In the past few years I have read some excellent books on marriage. I try to read a book on marriage at least once a year, but for a lot of years that did not happen. I hardly read anything outside of my Bible reading and quiet time (and school work for the kids).
I realized that if I am not reading, researching, studying, and seeking information to improve, my marriage would stay fairly stagnant. not necessarily in a bad place, but not getting any better. A couple years ago I started chasing after a new high water mark and these books made a difference in where our relationship is today:
Cherish by Gary Thomas. The description of this book captured me before I even opened the cover. "The one word that changes everything." It challenged readers to get beyond love and life-long commitment to make marriage something fresh and beautiful and life giving.
I realized that my approach to marriage had been to stick it out regardless, but this book woke me up to the fact that marriage could and should be a passionate adoring even beyond the first few years. I like my husband, I love my husband, but this book started to stir again a cherishing that our relationship had seen fizzle.
Took me a year to read another book, and this one came to the top of my book list when I felt like the differences in our marriage were making it difficult for me to truly cherish even when that was so much what I craved.
Dealing with the Elephant in the Room by Dr. Mike Bechtle gave me some practical tips to talking about some of the hot topics and relational strains that were preventing our marriage from continuing to thrive and grow. Maybe you have a different hot topic, but for us the whole area of how to productively discuss areas of conflict had grown burdensome. Practical tips from this book kept us talking and moving closer.
All the books in the world will do nothing if you are not lifting up this life-defining relationship in prayer regularly.
We both come from Christian backgrounds, and saved sex for marriage, but that doesn't mean we aren't without baggage and barriers to complete sexual intimacy. Definitely a much needed spark at the perfect time. Could have been read together, but instead I read it and bookmarked throughout. We would then discuss the talking points and highlights in some of the sweetest conversations we have had in our marriage (not all easy conversations I might add, but needed ones, and moved us closer in the end). I have kind of known before, but have never realized to this extent how critical a healthy, united view of sexual intimacy is to the rest of married life. Can't fully express how important it has been for us to be on the same page and thankful that this book helped us get there.
Those are just a few of the books that have grown our marriage in the past few years. Most importantly, I have refocused the need to be a student of my husband. He isn't the same man I married 25 years ago, and I am not the same woman (Thank God for that!) I can't let up or think we have arrived. Where we find ourselves now is amazing, but we also continue to press on to even greater days. Praying the same for each of you.