Have I been reading too many books on marriage? Ask my husband, who patiently listens to insight after insight from my "book of the week" selections.
This time, however, Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages (Northfield) gets my vote, not for book of the week, but for "book of the year." His simple advice on giving and receiving love opened my eyes to my own needs, my husband's needs—even my kids' needs.
Chapman says the things that communicate love to you may say absolutely nothing to your mate. So in order for love to survive, most of us need to learn a second love language.
What trips your mate's trigger? Acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch or gifts? Start listening to what he or she wishes you'd do more often, and take it from there.
Sex: His and Hers
Want to improve your sex life? The transformation starts not by mastering a new technique, but rather by changing your attitude. Huh?
Both Pillow Talk, by Karen Linamen (Revell), and Men and Sex, by Clifford and Joyce Penner (Thomas Nelson), build on the premise that a satisfying love life comes from giving, not from getting.
The recipe for a lifetime of "exhilarating, fulfilling, and nurturing sexual experiences," as the Penners describe it, means putting your partner's needs first. And to do that, you have to understand what those needs are.
So if you're a woman, read Linamen's book. Guys, read the Penners'. Then swap. With your brains full of new insights, you'll be well on your way to taking your love life to a level you never thought possible.
A View from the Trenches
Our pride was injured, our privacy invaded, and our love life a chore at times. We began to ask God, 'Why us?'" writes Sandra Glahn of her ten-year struggle with infertility that included eight miscarriages.
Glahn has taken her experience and, along with fertility specialist William Cutrer, M.D., has created a guide through the maze of infertility issues and treatments. When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden (Broadman & Holman) is as strong on medical advice as it is on emotional encouragement. I particularly liked Glahn's view of success in the face of difficulties: "God defines success not in terms of what we accomplish; He defines it in terms of the transformation we allow His word to make in our lives. I am a success if I can get through my infertility experience with a greater love for God and my spouse than when I started. I am a success on some days if, in spite of my lack of 'success,' I manage to drag myself out of bed, get dressed, and find reasons to be thankful for one more day."
That's good advice no matter what challenges are threatening to wear you down.
Copyright © 1997 by Christianity Today/Marriage Partnership Magazine.