To analyze! To dissect!

I could talk all day. I talk even when there’s nothing to say.

But that was not going over well in my marriage.

Men aren’t wired to communicate the way women do. They communicate in a different way, one of which involves—ironically—silence.

There’s a great scene in the movie Aloha when a military contractor named Brian is in his former girlfriend Tracy’s kitchen. Tracy is now married to Woody, an Air Force recruit who doesn’t talk much. When Woody walks into the kitchen where Brian and Tracy are chatting, he stares at Brian for a really long time. Then he walks over to him, looks directly into Brian’s eyes, and gives him a hug. Then he walks out of the room.

Lamenting her husband’s quiet nature, Tracy says to Brian, “See what I mean?” But Brian tells Tracy she has it all wrong and proceeds to tell Tracy everything he got out of the “conversation” between him and Woody—all based solely on body language.

Men are very attuned to body language.

Your husband is deeply affected by your intonations and facial expressions, as well as by the way you walk. He’ll pick up on your mood before you’ve even opened your mouth. That’s the power you have as a female. Even when you don’t talk, you’re making a statement.

We live in a culture that celebrates the loudest among us. But the advantages of being quiet are manifold.

Not talking gives you the opportunity to collect your thoughts before saying something you wish you hadn’t. Not talking makes your husband perk up because that is his language. Not talking makes you a better listener.

If you’d like more insights on how to put this into practice (easily), be sure to grab this free communication strategy from Engaged Marriage.

So on that note, I have an experiment for you.

For one week, decide to keep your feelings to yourself. Every time you want to say something, zip your lip and think first: Do I need to say this? Weigh the pros and cons first.

Then, when you do speak, do so carefully and purposefully as opposed to just talking every emotion you have in order to release your frustrations. (You can call or text your friend for that.) After you’ve been quieter than usual for a week, watch your husband start to be more receptive.

Watch him instigate conversations with you.

Really.

Suzanne Venker

 

Suzanne Venker is the author of five books that challenge feminist narratives regarding men, women, work & family.

 

Her newest book, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage: HOW LOVE WORKS, will be published February 2017.

 

You can find her at www.suzannevenker.com.

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