Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Secrets of Happy Families

Let's face it...we all need help with our families on occasion. I found a lot of useful tips in Feiler's book, both ones I can apply now and ones I'll keep hidden in that deep, dark brain place for when we need a little fine tuning down the road. 

For this blog tour, we were asked to take one of the chapter suggestions, implement it in our own family life, and report back on the results. It was hard to choose a chapter, honestly. After reading the book, I really enjoyed Feiler's blunt writing style and I probably could have chosen several. In the end, Chapter 8 is what I went with: "What's Love Got to Do With It." 

In Chapter 8, Feiler writes about "a simple test that saved millions of families." He was inspired by the book and encourages his readers to check it out. Aaron and I took the Five Love Languages test back before we got married. We read the bestselling book by Gary Chapman and took, the test, determining our individual love language and how we can best serve each other using the guidelines with each love language. 

So, we first did this test 6 years ago now and it definitely did produce amazing results in understanding how each of our brains worked and what left us fulfilled. I figured this was an excellent opportunity to see if our love languages had changed and if we were still doing what was best for the other spouse. 

"Dr. Chapman calls these different styles of expressing and receiving affection 'the five love languages.'

1. Words of affirmation. Using compliments and expressions of appreciation, like 'You are the best husband in the world' or 'I admire your optimism.'

2. Gifts. Bringing flowers, leaving love notes, or buying tokens of affection.

3. Acts of service. Doing something for your partner you know he or she would like you to do, like washing dishes, walking the dog, or changing a diaper.

4. Quality time. Giving your partner your undivided attention by turning off the the television, sharing a meal, or taking a walk. 

5. Physical touch. Holding hands, putting your arm around your partner, or tussling your partner's hair.' 

(pgs 152-153)

Mine is easy. Last time I was Acts of Service and I am most definitely still Acts of Service. If Aaron does the dishes when it's my turn or mows the lawn without a reminder, I'm practically swooning. That is easily my love language. His? Words of Affirmation. Was and is. 

A reread of this book was a great eye-opener for us once again and helped to remind each of us that we should be constantly working on our family, rather than waiting for trouble to eventually brew. 

At the end of the chapter, Feiler also suggest a few of his own methods of bettering your marriage, including putting yourself first, rethinking date night, and double-dating. Though, we haven't had the chance (or budget really) this month to go out, we are really looking forward to trying out the double-date thing. It would be great to have a night out and adult conversation with friends. Less chance of talking about only Elliott that way. 

Whether you're a new family just starting out or a family that has grown over many years, Bruce Feiler is speaking to you in his book. Well, at least he was speaking to me! It was a quick read and filled with useful tips. 

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for asking me to participate! Check out the other stops on the tour here -- it's going to be fun to see what tips other tour participants chose to follow. 

1 comment:

trish said...

I'm Acts of Service too! My husband does all the laundry and much of the dishes, and I'm so grateful whenever I see him doing those things. I'm not sure what my husband's love language is, though, so I think I'll have to figure that out!

As I was reading your review, I had a lightbulb moment that my husband and I could be doing double dates! Our day care provider does a Parents Night Out once a month on a Friday. We should invite another couple to get a babysitter and join us. I'll admit, though, that I've really enjoyed having my husband to myself the last two times we've done this, but I'm sure having another couple along would be loads of fun.

Thanks for being on the tour!