I celebrated my 27th wedding anniversary yesterday. It is hard to imagine being married for pushing 30 years now, but I have. And do you want to know the secret? Lean in close. Marriage is work. I know, earth-shattering, huh? The last 27 years have not been all pie and roses. There are times that you gotta dig in and do some work. Sometimes that means getting some professional guidance. Sometimes that means taking a class. Sometimes it means reading a book.
One practice that my hubby and I do is reading books together, especially with a relationship/marriage focus. If you have a paper book, it’s fun to get two colors of highlighters as you read to see what each other deems highlight-worthy. Periodically come together and discuss what you are reading. What are you really liking? What stings? What do you disagree with? If there are practical exercises or recommendations, put them in practice. One such book I recommend for doing this is ACT with Love by Russ Harris. In the therapy world, ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) is a beloved and effective therapy. Russ Harris applies this therapy to relationships in an easy-to-read manner. He offers practical exercises and illustrations, as well as simple to remember acronyms. This book seems applicable for couples at almost any stage of the relationship, even if there’s a strong undercurrent of dissatisfaction.
If you want to reduce the DRAIN (Disconnection, Reactivity, Avoidance, dwelling-Inside-your-mind, and Neglecting your values), you can LOVE (Let go, Open up, Value, and Engage). Harris discusses each of these further in his book, with more practical applications and examples. Have you read this book? Are you familiar with ACT? I would love to hear books you would recommend reading together with your partner.
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