Everyone knows that if you drive a car, you have to change the oil on a regular basis. It seems obvious that cars need maintenance – but apparently less people realize that marriage needs maintenance too. There are lots of marriage counseling books available that will help you maintain (and enhance) your marriage. Spending a little time and money on one or several of these books can be a very wise investment. Consider how many marriages are hitting the rocks these days. In many cases, divorce might have been prevented, had the couple only put some effort into maintaining their marriage.
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 book to consider is “His Needs, Her Needs,” written by Willard F. Harley, Jr. Dr. Harley is a Ph.D. psychologist who approaches marriage as a relationship designed to fulfill the differing needs of husband and wife. Unfortunately, men and women have such different needs, that they're often not even aware that they aren't satisfying their spouses. Wives may not realize the extent of their husbands' need for sex (which is number one on Dr. Harley's list of men's needs). On the other hand, men may not appreciate how much their wives need affection. Many men are awkward when it comes to showing affection, and it doesn't come natural to them. At the end of the day, Dr. Harley urges both husband and wife to be sensitive and make sacrifices to make sure that their spouses' needs are being met.
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.
Although I don't agree totally with Dr. Hendrix, I did enjoy reading the many case histories he cites to support his arguments. One of these involves John, a dull businessman (in his own words), who fell head-over-heels for Cheryl because she was emotionally expressive. However, although this attracted John to Cheryl at first, very soon he became overwhelmed by her outbursts.
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.