Alrighty - all my single friends who get really uncomfortable 'bout this just log on off and check back with me tomorrow. I really am not offended if your ewwww! factor keeps you from reading. I know that for some of you it's just weird to accept that everybody gets to be good at something and this is what I'm good at :) After all I really stink at cooking and cleaning so it's only fair.
Seriously, it's not really a gory, detailed blog at all, I'm just being funny. In light of Shawn's upcoming sermon series about sex, "Pillowtalk", several women have asked me about book recommendations. These range from the general how to improve your marriage books, to the how to date your spouse, to the how to improve your techniques. Over the years I've probably read at least 50 different books about marriage, maybe more. These are the best of the best, a list of my favs. Feel free to comment back about your favorites as well.
His Needs, Her Needs by Harley - this details how women and men are looking for very different things in a relationship and if you are assuming that your spouse's needs are the same as yours, then you may be totally wasting all your time and energy meeting needs your spouse doesn't have.
Five Love Languages by Chapman - this book explains how we all communicate and understand love differently. You may deeply love your spouse and be sincerely trying to communicate that love and they may not "get it" at all. For example - I'm a quality time girl..... hanging out with my family and friends makes me feel loved. I crave undivided attention. I also need physical touch to believe that Shawn finds me attractive. But Shawn is more the words of affirmation/acts of service kind of guy. He loves for me to tell about how awesome he is and clean the house. That makes him feel really special. I wash dishes and he thinks it's incredible.
Simply Romantic Nights - this is not a book, but really helped my former romantically challenged husband to become the most romantic guy I know. This is a box of surprise dates for him/her we bought at Lifeway. This is not for the uptight or easily offended! You choose an envelope and plan a surprise date for your spouse. We dedicated a year to this and it revolutionized our marriage. The dates that the men plan for the woman are full of romance and beauty. The dates the women plan for the men are full of fun, adventurous sex. Totally a win-win thing as you center dates around your spouses needs and desires!
Gary Smalley - I've read a couple of his marriage books and heard him speak at a conference. They were pretty good. I like his emphasis on different personality types and accepting your spouse's personality. I also appreciate his matter of fact approach that if you are married, you can choose to be "in love". It's a verb.
Act of Marriage - by Tim LaHaye This is a technique book written from a Christian perspective. For an inexperienced child bride, it was probably what made the difference in "wifely duty" and "favorite activity". I've since read a few others, but this is still my top recommendation as far as the least offensive and most basic.
Song of Solomon - yes, as in THE BIBLE - read it carefully and well. There's a lot there about loving your spouse and lots there as well about good techniques if read in a good, modern translations. God did not leave us uninformed.
Ladies, hope this helps give you a starting place as you are looking for books. But seriously, the book that improved my marriage was The Bible. The more I studied and tried to honestly apply God's Word and the more my husband did the same, the better our marriage became.
I would say one note of caution to the girls: you can't read books about how to improve your marriage with the purpose of trying to change your spouse. The only person you can change is you. You will only create more resentment if you say, "If you would....., like this book says you should, then I could love you." That's just a stupid thing to say, but I hear it all the time from women. So read, learn, pray, and improve yourself, and don't be stupid!
Currently reading "Sheet Music" by Kevin Leeman...let you know what I think when I'm done.