I had the opportunity to review Heidi Poleman's Two Minute Marriage Project recently.
As I read through each chapter, I was excited that such a wonderful book was available.
This is the best "marriage counseling" book I have ever read.
Literally - ever.
As a counselor, I have read books from the big name authors: Gottman, Chapman, Hendrix, etc. Each of their books has been helpful, and I enjoy reading about their professional experiences in counseling sessions. What fascinated me about Poleman's book, however, is that she is not a professional counselor, yet she has the same amount of helpful insight to share. She describes researching marriage counseling for an extensive amount of time prior to writing her book, and her dedicated study shows in the well-written tips for improving a marriage.
As I read, her words hit close to home for me personally. If I was to ever write a book about marriage counseling, it would be almost identical to this book. As I read, it was as if Poleman articulately took the words out of my mind and put them into print. But where I can be somewhat scatterbrained, she eloquently flowed from topic to topic in an endearing and insightful manner.
Her "simple secrets for staying in love" are truly simple tips with vast potential.
For example, Poleman writes, "Find a way to serve your spouse. It can be as easy as changing a diaper, picking up some milk, ironing a shirt, turning down the bed, shoveling the walk, making a meal, taking out the trash, or cleaning off glasses as long as you are doing it for your spouse, it is an act of love. These simple acts of service communicate clearly “Your happiness is my happiness.” Even doing the jobs you are “supposed” to do is a sign that you care about your spouse’s well-being and want to hold up your end of the deal. Whatever it is that your spouse will notice and appreciate, do it, and do it often" (p. 49).
I delighted in how she
explains the importance of selfless service in a marriage. Just recently I sat in a marriage counseling session and listened as
each spouse described feeling
unappreciated for the work they do around
the house. I recalled Poleman's words, and I tried to shift the conversation towards expressing gratitude for what service is done and expressing needs to your partner. Poleman's discussion of service in a
healthy marriage inspired me to begin spreading the #servingmyspouse, which I wrote about here.
With lighthearted humor and a willingness to share her successes and mistakes, Poleman shines light on true joys of a healthy relationship. She describes how she has improved her communication with her husband; she discusses the lessons she has learned from friends and family with varied marriage experience. As the subtitle of the book projects, she explains how simple actions, such as sending a loving text message, can have profound power to keep a marriage strong. She writes, "It may seem simple, but this kind of little connection is more fuel for your fire" (p. 54). She quotes Dr. Gottman who advises, “Real-life romance is fueled by a far more humdrum approach to staying connected [than anything big and flashy like a fancy vacation for two] (p.54).
Another large portion of her writing is dedicated to improving communication patterns between spouses. As a counselor, I appreciated her explanations of how body language, tone of voice, word choice, and listening skills can enhance or deteriorate a marriage. Many recollections of marriage counseling sessions with struggling spouses flashed through my memory as I read. Oh, how those fighting couples would have benefited from reading her book in conjunction with our professional counseling sessions! I have also written a bit on problem solving communication here
At the end of each chapter she suggests "Two Minute Action Steps" which reinforce the theme of each chapter. These simple exercises, if completed, help a couple establish or enhance positive habits. From communication tips to service ideas to sexual intimacy, these two minute action steps help a couple become closer one small step at a time. I like to remind couples in marriage counseling that their actions are reciprocal. If one spouse starts to act positively, eventually the other spouse will change as well. If one spouse reads this book and starts to incorporate Poleman's actions steps, the other spouse will likely notice the positive change and reciprocate love back.
I wholeheartedly recommend Two-Minute Marriage Project to anyone desiring a boost in their relationship. Poleman authored a winning book full of wise insights, professional references, and action-oriented improvements, all in an easy to comprehend writing style.
Find her book at Familius
or on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did.
Labels: Emotional Health, Marriage