If you knew your marriage would improve by thanking your husband for unloading the dishwasher or going to work each day, would you do it? If your husband knew you would be happier if he just put his arm around you in Church or held your hand, what would he do? What if you knew your marriage would be happier if you and your husband just spent more time doing things together?
I was absolutely fascinated by Shaunti Feldman‘s new book, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages. Ms Feldman did some intensive research on what behaviors created marriages where both partners were highly happy. I am not an expert in research, but she goes into great detail on her methodology.
That particular section was a little slow to slog through, but the fact that she partnered with a well known researcher at the University of Virginia was all I really needed, to accept the rest of the information in the book. If you are interested in that sort of thing, you will find plenty to fascinate you. If not, I would suggest skipping the entire portion so you don’t give up before getting to the important part of the book.
Feldman is quick to point out the behaviors her research found would not help marriages in grave danger because of things like abuse. Interestingly, her research found there are actually very few marriages that would not be improved by her findings. These “critical” marriages only make up a very small portion of marriages in our country.
The thing I loved about this book was that everything she suggested was very concrete and “doable”. In fact, I found myself wondering why married people don’t just do all of these things intuitively. Feldman mentions many of these behaviors we do know work, because that’s how we behaved while dating. Real life though, has a way of convincing us to take a lot of short cuts for survival. Unfortunately, some of those short cuts are keeping us from having highly happy marriages.
The book seems so straightforward and easy, it would be tempting to try to correct all of your behaviors and attitudes at once. I think Ms. Feldman is wise to encourage her readers to just focus on one or two corrections at a time until they become a habit again. Then gradually add others. The great thing about everything she suggests, is that you can make your shifts without any participation from your spouse. One spouse shifting seemed to cause the entire marriage to begin to shift in the right direction.
I strongly encourage you to read this book and try her suggestions. It can only help your marriage. You may find it is a lot easier to have a great marriage than you realize. I will warn you though, you will have to make at least two major attitude shifts that run against what society would encourage. If you can do those godly attitude shifts, I am pretty sure things will begin to improve in your average marriage. After you have read the book and tried her suggestions, I would love to hear what happened.I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I loved it and plan to start tweaking some of my own behaviors immediately!