Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Self Help Books on Marriage

The following question was posed by a reader: “Is it possible to get sufficient help for one’s marriage by reading a self-help book on the subject?”

My highly regarded, well researched, well documented, and highly scientific response is “it depends.”

Unfortunately most of us believe that it is our spouse that is the primary cause of a less than satisfying (not to mention less than God glorifying) marriage.  Thus when we read something it is with our spouse in mind, i.e. they need to read this, they need to apply this, etc.  Before we know it we have highlighted half the book, all having to do with our perceptions of how our mate should change.  This will NOT work!

We must take into consideration the condition of your marriage, the credentials of the author and the specific methodologies being recommended.

Obviously I have a bias.   Based on my experience as a husband and counselor and the writings of some highly intelligent, well regarded authors – I believe the number one problem in all marriages is self-centeredness.  So if the self-help book helps you to recognize your personal contribution to the condition of your marriage and motivates you to change then it would be worth a try.

Problems stemming from poor communications, an inability to resolve conflict, intimacy issues, financial concerns, raising children, and/or problems with the in-laws are all heart problems.  

Most often a heart problem means that something or someone has taken up residence in your life as your messiah, to be distinguished from The Messiah.  Be it possessions, happiness, comfort, power, the need to control, etc.  Heart change comes about when you confess to God the need to change (i.e. repentance) and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in your life.

You can only change you.  Though you may influence your partner most likely they won’t be too impressed by what you have read and how you think it applies to them.

Superficial approaches that don’t deal with the heart issues that are at the core of the problems will most likely be beneficial only if your problems are not serious and can be dealt with using mere behavioral changes.

The best and most reliable “self-help” book on marriage is the Bible.  If you are talking about reading it and seeing how you can apply its principles to you specifically and not your spouse, then go for it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the book reviews! I think I am going to read "Sacred Marriage" first. I am also reading a book you might want to review. It is called, "Being You: How To Live Authentically" by author Gerard M. Doyle. It is a non-fiction self help book to show readers how to be confident and live life without fear or anxiety. Fear and anxiety are something that I struggle with all the time. I am learning so much from reading it!


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