Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Catholic Company Review: Marriage: Small Steps, Big Rewards

Marriage: Small Steps, Big Rewards by Dr. Ray Guarendi

Kansas Dad and I think we have a pretty strong marriage, but I imagine the marriage relationship is one that's never standing still. In this book, Dr. Ray Guarendi provides ten small steps to improve a marriage, particularly one in distress. These steps are indeed small, actions as small as touching your spouse, but being small does not make them easy.

For each step, Dr. Guarendi gives a short explanation, usually no more than two or three pages. Then he provides responses to a few anticipated "Resistance Rationales," reasons you or your spouse may give to avoid implementing the step. Finally, he provides a brief scenario, showing how the step may play out.

I found the tone of the book very accepting and encouraging, but still blunt enough to push you toward taking a chance and trying the step. He didn't promise immediate results, either, which is good because you are less likely to become discouraged before seeing a change and give up too soon.

My favorite step was directed at fathers in particular: Protect. Dr. Guarendi tells fathers they must step in when mothers are being overwhelmed in arguments with children. After reading the chapter, I noticed how often Kansas Dad does this. He never lets the children talk back to me, yell or become aggressive toward me in his hearing without responding immediately. More than feeling protected, though, his actions make me feel like we are a team in disciplining and training the children. It is such a blessing to tackle this monumental task with him.

I cannot say how beneficial these steps would be in a troubled marriage, but they all seem like solid steps to improve a relationship. I would certainly encourage anyone interested to give them a try, especially if your marriage is not quite struggling but not quite as well-supported as you would like it to be.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. In exchange for an honest review, I received a free copy of this book. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Marriage - Small Steps, Big Rewards. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

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