Books/ FAMILY/ Marriage

Two Books To Strengthen My Marriage 2012-Part 5 – Purposeful Living

Purposeful living Priority #4

These posts written by Todd (Amy’s husband) are designed to model a system of purposeful living.  At least once a month, he spends time setting meaningful goals around one of seventeen core priorities.

If you missed it, consider reading the foundation post – Purposeful Living #1.

Correct Priority
Priority #4 – Social Health – Immediate Family–Spouse (Social & Emotional Health)

Goal Setting & Reflection Date
February 2012

Invest in the social and emotional health of my wife and strengthen my marriage by reading and discussing two books with Amy in 2012.  The first book must be a mutually agreed upon marriage book.  The second book may be any book of Amy’s choice.  Specific goals include:

  • Mutually choose a marriage book.
  • Amy chooses a book of her choice.
  • Decide how often to read and discuss each book.
  • Develop a plan to ensure relevant discussion and dialogue.  

Goal Status

It took the entire year, but Amy & finished reading and discussing The Five Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman.  This is a book I needed to read.  Below is a summary of what I learned.  

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Most interesting is the idea that each love language has various dialects that differ from person to person.  It is not enough for me to know that Amy’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation.  I also need to know what specific words are most meaningful to her.  I need to understand her dialect.   

Through discussion I learned very specifically how I can best affirm and encourage Amy.  She doesn’t need me to notice and affirm her in every area of her life.  But she does appreciate it when I notice and affirm her in the areas she values most.  

I also learned that there are different kinds of affirmation.  This love language includes verbal compliments, encouraging words, kind words, and humble words. 

Words of affirmation do not have to be elaborate or complicated

{Words Of Affirmation Do Not Have To Be Elaborate or Complicated}

I especially resonated with the idea of kind words.  This has to do with the manner in which we speak.  There are times in a marriage when it is appropriate to communicate hurt, pain, or even anger.  But even these items should be communicated in a kind manner as an expression of love.  

I desire to make kindness a principle not only in my own life, but to see it become a part of our family culture.  An attitude of kindness should permeate all of our communication.

In addition to Words of Affirmation, I also asked Amy to explain her “dialect” in the other four love languages as well.  I now have a long list of very specific ways in which I can demonstrate love for her in a way that is meaningful to her.  

I have set some specific goals to improve in all of the five love languages over the coming year, specifically in the area of affirmation.  The end of each chapter in the book lists great ideas and I chose some of these to implement.  

But I won’t embarrass Amy by sharing specifics.  Suffice it to know that this is a priority for me in 2013.  


Thoughts – ORIGINAL
The marriage book we will be reading is The Five Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman.  My plan was to allow Amy to select the book, but instead I decided this is the book we needed to read.  Rather, it is the book I need to read.  I know Amy’s primary love language (Words Of Affirmation), but I still stink at it.  I am hoping that reading the book will allow me additional insight regarding how to do a better job of showing love in a way that is not natural for me.  

Thoughts – ORIGINAL
The first couple years of our marriage Amy & I read a marriage book together as a New Year’s Resolution.  By year three we discontinued this tradition and I’m not sure we have read a book together since.  It is easy to get lazy in marriage (especially for men).   

During some reflection and goal setting focused on my wife I decided it was time to bring this tradition back.  

Strong marriages don’t just happen by accident.  They need to be nurtured through commitment and sacrifice.  

Reading a marriage book together is an opportunity to prioritize our marriage.  It will allow us to focus on what is important to keep our marriage strong.

Reading a second book of Amy’s choice is an opportunity to enter Amy’s world.  It is an opportunity to learn what is important to her and show her I care about the details of her life.

Reading a marriage book with Amy won’t by itself lead to a perfect marriage.  Reading a book of Amy’s choice won’t by itself patch over all the times I failed to take interest in her day.  But they are steps in the right direction.  And lots of little steps will eventually get us where we want to go.  

In future posts I will share the books we chose and some things I learned from each selection.  It might be a few weeks before this goal is completely finished, but I am committed to getting this done this year.    

Foundation Post
Build Your To-Do List Around Correct Priorities – Purposeful Living #1

Outline Of All Purposeful Living Posts
Purposeful Living Outline

Links To Additional Posts In This Series
Two Books To Strengthen My Marriage 2012-Part 1
Two Books To Strengthen My Marriage 2012-Part 2
Two Books To Strengthen My Marriage 2012-Part 3
Two Books To Strengthen My Marriage 2012-Part 4

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  • Beth Mcgwire
    January 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Good stuff. Keep sharing. A marriage centered around the Love of Christ is a daily pursuit.

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