It’s pretty clear, if you drive a car, that to keep it running you have to change the oil periodically. Although this seems clear to everyone, apparently it’s much less clear to people that you need to periodically “change the oil” on your marriage – in other words, marriage requires maintenance. One convenient and effective way to help maintain (and improve) your marriage is to consult marriage counseling books. Something so valuable as a marriage is worth the time and money that it takes to buy and read the book. This little investment can prevent a nasty and painful divorce.

As far as marriage counseling books are concerned, it’s not necessary to go with the latest fad. There are a number of classics that are just as valuable today as when they were first written. After all, the issues that today’s marriages face are essentially the same as those faced by Adam and Eve: love, respect, finance, raising children, and so on.

One classic book that I like is “His Needs, Her Needs.” It was written by Willard F. Harley, Jr, a practicing psychologist. He focuses on the fact that husband and wife have differing needs. These needs are so different that it’s often the case that the husband doesn’t even realize that he is not meeting his wife’s needs, and vice versa. According to Dr. Harley, men’s greatest need is usually sex, which should come as no surprise. For women he ranks affection first, which is something many men find it hard to deliver. In summary, Dr. Harley’s encourages the husband and wife to make loving accommodations for each other’s differing needs, even if it requires some self-sacrifice.

Another good book is “Getting the Love You Want,” by Harville Hendrix, who is a practicing therapist. Dr. Hendrix himself is divorced, so he is personally acquainted with the pain of a failed marriage. His empathy and understanding shows in his writing. Dr. Hendrix takes the approach that we are attracted to our mates for unconscious reasons that we really don’t understand. He summarizes these motivations in two statements. First, we are attracted to people who have both the positive and negative traits of those who raised us. Second, we are attracted to people who compensate for things we were deprived of in childhood. In other words, we often enter into a marriage expecting our spouse to be a kind of “second-chance parent” who will make up for all the mistakes of the first.

I’m not sure that I agree completely with Dr. Hendrix’s theory, but he does have some interesting case histories to make his point. Like the case of John, a dull businessman (at least that’s how he saw himself), who was infatuated with Cheryl because of her emotional nature. But what initially attracted John to Cheryl quickly became too much for him to handle.

I encourage you to explore some of the options for marriage counseling books. You can probably get recommendations from your friends and acquaintances – or just browse through a bookstore, which doesn’t even cost anything. Put some time and effort into maintaining your marriage, and you will reap huge rewards.

Learn more here: getting over a broken heart and how to get ex back

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