By Randy and Linda Myers
We’ve been married 35 wonderful years – well, most of them have been wonderful. All marriages have ups and downs and we are here to say we have experienced that too. The first few years were the most difficult as we learned to appreciate our differences. It’s crazy what can separate us. Early on, we had a big fight in the grocery store over which type of milk to buy. One of us was used to drinking 2% and the other wanted skim. I don’t know why we didn’t buy one of each (Guess we were tight on the budget and too stubborn to give in).
In no particular order, these are the books that helped us. (Note: There are links for each book title).
#1 His Needs, Her Needs (by Willard F. Harley, Jr.)
The author identified basic needs that a husband and wife need, including admiration, affection, conversation, sexual fulfillment, and family commitment. Wouldn’t you know it – the list doesn’t overlap. We each have different needs.
“Become aware of each other’s needs and learn to meet them.”
What resonated most for us was the concept of a “love bank.” We make deposits and withdrawals by the way we interact with each other.
(Linda) A big withdrawal for me was when I felt Randy put ministry before me but when I felt like a priority that became a deposit in my “love bank.”
(Randy) I was oblivious to my wife’s emotional needs. As I learned to show her affection and how valued she was to me, she became more responsive and loving toward me.
#2 Love and Respect (by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs)
This book is based on Ephesians 5:33, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Dr. Eggerichs states that a husband needs respect like the air he breathes and a wife needs love like the air she breathes. There were times in our marriage when we could scarcely speak a kind word to each other because we had built up so many resentments toward each other. We got into a power struggle and began “parenting” each other. It took a lot of humility, but we realized that our words and actions needed to change. Things improved in our relationship as we practiced this principle of love and respect.
#3 The Five Love Languages (by Gary Chapman)
This books identifies five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical touch
(Linda) My love language is acts of service. I love it when Randy helps me get something done. That speaks love to me. So, I thought when I cleaned the garage or mowed the lawn I was showing love to Randy. But that wasn’t his love language. He thought it was nice I did those things but it wasn’t what met his needs.
(Randy) My love language is quality time together. Sometimes I just her to be in the same room with me. I also like receiving gifts. Ironically, I brought home gifts to Linda but she didn’t seem that excited about them. That’s not her love language, but it speaks love to me. She doesn’t even like flowers that much. Figure!
#4 Fighting For Your Marriage (by Markman, Stanley and Blumberg)
The authors list four destructive patterns in marriages: Escalation, Invalidation, Negative interpretations, Withdrawal and avoidance
We were experiencing a rough patch in our marriage when a friend “just happened” to give us this book to read. As we read each chapter separately, we answered the questions and then used the speaker-listener technique they taught to share our answers with each other. The speaker holds a piece of carpet or linoleum to represent the floor. The rule is you can only speak if you are holding the floor. The authors explains the communication process so both people feel heard, safe and understood.
BEFORE YOU GO…
We know that God used these books at different times in our marriage to heal hurts and make our marriage stronger. We also know that we can’t stop working hard to maintain a healthy relationship with each.
What are some books that have helped your marriage?
Marriage is challenging and ministry marriage even more so. The Midwinter Retreat for Pastors and Spouses of the Pacific Conference will focus on building strong marriages amid the challenges of ministry. Registration is not yet open but we hope you’ll save the dates and join us for this time away to reset our priorities and reconnect with the ones we love.
February 12-14, 2018
Agate Beach Inn
5 Comments Add yours
Thank you for your openness. Thank you for making strong marriages an emphasis this coming Midwinter Conference. Thank you for sharing these resources.
Thanks so much for sharing like this. For us, Diana and myself less one book and more our practice of reading books together and then talking about them The discipline is usually one chapter a night. We take turns picking the book.
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You’ve always been a great reader!
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We are planning to have 4 couples share at Mid-Winter about their marriages.
Marriage Builder by Dr Larry Crabb is another great read!