Improve Your MarriageI was asked by the author to read and give an honest review of “Improve Your Marriage: Don’t Overlook the Obvious.”  I was delighted to do so, and I really enjoyed reading this book.

I thought this would also be a fun way to reward you guys with a little gift for being loyal readers.  So, I will be randomly selecting one lucky winner from the comments on this post and sending them my very gently used copy of Improve Your Marriage for free.  If you think you’d enjoy reading this book, but you are not the lucky winner, you can buy it from Amazon using any of the links in this post.

In order to be eligible for the free book giveaway, simply leave a comment below stating your favorite “simple piece of advice” for marriage.  And, if you’d like one bonus entry, please Retweet this post to your Twitter followers using the button at the bottom of the post.  Just be sure to leave your comment by Friday January 29th at noon central time because that’s when I’ll draw the winner.

Now for the Book Review

Let me just say up front that Improve Your Marriage is not a “normal” book.  I really don’t think most people would sit down and read it cover-to-cover like most books.  Instead, I viewed it as more of a compilation of short quotes or words of wisdom.  In fact, if it had a bit of a catchier cover design and a larger format, I think this would make a great coffee table book for casual browsing.

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In its current smaller paperback format, I think this book functions best as a sort of “daily devotional.”  There are generally three or so short pieces of advice or thought-provoking phrases on each page.  If you simply read one page worth of material each day, spent some time reflecting on it, and then applied it to your marriage and life that day, I think you could realize some real benefits.  With 226 total pages, you could casually work your way through the book over the course of around eight months.  At that point, you may even want to start over or just deeply reflect on one phrase at random when you need a little introspection or inspiration.

In general, you are not going to find any earth-shattering, scientific or deeply spiritual passages in Improve Your Marriage.  Instead, you’ll find straightforward and simple (“obvious” to borrow the author’s word) advice and encouragement to remind you of the good things you already know.

I read nearly every phrase in the book casually over the past several weeks, and there were numerous passages that I found worthy of deeper thought.  The topics center largely around communication but they delve into sex, money, parenting, romance and all of the other goodies we talk about regularly here at Engaged Marriage.  Here are a few examples of the phrases provided on a given page on the book:

From pg. 100:

Sometimes a wise financial purchase is a ‘frivolous’ one.

Shake up your daily routine. Try something new. With and without them.

Stop making everything about you.  Or, about them.

From pg. 195:

Rationalization can eventually become reality.

Starting an argument simply to get their attention is both foolish and harmful.

No one is always late unless they do not care about the other’s feelings, or they wish to ‘pay them back’ for something real or imagined.

I am sure you did not learn anything new by reading these six passages.  However, I’m sure you can see the benefit in reflecting on them and making a conscious effort to be a little better to your spouse on a given day as a result.  To me, that’s what this book is all about.

The Bottom Line

So, the bottom line question to any reviewer is, “Would you buy this book?” and I am an honest guy.  My answer is “no” but my reasons should be considered.  I am not a “daily devotional” type of guy, and I genuinely prefer to spend my time reading “normal” books that consists of chapters, stories and running themes.  So no, Improve Your Marriage is not a book that I would personally buy if I picked it up at the bookstore.

However, if you enjoy this type of reading, I would encourage you to check it out.  If you are a reader of Engaged Marriage, I think it’s safe to say that you have an interest in improving your marriage and being intentional in that effort.  If you think you would benefit by reflecting on some simple thoughts each day and applying those to your own relationship, then by all means pick up a copy of Improve Your Marriage and start working your way through it.  Encourage your spouse to do the same.  And if you both live out the “obvious” principles presented by Mr. Irving, I think you’ll certainly be on your way to improving your own marriage.


About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. If the tone or meaning of something is ambiguous, always assume it was meant with the best possible interpretation.
    .-= Jason@LiveRealNow´s last blog ..Budget Lesson, Part 5 =-.

  2. Remember that you not only love this person, you also married them because you LIKE them. Do something daily to remind them of that.

    I choose to lovingly make my hubby’s lunch for work every day and often tuck a note inside. Even though the notes are pretty similar most of the time, I like to think it makes him smile and know that I continue to love him, even if I’m tired and crabby and the house is messy and our two boys are screaming and I didn’t have two seconds to talk to him before bed.
    .-= Krystal´s last blog ..Body After Baby update =-.

    1. Krystal,

      Great ideas! I found over the years that too many married folks forget the LIKE part of the relationship. As well as the power of simple, kind and loving acts.
      I hope you keep posting to Dustin’s site and that you join our Community Forum at the book’s website.


  3. The best marriage advice I have heard it the “If one whistles, the other must” so when an argument is getting heated, or there is a lot of tension, one person starts whistling and the other must follow. It’s really hard to be mad at someone you love when you are both whistling the same tune!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Goal #9: Streamline My Work =-.

    1. Laura,

      Great advice!
      See how ‘obvious’ and simple a very valuable piece of information can be.
      We tend to over-complicate matters. Sometimes because we believe that the obvious will not work. Other times because we want something that does not cause us to giv eup something or do something we do not wish to do.
      I hope that you continue you rblog and visiting Dustin’s and join my Community Forum.
      Good wishes!


    1. Megan,

      How true. (You will find something akin to this in the book and through the website.)
      And, it is especially true when speaking with parents/ other of your family members. Once things resolve with your spouse, it is extremely difficult to change the family’s view of them.
      I hope you keep replying here at Dustin’s site.

      Russ Irving

  4. Dustin,

    I commend you on your review of my book.
    You certainly were direct and I appreciate that.
    And, as I say in the introduction, there is ‘no such thing as one size fits all’. So that the book is not your cup of tea does not, as you point out, Dustin, mean that other folks will greatly benefit from it, as many have, already.

    I look forward to keeping up with your blog. And hope that you and your followers contribute to our Community Forum.

    Keep up the good work, Dustin!

    Russ Irving

  5. Just because one person is making more noise, doesn’t mean the other one isn’t hurting just as much.
    That’s something i try to remember if we are having an arguement, as I’m highly emotional and tend to cry. But just because I’m making more noise, doesn’t mean he’s feeling less hurt by the whole thing. He shows his pain in a different way, but that doesn’t make it any less

  6. Because this is a second marriage for both of us and we both have children from previous marriages, the best piece of advice I received was, ‘don’t keep score’. While I forget at times, (okay, a lot!) it is great advice.

  7. Neat! I am gonna check this book out since you recommend it, unfortunately things have not been going super lately in my marriage, and I am looking for a little guidance. :)Thank you!
    .-= Chris´s last blog ..Bridgestone Motorcycle Tires =-.

    1. That’s great, Chris. I really hope you enjoy it. I’m sorry to hear about your marriage issues. Please let me know if you need anything, and thank you for being part of the community here.

  8. Thank you to everyone for your awesome comments…such great words of wisdom here!

    And congratulations to Megan who won a free copy of Improve Your Marriage!

  9. I am very much interested about your book and I want to have it as soon as possible.. I’m getting engaged soon and glad to have your book. Thanks a lot!

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