Monday, May 25, 2009

The Foundation

Ryan and I are working to build a solid a foundation for our relationship.

He's not a big fan of counseling of any sort, so pre-marital counseling was a problem for him. He got an emphasis in counseling with his Master's degree, and he feels that counseling is someone trying to tell him what to do, and he doesn't like that. I had a really idealistic view of pre-marital counseling, and really wanted it, so this was a small bone of contention between the two of us, and one of the rare things we just couldn't compromise on. More on this later.

What does work for both of us are books. We do them at our own pace, and Ryan doesn't feel like he's being ordered around, while I feel like we're talking through things that really need to be talked through. It's a win-win! Before we got engaged, we worked through this book together:


It's a Christian book, and it covered some faith stuff that Ryan and I just skipped. This book was kind of on the repititive side, but I think that the point is to make sure that there is consistency in the answers given. Ryan and I had already talked about quite a few things in this book, but it was still helpful. We would work through these in car rides to St. Louis when we went up to visit his family, and we also did a few of the questions at the gym when we were on side-by-side ellipticals!

Before we got engaged, this book was recommended to me by a friend:


I really liked this book. The premise is that people need to be loved in their primary love language for them to receive love. For instance, my primary love language is words of affirmation. I feel really loved when Ryan tells me that he loves me and why, etc. If Ryan was doing things for me (acts of service), like washing my car and walking my dog, then it would be nice and I would appreciate it, but it wouldn't necessarily make me feel loved. I asked Ryan what his primary love language is, and his reply was, "I feel loved." I laughed! I still think that's funny.

Right now I'm reading this book, which is also the topic of the book discussion over at Weddingbee:


This book is really good. I like it (and I think Ryan will like it to for the same reason), because it's based on solid research, not just opinions and conjecture. I'm only half way through it, and I'm really getting a lot out of it. There are great little exercises to do with your partner, too. Ryan and I need to start doing these, come to think of it. This book actually changed my mind about marriage counseling, as it points out that the whole point of marriage counseling is conflict resolution, and there is so much more to a strong marriage than that.

These books have given Ryan and I a way to work on our relationship and make it as good as it can be without having to do counseling, which Ryan isn't a fan of. They are definitely working so far, for us at least.

What do you do to work on your relationship with your honey?

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