Monday, November 18, 2013

101 Tips for a Happier Marriage and Six Sacred Rules for Families (Ave Maria Press)

This is the second post in a row that I am doing a double review. Sorry to my readers if I am overwhelming you with books. Welcome to my day-to-day world! I finish a book, write a review, and see progress in my review stack. The mail arrives the next day and there are three new books to review. Don't get me wrong; it can be an overwhelming juggling act, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It really is a GREAT problem to have if you love books like I do. Today's post includes two books from Ave Maria Press - 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage and Six Sacred Rules for Families.

101 Tips for a Happier Marriage is a brief, but efficient book that provides the reader with 101 practical tips on a happy marriage. The tips are arranged thematically under headings such as "Adjust Your Attitude" or "Get It Done Without Drama." I appreciate that as it makes for an easier and more systematic read. You might need a specific section of the book at a certain time, and you don't want to spend an hour thumbing through the book to find the tip you are looking for.

Generally, I try and find a favorite section or chapter in a book to recommend. However, each tip fits on one page, so I have to take a different approach. What I like best about this book is that the book is addressed to the reader. The authors don't give tips on how to improve your spouse so your marriage will be happy. They give you tips on how to improve YOU! There were definitely some tips in here that opened my eyes and made me say, "I do that and I need to stop." Even though I have been married for just under two years and we are still in the honeymoon phase, I want to always have a happy marriage. This book isn't the magic bullet to accomplish that, but it is a no-nonsense practical guide to help along the journey. It would make a perfect wedding gift or a 50th anniversary gift. Five stars!

Six Sacred Rules for Families is a practical manual for the Catholic family on how to integrate faith into every aspect of life. Starting with "Section One: A New Vision for Family Life," Tim and Sue Muldoon invite you to change the way you look at your family life, and decide what ultimately and what eternally matters. By doing this, you will see family life as a vocation. This shouldn't be a novel concept, because we see priesthood and marriage as vocations. However, parenthood is an equally important vocation!

Part Two is the meat of the book and the basis of the title - the six rules. I won't give you all the rules listed. (You'll have to buy the book for that!) Instead, I will address the one which spoke most loudly to me - "The Third Rule: Our Family Doesn't Care About Success!" Life is more than lots of money, big houses, and fancy cars. As the Muldoons say in this chapter, "The third rule invites us to question what we think is good, to ask whether our vision of what's good is ultimately in service to an expansive and generous love. If it is not, then it is also an invitation to let go of that vision, so a newer one might grow in its place." Part Three wraps up the book nicely by providing real world advice on how to follow all the rules.

As someone with a new family, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a realistic and straightforward approach on how to build a domestic church. If we want our children to love God and the Church and not fall away, then we must be vigilant! We must not compartmentalize our faith to just Sundays. We must let our Catholic faith permeate every part of your life. A large fire ignites from a single spark. Are you willing to be that spark that sets ablaze the love of God in your family? In the world?

Both of these books were given to me for free by Ave Maria Press in exchange for honest reviews. If you found the reviews helpful, click here or here!