This is a great book for couples who are looking to improve and strengthen their married life. Often we hear that marriage is hard work and it is an ongoing challenge to keep the marriage alive. Sometimes the process can be so overwhelming that we choose the easier way out. Sometimes we commit the mistakes simply because we do not know better. Nevertheless when we have the willingness and openness to learn and grow from the relationship, there will be tons of opportunities presented to us. Just as it is painful when the plants are being pruned, be prepared that the process will be uncomfortable. Focus on the rewards you will enjoy when you persevere.
The authors take turns in sharing their experiences and lessons they have learned in their own marriages as well as those who have sought their help. What I like about the book is how it is written in a format where you could bite as much or as little as you want each time. Each of the 101 things is covered in 2-3 pages. You will be surprise how substantial each bite is when you start to chew and mull over it.
1. Great relationships don't just happen; they are created.
2. Vulnerability is disarming.
3. If your job gets your best energy your marriage will wither.
4. One of the greatest gifts you can give your partner is your own happiness.
5. There's difference between judging and being judgmental.
6. It's possible to hate and love someone at the same time.
7. When you complain about your partner to your friends, remember that their feedback is based upon distorted information.
8. The only rules in a marriage are those to which you both choose to agree.
9. Commitment isn't a prison; it's a means to greater freedom.
10. It isn't conflict that destroys marriages; it's the cold, smoldering resentment that is bred by withholding.
11. If you choose monogamy, keep your agreement.
12. It's not what you've got; it's what you do with it.
13. Even good marriages have recurring seasons, and there can be some hard winters.
14. Your primary relationship is with your partner, not your children.
15. If you think you're too good for your partner, think again.
16. Growing up in a happy family doesn't ensure a good marriage, and growing up in an unhappy family doesn't preclude having one.
17. It's never too late to repair damaged trust.
18. Secrets are lies.
19. Sex can improve wtih age.
20. If you're keeping pace with the people around you, you're probably moving too fast.
21. If you can't be happy without your partner, you won't be happy together.
22. Marriage is like yoga.
23. The prince isn't going to come.
24. Getting help when you are unable to work things out isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of intelligence.
25. One person, no matter how much he loves you, cannot meet all your emotional needs.
26. Love isn't always enough to sustain a marriage.
27. True intimacy can exist only between equals.
28. The real issue is usually not the one you're arguing about.
29. Love isn't just a feeling; it's action that shows our caring.
30. Expectations set us up for resentment.
31. Arguments can't be avoided, but destructive ones can.
32. One of the greatest gifts we can give to our partner is our focused attention.
33. Even people with great marriages sometimes wonder if they might have married the wrong person.
34. Your partner cannot rescue you from unhappiness, but he/she can help you to rescue yourself.
35. The cost of a lie is far greater than any advantage you gain from speaking it.
36. Even the best marriages have irreconcilable differences.
37. Your opinion is not the truth.
38. Vacations are necessities, not luxuries.
39. Truth takes years to establish and moments to destroy.
40. Ultimatums and threats do more harm than good.
41. Guilt-tripping won't get you what you really want.
42. Give what you want to receive.
43. Don't neglect your friends just because you've acquired a spouse.
44. If you think, "You're not the person I married," you're probably right.
45. Resisting the temptation to prove your point will win you a lot of points.
46. What you judge in your partner is a reflection of what you judge in yourself.
47. Your partner is your teacher and your student.
48. Commitment is not a one time event; it's an ongoing process.
49. Generosity of spirit is the foundation of great relationships.
50. If your partner is being defensive, you may be giving him/her reasons to be.
51. Marriage isn't 50/50; its 100/100.
52. Trust can be rebuilt even after painful betrayal but it may require hard work.
53. You can pay now or later, but the later you pay the more penalties and interest you accrue.
54. The cheap thrill you get from putting down your partner isn't so cheap.
55. Marriage requires sacrifice but what you stand to gain is infinitely greater than what you give up.
56. Good sex doesn't necessarily make a marriage great but it sure helps.
57. Forgiveness isn't a one-time event, it's a process.
58. Even the tiniest spark can reignite the fire of love.
59. If you find out what you partner wants and help him/her get it, you'll both be happier.
60. Marriage alone does not make you a better person but accepting its challenges does.
61. Creating a great marriage generally takes more time and effort than it seems it should.
62. Creating a marriage is like launching a rocket; once it clears the pull of gravity it takes much less energy to sustain the flight.
63. Being attracted to someone else doesn't diminish the quality of your marriage; acting on that attraction does.
64. A successful marriage has more to do with how you deal with your current reality than what you experienced in the past.
65. In order for it to thrive, love requires separateness as well as togetherness.
66. We all have a terminal diagnosis.
67. Don't keep feelings of gratitude to yourself.
68. Knowing where your lines are and being willing to draw them serves your partner and yourself.
69. You don't have to be able to love well to get married; the training occurs on the job.
70. Privacy won't hurt your marriage but secrecy will.
71. Possessiveness and jealousy are born out of fear, not love.
72. Facing your fears build strength; avoiding them diminishes it.
73. Authenticity is contagious and habit-forming.
74. Don't say anything about your partner that you're not willing to say to them.
75. Your greatest weakness can become your greatest strength.
76. Of all the benefits of marriage, the greatest is the possibility of using this relationship to become a more loving person.
77. If your partner thinks something is important, it is!
78. Marriages never outgrow the need for romance.
79. The sparkle of new relationship is always temporary.
80. There is violence in silence when it's used as weapon.
81. There's a difference between sex and intimacy.
82. It's better to focus on what you can do to make things right rather than on what your partner did to make things wrong.
83. The fire of infatuation has to cool before mature love can develop.
84. Nothing deadens sexual desire faster than unresolved differences.
85. The biggest risk is in not risking.
86. If you think marriage counseling is too expensive try divorce.
87. Forgiveness is its own reward.
88. Revenge is its own punishment.
89. When two hearts are connected, the biggest problems become workable; when they are not the smallest difficulties seem insurmountable.
90. Constructive criticism generally isn't.
91. The capacity to feel joy grows in proportion to the capacity to experience pain.
92. There is no greater eloquence than silence of real listening.
93. External conflicts are often outer expression of internal ones.
94. One of the greatest questions you can ask your partner is,"How may I best love you?"
95. There's more to be gained by understanding your partner's world than trying to get them to understand yours.
96. A loving marriage can heal old emotional wounds more effectively than the best therapy.
97. Just keep talking.
98. Assumptions are fine as long as you check them out before acting on them.
99. Marriages can stay fresh over time.
100. Intention may not be the only thing but it's the most important thing.
101. The amount of joy and fulfillment available in a loving partnership is considerably more than you can imagine.