No matter how much confidence I have in The Marriage Vow Workbook and what we’re offering to couples, it’s still extremely gratifying to have an independent “authority” endorse our book. That’s precisely what I’m celebrating today–a wonderfully affirming recommendation for our book published in the Asheville Daily Planet independent newspaper. Marc Mullinax, M.Div., Ph.D., chairman of the philosophy and religion departments at Mars Hill College, counsels couples and helps them prepare for their weddings. As he writes at the opening of his article titled Work of love? It requires initial attraction, perpetual attention:
“One of my great pleasures is counseling couples for marriage, and assisting in their wedding ceremonies. I insist on the counseling part, for love is easy to fall into, but hard to make stay.
In fact, you cannot make it stay. There’s a mystery to love that defies formulaic principles for making it stay. Each couple has to work that formula out for themselves.”
He continues, his article, making numerous important observations about love and marriage, one of my favorites being, “To fail the tests of love in our lives means that we run the risk of living lovelessly. Such a condition is fatal to our souls, long before our bodies wear out.” Marc supplies many more gems in his piece, and I’m given to trust his advice.
Of course, one piece of advice I hope many will follow is his recommendation for our book. As he writes, “I’m recommending it to all those who are in love, and want to enable love to stay.”
Thank you, Marc!
I recently renewed my acquaintance with a book that’s had a significant influence on my life–Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, the classic relationship handbook by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. This book remains an essential addition to the library of couples who want to create loving, fulfilling, joyful and enduring relationships. The exercises in Part III of the book are themselves invaluable and can empower willing couples to deal with the challenges that arise in every relationship and, perhaps, eliminate repeated visits to the marriage counselor.
First published in 1988, I first came upon this book in the early 1990s. My second marriage had just gone down the tubes, and I was struggling to understand why. How could my former wife have left me when just a few short years ago, she was so totally in love with me?
It was not until I read Getting the Love You Want, that I realized I was relying on her to take care of me, to somehow make me whole, responsibilities she had not signed up for, needs that were impossible for her to satisfy. So I began a process of deep introspection: How did I help create the breakdown of my relationship and, ultimately, how I could go about initiating a more conscious relationship the next time around?
A few years later, a number of Harville’s exercises included in Part III of Getting the Love You Want played a significant role in forming the foundation for my romantic partnership with the woman who I would later marry, including:
- Creating a joint vision for the relationship–Being clear about what each of us envisioned for our relationship
- Mirroring–Learning to really hear what my partner is saying and letting her know I have done so
- Re-romanticizing–Sharing specific information with one another about what pleases me, what pleases her and agreeing to perform those acts of pleasure regularly
Today as I was re-examining Getting the Love You Want to write this review, I came upon the final exercise in the book–Visualization of Love. I instinctively began following the instructions–visualizing Shonnie as a whole spiritual being, who like all of us, has been wounded. And I imagined that the love I was sending her at that moment was healing her wounds. Finally I imagined the love I’d sent her coming back to me and healing my wounds. Afterwards I sat for a few moments in quiet gratitude–for my life, for Shonnie, for Harville and for the wisdom that he so readily shares with us.
Is Your Love on Target? Use “The Five Love Languages” to More Accurately Deliver Your Messages of Love and Improve Your Marriage
Picture a skydiver, guiding herself back to earth, aiming for a big heart-shaped target on the ground below. As she maneuvers her parachute towards a “bulls-eye” landing, a forceful gust of wind blows her off her mark and she lands in the tall grass nearby. Have you ever had a similar experience trying to hit a bulls-eye with love?
Well, if you want to do all you can to make sure your love messages hit their mark, you’ll want to read Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. It’s about communicating love so that the person with whom you’re communicating will definitely get your message, and you won’t be standing in the tall grass wondering what went wrong.
Below is my summary of The Five Love Languages. If you’ve read the book and want to comment, go for it! Or, tell us about another relationship resource you suggest we review for a future post. We welcome your input, so join the conversation!
Until then, may your love notes land smoothly and safely in your beloved’s heart.
In The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, Dr. Gary Chapman clearly explains his ideas:
- According to Dr. Chapman, there are five main ways to communicate love.
- Words of Affirmation — Language that clearly communicates that we are loved and appreciated
- Quality Time — Undivided attention and focused time that shows us that the other person really cares about us
- Receiving Gifts — Things we’re given–homemade or purchased–that let us know that we’re cared for and valued
- Acts of Service — Doing things for us or on our behalf, so that we are assured that the other person loves us
- Physical Touch — Touching, whether casual or intimate, that communicates the other person’s affection for us
- Each of us has a preferred way to receive expressions of love (our “primary love language”).
- To most effectively communicate love in our relationships, we need to speak the primary love language of the person to whom we want to show our love.