Today’s post is practical reality, after all what good is Spirituality if it can’t also be practical? I may pray, and meditate, and fast but if I can’t get along with my own wife what good is it all? Marriage should seemingly be easy, natural, the right relationship, but sometimes it’s not and we need help. Bette Midler said it best, and I’m paraphrasing here, “If sex and relationships are so natural and easy why are there so many books written about them?” Because people are complicated and unique.
First let me talk to the men. Why would I read marriage manuals? So I can fix things, I am a man after all. I read my router’s manual, I read my welding book, I did my psychology homework and I can read my tax forms. I can read. I can fix things. My life is better.
I’m listing these in MY order but as usual anyone can read them anyway they like,….as the spirit moves us.
The first book to read is “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” A great beginning foundational book. When I first started to read it and I was all smug I’d be reading the man’s part and I’m thinking “That’s exactly like I think, that’s just how I feel,…..everyone knows that.” I actually yawned through the man’s part. Then I came to the women’s part. I read that thinking, “No, she doesn’t actually think that does she, how can she feel that? Oh, I guess that makes sense, I never thought about it like that before. So that’s why she does that, no wonder!!!” We are different;……very, very different. This book explains how.
One of my female friends was surprised that I had read it. She said that among her female friends the running joke was “it’s a great book. Just try to get a man to read it though.” Once I read one manual I had to read more. I had to be expert then and I was torn between being a great husband/humanitarian or being a great welder. I finally realized that putting two people together was a lot more rewarding then putting two pieces of metal together. I’m kind of joking here but even I can’t tell if I am or not.
The next book to read is “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerich. A great book advancing the ideas of the first book, slightly more sophisticated, very slightly. This is my personal favorite. This is another great book that actually tweaks the message of the first book. It shines just ever so subtly a light that further illuminates relationships. This book is Christian based so if that offends, read it any way. It may even come across that he is playing stereotypes, that is NOT what he is saying. Get the message anyway. While it’s a lot like the other book, his examples are different and he places a lot of emphasis on the man’s need for “RESPECT”. That’s why this book is different. In the polling for his conferences it was shown to the author that the reason the men even attended the conference was because “RESPECT” was in the title. Message to Women: EVERY WOMAN SHOULD READ THIS BOOK. If every time a woman wanted to tell her man that “she loves him”, she could stop and sometimes substitute the words, “I RESPECT YOU” then the world would be a much better place.
A third great book is “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Another classic. His book explains the way people(regardless of gender) actually express love. There are five ways that people usually express their love. Why this is a problem is because if you, the man, are using one way and she prefers another expression than it doesn’t work well. I’ll cite three examples. Some people like to give gifts, some people like quality time with one another, some people do things for the other person. There’s five but you’ll have to read the book to know the other two. If she wants quality time with her spouse and he thinks to get her chocolates and flowers then the love is being thrust past each other. Neither party gets it. If she thinks to do things for him(like cleaning his golf clubs) and he wants gifts, like basketball tickets or new garden tools then the love is being thrust past each other. Neither side gets it. This book helps each party figure out their own preferences and needs and then teaches each person how to love in the manner that the other person understands. Again it’s simple but complicated.
The last great book is Steve Harvey’s “Act like a Lady, Think Like A Man”. Mr. Harvey cites three “P’s” that are the obligation of every man. I’ll cite two of those. You’ll have to buy the book to find out the other “P” in addition to the woman’s own understandings. A man is supposed to Profess, Protect, & P______. How he Professes? He tells you that he loves you. He tells your parents and his parents that he loves you. He’s able to tell the whole world that he loves you. If he can’t then he’s just gaming you. How he Protects? If the lady gets insulted, or treated rudely or badly IT IS the man’s job to step up to the plate and protect her. Unless she wants to do it herself. He also protects with his castle.
Some of this may seem stereotypical. Some of it is. Your Husband/Wife may be different. Maybe the roles are even reversed. Humanity can’t be pigeon-holed and boxed in, but we can still read the signs to find our way and if we can find a better way than so be it.
For easy access I’ve listed these books on the right under Marriage Manuals. Enjoy.
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.