Books AND Marriage

Something Anthony and I have in common is that we both struggled with learning how to read when growing up.

Fast Forward:

About 2 years into our marriage when I started to get back into reading, I came across this book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

I can’t quite recall how I was drawn to the book or who recommended it, but I read it. I thought the book was amazing and it sounded like something that could benefit my marriage.

As I was reading the book and sharing what I read with Anthony, he paid attention to what I was saying, but I could tell he wasn’t grasping the concepts the way I knew he would if he read the book himself.

But I knew he was NOT going to read the book! Reading is not something he does for fun nor does he enjoy it, just like plenty of other people, and that’s ok.

That’s where I come in!

I actually love reading and I love reading out loud.

We MAKE TIME:

We are no different from any other couple out there; we are super busy.

But just like you find the time to watch your favorite reality show, sports games, going out with friends, etc., you can make time for your marriage.

We spend about 30 minutes to an hour (sometimes more) reading and discussing what we read, or something else related to our relationship during our nightly sessions after we have put our daughter to bed.

We usually read every night when we find a book we want to read together.

There are nights when we’re too tired to read, or the mood is not right, and there are nights when we don’t read at all. We just go with the flow.

Learning the same things at the same time:

When we did pre-marital counselling , we were reading from a book about what the family structure should be like from a Christian perspective.

From our counselling we were able to see the benefits of reading something new and learning something new, and at the same time, it created this kind of connection between us.

We were able to see how each other processed information and how two people can derive two completely different meanings from the same content.

We are able to see ourselves and each other in the context of the books we read. Some of those things are not so good. Sometimes the books we read call us out on our toxic habits and without either of us saying “That’s you!”, we FEEL IT!

At first shame creeps in once we identify with our toxic behavior. But then that transform into compassion, because I know my husband has also felt the same emotions.

When we read together we began to see that we are equally flawed, just in different ways, because we are TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE.

More often than not we do not share the same perspective on anything! So, just about everything is a debate. (People always think we’re arguing, but it’s just because we’re black and talk loud.)

As we are learning together we are growing together. In addition, we are learning to respect each other’s perspectives and are not trying to impose or force our way of thinking and doing on to the other person.

Let me tell you, I am absolutely guilty of this, but I’m aware and actively working on it.

Of Course This Won’t Be Easy:

Even if you both understand and agree with the concepts of the book, that doesn’t mean change will then happen the next morning.

There is still a lot of growing to do and because we are different people, we grow at different rates.

I’ve learned that some things are harder to change than others. Some habits are harder to quit and this does take patience and understanding.

On the other hand, this also allows us to hold each other accountable if the other person is not holding up their end of an agreement, or they are slipping back into old behaviors.

I feel that if we are both equally trying to improve ourselves and our marriage, things will get better naturally with time.

Conversation Starters:

My husband is my best friend and we talk all the time! Naturally, there are times we don’t have anything to talk about.

Reading books together helps to start good and needed conversations.

The books we’ve read together have brought up a lot of things for us to discuss in regard to our past, future, ourselves, family, daughter, religion, health, wealth, and MORE.

We use this time to open up to one another and allow each other the opportunity to be vulnerable.

In order to truly benefit from reading with your partner, both of you should allow yourselves and each other to be vulnerable.

If one of you is closed off and not keeping it real, it will show.

That’s why it’s so important to agree that this time will be a safe space. 

Safe Space:

Our reading time is a chill and relaxed environment. If one of us has something they want to get off their chest, it needs to be done before we start reading.

I like to go into our sessions with an open mind and heart, ready to receive whatever information is meant for us and I can’t do that if I have a negative attitude.

When there is something wrong with one of us, we feel the tension and it will linger until it’s addressed.

No matter how much we try not to address it, it shows up in other ways and completely ruins the vibe.

This is also not a time where I will wait until he feels the most comfortable with me to bring up something from 5 years ago that I always knew he was lying about, just to start an argument.

We also don’t use this time as an opportunity to learn some of your partner’s weaknesses or insecurities so that you can use them in a later argument.

Do this and you may have lost the chance for them to ever open up to you again on that level. If they do, it won’t be for a long time, because you have broken their trust.

This space is for you and your partner to be able to open up your hearts and minds, to listen to one another, and speak to one another without any judgement.

Other Options:

We also enjoy listening to audiobooks and podcasts together. We were able to take advantage of this during our commute when he worked in the evening.

We have also watched YouTube videos like TED Talks about relationships, healthy habits, spirituality and whatever else we find interesting, and then discussed our thoughts.

We alternate between these options and find them all beneficial in their own way.

I’m always on a search for the next thing to learn, and if I come across something that I think we can both benefit from, I ask him if he’s interested and would like to learn about it.

Just keep an open mind and you both will find what works for y’all.

It’s More Than Just Reading:

As you can see, this time I spend reading with my husband is more than just that.

This is a time we carve out of our day for just each other, with no outside interruptions, no phones, or anything.

We are just learning together and growing together and I cherish every moment.

Question of the Week:

Do you and your significant other read together? What do you enjoy most?

After reading this blog, would you consider trying this activity out?


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