Personal Growth

Here’s a fun date night suggestion –

Go to your local book store and go to the self-help section or the relationship section.  What a selection you’ll find there.  Here a sample of what may be available:


And the following obviously missed the memo about sticking to the number seven if you want to have a successful relationship book:

Then there’s the overachiever who went way beyond:

I really like the books that tell me right up front that something’s a secret.  Going to have to read that one for sure.  Or the one about Ten Stupid Things Couples Do  —  Only ten?  I think us guys can get a lot of benefit out of 1001 ways to be Romantic, mainly because we can usually only come up with three, and the third one is just a slight variation on number two!

For your date night, you and your spouse can browse the various titles.  Read the back cover or the inside flap of the books, which usually gives a quick overview of the book.  Find three that appeal to you and have your spouse find three. Swap your selections and narrow them down to the top two for each.  Then, put all four on the table and together pick the one you feel would benefit you both the most.

Next:  Over the next few weeks go through the book together.  You can read several chapters by yourselves and take notes and then discuss what you have read, or you can read it together and discuss it as you go.  I have found that most books have several real gems, real key ideas that particularly apply to you individually or to you as a couple.  Make it your objective to find something that is spot on, something that really resonates with you, that makes you say, “There’s some real truth there.  I need to work on that”, or “We need to work on that”.

The objective should be to uncover things that would help you grow as a person or help you grow closer together. Focus on being positive and avoid the “I told you so” trap.  We all need to grow and we can grow best when we are supported by a loving spouse.

More Common Sense

Remember the Definition of “Common Sense”: sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence.

Does that mean that we should not seek out specialized knowledge or training? That we should rely simply on our own good Common Sense to work out issues that surface in our marriage?

Let me ask a simple Common Sense question. If you wanted to go fishing and you really wanted to, as best as possible, catch fish, and you had no prior experience fishing, wouldn’t it make sense to try to acquire some “insider information” on how to fish before actually attempting to fish? Well of course it would. It would be operating in the principle of Common Sense to read up on some basic best practices of fishing before actually going out and trying to fish.

But let’s take a step back. Let’s say that you went fishing without reading or consulting anyone. You reason to yourself that you will need a fishing pole and some bait. So you purchase both, and you head out to the nearest river. You bait the hook and try to cast. After a few practice casts, you land the line in the water. You fish in this manner for several hours. Knowing that fishing takes patience, you repeat this process for several weeks, then months. In all that time, you never catch one fish. Truth be told, you have never even had a nibble. By now you are extremely frustrated. Fishing just doesn’t work.

Just as you’re getting ready to pack it up and go home, you notice someone coming down the bank of the river. He looks up and down the river, selects a spot near some rocks, baits his line and casts in. Good luck, you think to yourself. But within ten minutes, he hooks a beautiful steelhead, carefully works his reel and skillfully nets the fish. He brings it over to show you and then asks if you can take his picture. You click off a few and he leaves. You sit staring at the river and your pole and bait. Disgusted, you throw all of your gear into the river and go home vowing never to fish again. Little did you know that you had the wrong bait, the wrong pole, the wrong weight line and you were repeatedly casting in the wrong spot.

Sometimes we approach marriage the same way. After all, we got along good while dating. We knew each other pretty well and never had a big fight before we got married. And we’ll figure it out as long as we still love each other. How tough can it be? So we begin the journey of married life, figuring it out as we go. We are too embarrassed or proud to ask for help and we keep repeating the same mistakes because we don’t know how to do anything else. Common Sense says be a student of the most important relationship in your life. Read, study, ask questions, attend seminars, and by so doing improve your skills.