10 Secrets for a Happy Marriage
Carma B. Sirrine
Cedar Fort, 2009
I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and I think that we have a wonderful marriage. That is not to say that we are without our ups and downs. In an effort to continually improve our relationship, I will read a book that is filled with advice and ways to improve a relationship. Many of these books have good advice, but come across as having little real life application behind the advice. The first thing that grabbed my attention in this book is that Carma Sirrine asked for help and advice from couples that have a happy and successful marriage. She contacted everyone personally and got their help.
Larry W. Tibbetts, PhD, has written the Foreword for the book. He aptly sets the tone of the book on page viii in the following paragraphs:
“Marriage and family life is difficult. In a sense it is a laboratory for godhood. It has been said that marriage and parenthood are not only the sources of our greatest joys, but also the sources of our greatest pains and failures. We delight in the joys but somehow conclude that we should be exempt from the pain. Someone once quipped that marriage is like a three-ring circus: First comes the engagement ring, then the wedding ring, and last of all the suffer-ring.
“Actually, difficulty is one of our greatest teachers, and therefore, our greatest friend. This is a difficult lesson to grasp, and one that may not be fully appreciated until after the trials have been endured well. This principle is taught most clearly in the scriptures -- in fact, there are few themes that are taught more frequently in the standard works or in general conference than the value of adversity in making us more like God.”
People from all walks of life shared with the author great advice and marriage experiences. As she began to read the stories and experiences of those who have helped contribute to her book, Sirrine “found that not all marriages were perfect from the beginning, but for the most part, the couples whose stories make up this book worked hard to stay together and succeeded.” (p. xiii) She gleaned what she felt was the best information, and divided it into ten chapters. The excerpts are short and easy to relate to.
In the first nine chapters I found new ways to look at how much both my husband and I are working on our marriage. She shares experiences from couples that are doing the same things like: praying and relying on the Lord, making decisions together, having commitment in the marriage relationship, remembering and reflecting on the better times, trying to have a good attitude, and the list goes on.
The last chapter is filled with advice that came not in personal stories, but is great nonetheless. This was my favorite chapter of the whole book. The advice is common sense, but hard to remember until it is pointed out. Some of this advice is:
“Pay attention to your grooming. Keep yourself neat and attractive!
Be enlightened and interesting.
Count your blessings (not your money) and be grateful!
Attitude determines the quality of our lives.” (pgs. 105-106)
In the last part of chapter ten “are some guidelines for a fulfilling and happy life from one who has been there.” These guidelines are what can make a wonderful marriage even better. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is one that will be finding a permanent place in my personal library. I hope that those who read this book will share it with those around them. I highly recommend this as an engagement, wedding, or just because gift to those who will be or are married.