Shaunti Feldhahn is a Christian social researcher who has specifically studied marriage. I’ve never read any of her other books (For Women Only) but I want to after reading this book. She takes results of a study she did on highly happy, happy, and struggling couples, gleaning the habits that she found most prevalent in the highly happy couples and less in the happy couples and even less in the so-so couples.
Reading through the habits, I found that some of them bryan and I practice regularly (like being thankful for each other) but some habits I had never thought about as being important to him—when I mentioned them to him though, he said yes, certainly, please do those! One of which was praising him in public—I always try to be very encouraging to him, but I’ve never thought about going out of my way to praise him publicly.
Much of the habits had to do with attitudes and your own thoughts. The main idea of the book is that you should not aim to change your spouse, but to SERVE your spouse, like Christ does the church. One of my favorite habits that I learned from this book was to always believe the best about your spouse. When I’m upset about something, I tend to get in the poor-me way of thinking, believing bryan is out to get me, while in all actuality he LOVES me and wants the best for me! Changing my attitude before I allow myself to get really riled up about something has already made our happy marriage more highly happy the past couple of weeks, and it has nipped a lot of arguments in the bud.
Though this book can help make a happy marriage happier, I don’t know if I would recommend it for a truly struggling marriage or one that is dealing with major issues (like abuse or addiction). Most of these tips have to do with your own attitude, your own appreciation of your spouse, and the Christian principles of treating your spouse like Christ treats his church.
Feldhahn is a Christian and outspoken about her faith, but the book is written not only to a Christian audience. She backs up her “habits” with survey results, personal interviews with highly happy couples, and scripture. Some of the habits would not be applicable to a nonchristian couple (like keeping God first in your marriage!), but for the most part I think that any couple, whether they have been married twenty years or just got engaged, could benefit from reading this book.
(I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.)