Saturday, March 22, 2014

"Married, but Lonely" ~Do your people skills need a tune up?

Married...But Lonely: Stop Merely Existing. Start Living Intimately

This book carries a message of hope, ultimately. Marriage is hard but surely isn't meant to be miserable. 
The Clarke's agree. That's why they wrote Married but Lonely. 

Nothing matches the pain that you find in a wife's eyes when she feels disconnected from her husband. 
She knows that he loves her, she knows she loves him, but the daily love relationship is barely breathing.
She speaks, and all he hears is the fed-up tone of her voice instead of what her heart is saying. 
She brings up an unsolved issue, and he thinks she's a nag. 
She starts an overdue conversation, and he runs out of the room and claims that she's too moody to deal with.
She wants to debrief with him on a situation that has her worried, he dismisses her concerns as farfetched.
She reminds him of something cutting he said, he claims he doesn't remember that at all.
She is still processing a pain from the past, he tells her to just let it go. 
And any attempt to point out where they've disconnected just makes him defensive and snippy. 
Sound familiar? I bet it does. I've heard and seen it all, and I'm not even married. 

This book is definitely for married couples, but I'm reading it because it is ultimately about relational connectedness, engaging conversations, and opening our hearts. 
This book is also written with a liberal dose of snark/sarcasm, which at first made me feel like it wasn't respectful to the husbands. And then I read a little further, and the snark began to be so effective at making a point and making me laugh. Just from my own experience of living in a family, I've already observed much of what the author is talking about... and when you think about it the way he describes it, it's pretty hilarious. 

This a a serious book with a twist of humor all about intimacy in marriage or the lack thereof. And by intimacy we mean sharing our hearts, growing closer through the years, having deep conversations, meeting the other person where they are, and making them feel treasured and loved.
Although this is primarily aimed at husbands (hard hitting wake-up call to them and encouragement for their wives) I can learn from this book too. All the Intimacy-Avoidance techniques that most men have perfected are things I'm tempted to resort to. That's why I needed this book: Because I want to know how to deal with Intimacy Avoidance issues when I'm married, and I don't want to get into bad habits now. 

The trouble is that most of us get by with shallow relationships: among our extended family our friends, and our coworkers. We are convinced that because we can exchange pleasantries with these people, and none of them openly shun us, that we are just fine. 
We think that these risk-free surface-level relationships prove that we are good conversationalists, good friends, good at relationships, and that nothing needs to change. So all the sudden when a wife tells a husband that he doesn't listen properly, that he doesn't apologize well, and that she doesn't even know why she tries to engage with him anymore, he's confused. 
Most of us aren't prepared for marriage, for true communication or for dealing with conflicts when they arise. 
And then once we're married, we think we're done learning. We've got the spouse we wanted, now we're cool. 
We really don't want to change "Our Style" even if it isn't working. 
This book is all about how our habits and patterns often need to change. 

Married But Lonely can be fruitfully read and applied by someone who is dating, newly married, or who is well on the way to their fiftieth anniversary. The foundational messages are that you, as a wife, are worthy of respect and that he, as a husband, is capable of healthy change. 

Thank you Booketeria for my review copy. 

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