Can a list a day keep marital complications away? Perhaps not, but thanks to the Lists to Love by Books by Mark and Susan Merrill, I’m happy to say that my husband and I feel better equipped and that we are even more intentional about keeping a happy marriage. The Lists to Love By Books were sent to me for review and I must say, I am quite impressed with what we’ve read and with the effect that it has had on our marriage. In two small books, one intended for busy wives and the other for busy husbands, the Merrills have taken even the most complex marital issues and have provided insight and wise counsel to encourage couples to continue to move forward by honoring their marriage the way that Christ intended. What I appreciate the most about these books is that they are faith-based and if you acknowledge that your marriage is a covenant between, you, your spouse, and our Heavenly Father, then you will feel right at home with the faith-filled messages in the books.
The way that these books are organized reminds me so much of our pre-marital counseling. Like a lot of pre-marital courses, you’re given some reading material and a worksheet (or maybe a list) to complete to help you think through your current behaviors and expectations. I love that the Merrills have taken a similar approach and have made it suitable for married couples—both old and new.
Over the course of a month, we have taken the time to read 30 short, powerful, grace-filled messages that point out even the most minuscule issues that have the potential to chip away at your marriage over time. These books truly are geared to busy couples because the passages in the books are typically about 3 pages long and take no longer than 5 to 10 minutes to read. Following every passage, there is a short list that correlates with the reading and let me tell you, if you allow them to be, these lists are extremely impactful. While writing these lists, I chose to be completely transparent and honest with myself, and I have to say that I saw things within myself that I didn’t even realize posed a threat to my marriage. I’m sure my husband would agree. One of my favorite things about the Lists to Love By books is that both books are designed specifically for the person reading it. This is something I know my husband appreciates because wording that appeals to men, certainly may not appeal to women. Each book perfectly compliments the other and there are a few foundational passages that are the same in both books. The lists even encourage you to involve your spouse by gathering their thoughts and feelings on whatever was discussed in the passage.
These books were such a tremendous blessing in our lives. The Merrills have more than 20 years of marital experience to offer and it shows in their writing. As newlyweds, we appreciate the opportunity to hear from couples that have a marriage that has weathered the storms of life. The Merrills have taken their experiences, wrapped them in grace-filled, truthful advice, and packed them into two small, awe-inspiring books. Whether you’ve been married for 2 years or 22 years, I would strongly recommend these books—particularly if you’re busy and don’t have time to read the traditional marriage books. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the books:
“Marriage is not easy. A good marriage requires hard work and ‘heart work’. Like most other things in life, when we really work on our marriage, it only gets better and better.”
–Lists to Love By For Busy Wives, 7 Truths About Marriages, Page 3
“Problems in marriage often start with unfair and unreal expectations that husbands and wives have of one another. Unreal expectations become unmet expectations, which become unsettling issues in a marriage”
–Lists to Love By For Busy Wives, 5 Unfair Expectations You May Have of Your Husband, Page 32
“Marriage was never meant to be a covenant to be broken, but a covenant to be cherished.”
-Lists to Love By For Busy Wives & Lists to Love By For Busy Husbands, 3 Things To Remember About Marriage, Page 11 & 12
“When you truly forgive, you are intentionally embracing mercy and grace. Putting it simply, mercy is not giving someone what they deserve.”
–Lists to Love By For Busy Husbands, 4 Decisions That Define Forgiveness, Page 75
The Lists to Love By books can be purchased through Hachette Book Group or on Amazon . I hope that you allow these books to bless your marriage, reform your thinking, and provide a great refresher course in what it means to have a great marriage. God bless!