Summary: A wide ranging book on communication in marriage.
Last night we finished discussing this book in my small group. My wife and I lead a small group through our church for newly married couples.
This is the first time we have used this book for discussion, although I read it last year.
As we evaluated the newly married curriculum last year most of the group leaders thought that the biggest weakness of the curriculum was that we did not have anything on communication. So this book was added (and it replaced a couple other books) as the center of the curriculum.
It is not a long book only 268 pages, but it feels really long because it has 23 chapters. Most weeks we covered 2 or 3 chapters and we took a break in the middle.
At the end my evaluation as a discussion book for a group is a little mixed. I still think that for most newly married (and long term married for that matter) couple, communication is one of the biggest issues that we face. And this book gives entry to many other areas because it discusses communication around them (communication around sex, spiritual intimacy, defensiveness, etc.).
On the negative side I felt it was quite repetitive. Reading it the first time I was not bothered as much by this, but discussing it with a group we keep seeing that similar things were being said over and over. Most of the times these were good things, but the book would be better if it were 100 pages shorter.
On the positive side, even when you disagree with some of the solutions or approaches, it is useful to have the issues brought up. I felt like the advice sections (about how to communicate, how to avoid defensiveness how to learn healthy patters of communication) were the strongest. The theological sections (covenant vs contract marriage, and some biblical illustrations throughout) were weaker. They were not wrong as much as just too limited.
I think it is ok as a group discussion book but I would love to hear about other books on communication in marriage that might be better?
- Now You’re Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage by Gary Chapman (Original review)