Friday, April 20, 2012

Read Together

As I’ve said more than once, spending time together is a major part of being romantic. Love, without time, tends to wither, like a plant that isn’t given water. I guess that we could say that spending time together is the way that we water the garden of our love.

Of course, spending time together doesn’t mean just sitting in front of the television, vegetating. For that time to be valuable, it has to be spent doing something together, not just being in each other’s presence. My wife and I share an office. I have my desk with my computer to work on and she has hers. But, just because we’re in the office working at the same time, doesn’t mean that we’re spending time together. For it to count as time together, we’ve got to be focused on one another.

Finding activities where we are actually focused on one another, instead of just focused on something else in each other’s presence, adds another layer of complexity to the equation. Other than taking, which a lot of us guys aren’t all that comfortable doing, it can be hard finding things to do together, where we’re really together and not just in the same room.

One activity which we can do together as a couple, where we can be focused on each other is to read together. Now, it’s obvious that to do this, you’ll have to find a book which you’ll both be interested in. I guarantee you that your wife isn’t going to be interested in reading a car repair manual with you; nor can I see her wanting to spend time together reading about how to prepare your own income taxes.

The best books for this are marriage and relationship related ones. There are a lot of good marriage related books out there, which you can actually enjoy together. Who knows, you might even learn something about how to have a better marriage, while you’re at it.

Another benefit to reading these types of books together is that they help you to talk about your relationship. You see, reading together isn’t just reading what’s on the page, but interjecting your own comments, talking about the ideas that the book is presenting and come up with your own ways of integrating those ideas into your marriage.

I’d recommend starting with something that’s not going to be threatening to either of you; like Smalley’s “The Language of Love,” or Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages,” or even Harley’s “His Needs, Her Needs.” These books are more about understanding each other, than telling one or the other of you that you need to do something. That’s what makes them non-threatening. On the other hand, a book which says “you need to do this to be a good husband” or “you need to do this to be a good wife” can come across as an attack.

Remember, you want to be able to talk about what you’re reading. That can only happen when you’re reading something that is non-threatening. If you pick a book that attacks one of you, then the possibility of positive conversation is greatly limited.

Enjoy taking some time to learn something new together. Not only will it be a great way of spending time together, but it will also be a great way of learning to know each other even better. 

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