This year I was introduced to a little gem of a book that has had a significant and pleasant impact on Nellie’s and my marriage.
We heard about it from my newlywed daughter and her husband. Now you’d think that two people who, in just a few months, will have been married for twenty-nine years would know all the ropes of this marriage thing. You’d think they wouldn’t come across any real new ideas. But this little book proved that idea wrong.
This book is For All Eternity by Dr. John L. Lund. At the time of its writing Lund had over forty years of experience as a counselor, college professor, and marriage educator. His focus is in interpersonal communication, and part of his background was working with John Gottman, one of the best marriage researchers of the last few decades.
In this book, Lund shares what he’s learned with lots of humor and stories. Some of it will be familiar to you, but some of it will be refreshing and new. For example, one belief we frequently cherish is the idea that if someone really loves us, they will know our wants and needs. Their love will somehow endow them with superpowers so that we will never have to communicate our wants. Our loving spouses, if they have any love in them, will be able to discern our wants from the most subtle signs. A nod, a sigh, the wiggle of a nose. And if that doesn’t do it, then surely we will never need to drop more than the merest hint.
Lund explains why the whole notion of “If you have to ask, it doesn’t count” is not only unrealistic, it’s damaging. And that’s just one insight. There are many more. I will let you discover them. But I can tell you that I have found this book so useful and delightful that it will now be one of the two standard books I buy and give as gifts to those who are newly married. I wish I’d had these insights right from the beginning, but better late than never. I’m so happy to have them now.
A little note. For those who are not members of the Mormon church, Lund is directing his teaching at that crowd. So you will find a sprinkling of quotes in here from church leaders that support what he’s learned in his practice and research. Don’t let that stop you. Mormon or non-Mormon, if you want to improve your marriage, you don’t want to miss this book.