I have one entire shelf among our bookshelves filled with marriage books. Several of these books have bookmarks sitting halfway through them. That’s where I got discouraged and stopped reading. The problem is that most marriage books are directed at both husband and wife. Which is great if you both like reading marriage books. Among most couples I know, however, this is not the case. So often, I’d get halfway through a book, think, “My husband needs to read this,” and quit reading.
Sheila Wray Gregoire’s book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage is not that sort of book. It’s written for wives. Just for wives. And it has nine solid, practical tips for things you can do to change your marriage. All by yourself. No reading by husband required.
Sheila’s blog To Love Honour and Vacuum is one of few that I subscribe to and read on a regular basis. I love her down-to-earth, honest, practical, and often humorous marriage advice. She says it the way it is. Reading 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage was like sitting down with Sheila for a heart-to-heart chat about being a wife.
Sheila begins by sharing some of her own mistakes as a new wife and how she overcame some of her wrong thinking about marriage to have a great relationship with her husband. She tackles the pat answers that Christian wives are too often given, and provides solid, Biblical advice instead. (Yes, she even talks about “submission” and how it should properly be viewed within a marriage.)
One of the chapters that jumped out at me was Thought #3: “My Husband Was Not Put on This Earth to Make Me Happy.” For too long, that’s exactly what I thought. I wanted my husband to make me happy—and it didn’t work. Sheila says, “Happiness isn’t something your husband gives you; it’s something you find yourself when you concentrate first on joy—by falling in love with God—and second on contentment—finding peace in your circumstances.”
Our marriage improved radically when I realized this a couple years ago. As one of Sheila’s friends said, “Why did I expect to have a healthy, happy marriage when at least one of us wasn’t a healthy, happy person?” My husband is good at encouraging me to pursue some of my interests, like rock climbing or swimming, because he’s noticed that when I’m a happier person, I’m a better wife too. And then we’re both happy.
Each chapter includes several action steps for applying what Sheila has discussed. The action steps are summarized at the end of each chapter as well. The back of the book also includes a reading group guide and an appendix with a list of marriage books and resources.
Whether you are newly married or have spent more years together than apart, I recommend 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage. Sheila offers a fresh, new perspective on marriage, correcting the problematic thoughts that many of us enter marriage with. Just a thought can change your marriage for the better!
Sheila Wray Gregoire is a popular speaker, marriage blogger, and the author of seven books. She loves encouraging women in their relationships, both with God and with their husbands, children, and friends. Her passion is for marriage, and she and her husband Keith speak together at marriage outreaches and at FamilyLife Canada marriage conferences. Sheila believes in authenticity, and gives real solutions to the very real and messy problems women, and couples, can face. You can usually find her in Belleville, Ontario, where she homeschools her two teenage daughters and knits. Preferably simultaneously.
I received this book for review; all opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.