Saturday, June 14, 2008

How to Improve Your Marriage without talking about it

How's that for a provocative book title? I found this book at Kepler's when I was browsing there with the lovely Carol. This is a great date (at least in for me) because as we walk around and show each other stuff, we learn more about how the other thinks.

Besides the date stuff, we were also going to a wedding (which was today), so we were in that section of the bookstore. There are lots of books by overtly Christian authors, and we figured the couple would get those from their church friends. So we thought of a couple of other books -- we saw The Dance of Anger by Lerner, which we've found useful, but I think you have to be over 35 to appreciate it (which these young people are not). Then we saw the gift we bought and I wrapped this afternoon: Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. I saw this book in 1994 at the public library near the 中目黒駅 (that would be in Tokyo). At first I thought it was science fiction, but then I realized it was about relationships. It sure was helpful for us in that it explained the Real Difference between men and women -- things that Dobson and other Christian authors had not mentioned (at least that I could recall). It seemed to me that Men Are From Mars... was the relationship book of the 1990s.

It seems to me that How to Improve... is the corresponding thing for this decade. Why do I say that? Well, it doesn't take much -- just a couple of insights that make me say, "All men know that intuitively, most women seem not to, but most of us guys couldn't put it into words like that."

The first thing in this category is implied by the title: men don't like to talk about Our Relationship, whereas women seem to. The promo page (uh, here) hints at why, but basically talking about the relationship feels like shaming him. The message he hears is "you're not doing it right" -- in other words, he's incompetent.

There's a lot of stuff there about what men and women find painful, which was news to both of us (though we'll be married 22 years pretty soon).

This is a GREAT book, but I don't recommend trying to read it all in one sitting; your head will explode.

A few links:

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