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More than a typical marriage book

Researcher explores the little things that make a big difference in marriage

Highly happy couples believe the best about each other. They “boss their feelings.” They believe they have hit the jackpot.

And they keep score — not of their spouse’s wrongs, but of their contributions.

Shaunti Feldhahn. The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Difference.

Shaunti Feldhahn. The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Difference. New York: Multnomah, 2013. 256 pages.

Those are some of the findings in Shaunti Feldhahn’s Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages.” Feldhahn, a researcher and author, has written several books with her husband on marriage, including the bestselling For Women Only and its partner volume, For Men Only.”

Feldhahn is noted for her analytical and statistical approach to the study of marriage and family. She brings a unique perspective to the subject since her background is financial analysis.

To produce this book, she spent three years interviewing and surveying 1,000 couples to uncover the most important habits of the most happily married couples. The book consists of 12 habits — and they’re not the typical points in most marriage books. She writes, “It’s usually not the biggies — in-laws, money, sex — that determine the level of day-to-day mutual happiness in a marriage.  Much more often, it’s daily unspoken beliefs, assumptions, and practices that make the difference regardless of the big issues.”

While written from a Christian perspective, she uses couples from various faith backgrounds in her research. One chapter that would make a great sermon or Bible class is titled “How Highly Happy Couples Look Higher.”

Josh Ketchum

Josh Ketchum

The book contains lots of variety and is practical and easy to understand. It is not a basic, foundational book like “His Needs, Her Needs,” “The 5 Love Languages” or even Feldhahn’s other works. This book focuses on core attitudes and actions that take a marriage from simply existing together to being highly happy together. It deals with the fine-tuning issues that make a marriage happy.

JOSH KETCHUM preaches for the Seven Oaks Church of Christ in Mayfield, Ky.

Filed under: book review how to have a happy marriage Marriage Opinion opinion Reviews secrets to a happy marriage

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