Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage: Unlocking the Secrets to Life, Love, and Marriage
Atria Books (2008)
Reviewed by Tammy Petty Conrad for Reader Views (5/08)
I enjoyed this book from the lighthearted beginning to the serious ending. The author’s relaxed style made me feel as if we were chatting over coffee. His style of handling complicated, emotional concepts with simple and straight-forward language helped me see things in a much clearer way than I ever have before. And I was married twenty-two years!
The book is based on the author’s seminar on improving marriage. A funny look at a serious subject, it has proven to be helpful to many, many couples, partially because he addresses topics from both the male and female perspectives.
“We get “much revenue” from being joined to another person…” but as he goes on to say, “There is no such thing as a poo-free marriage.” Well maybe this language is a bit too direct, but it does sum up the fact that as beneficial and wonderful as marriage can be, there are always problems to deal with.
There is so much wisdom in this book that I finally got the highlighter out and started marking page after page. I know I will reread sections from time to time just to refresh my memory. And of course there’s lots of laughter to be found throughout the pages. One example stands out: “You were smoking marital ganja if you expected marriage to be a life filled with constant waves of joy, where every morning birds sing you awake and little bunnies help you sweep the floors as the chipmunks wash the dishes.” Amen.
As a pastor who has counseled many, Mark Gungor uses the Bible as his reference. “The Bible never tells us to find the one God has chosen. It teaches us how to live well with the person we have chosen.” A man of strong opinions, some might not agree with everything he has to say. Young couples might doubt some of his wisdom. I on the other hand, a seasoned woman who has been through one marriage, see the wisdom of his words loud and clear. Even though I’m not currently married, I can see the value of the information for my current relationship and will encourage my companion to read the book so we can discuss and implement some of the methods. No matter one’s age or experiences, there are loads of valuable ideas to take from the reading.
I appreciated his idea of taking care of problems while we still care about our partners, or are still invested emotionally. The author says that if we wait too long, it can be too late to fix the problems.
He goes into great detail about how women can get what they want. And as always with humor, he reminds us that “…husbands do not have ESP – they have ESPN,” so if you want something, you have to ask for it. He even discusses the importance of asking more than once for something. It’s not nagging evidently until you add attitude! He delves into the topics of desire and attention and reminds us that we shouldn’t let our spouses think anyone is more important to us than them. But I’m not going to give away all his secrets. You’ll just have to read for yourself.
The chapter on sex is an eye-opener! He is bold enough to state that, “…sex is central to marriage – that sexual love is central to building romantic love and intimacy.” He gets into the differences between men and women and somehow he makes it so clear and simple. It never was when I was married! “The key to getting what you want is to give your spouse what he or she wants.” Duh!! You’ll have to read the text for his comparison of wearing condoms and eating ice cream cones. This man is never afraid to say what he thinks.
We all know deep down that good marriages take lots of hard work. But we need to be reminded to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. “Marriage is not for the faint of heart – this takes guts, persistence, and faith.” “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” is one book that would be perfect for newlyweds or those recently engaged. It is truly a gift for those who take time to ponder its words and implement the wisdom from it.