Children learn best when they feel secure, and there is no greater security than to know that their parents love each other. In fact, one of the best things we can do for our children’s education is to improve our marriages. So, in order to help you with this foundation of your homeschool, I want to tell you about the most practical marriage book I have ever come across, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages by Shaunti Feldhahn.
What’s unique about Shaunti’s approach is that she studied many very happy couples to see what they had in common. The results are both surprising and obvious, and are oh-so-worthwhile for every married couple. I’m sharing some of my notes to encourage you to buy the book and study it for yourself.
The happiest couples…
- choose to believe that their spouse cares for them (and almost 100% of people, even in struggling marriages, do care for their spouse).
- learn how to help their mate feel loved and cared for.
- believe that their spouse never means to hurt them. This is pretty well a prerequisite to a happy marriage.
- learn the difference between resolving their anger and resolving their issues.
- keep score of what the other person is giving, and respond with generosity and gratitude.
- cultivate positive feelings toward their spouse by controlling negative thoughts and by adjusting their actions.
- have realistic expectations of their spouse.
- reconnect after hurt feelings and conflict, reaffirming their relationship even if still disagreeing on issues.
- accept each other’s apologies.
- prioritize hanging out together and act like best friends despite travel, busyness, and frustration.
- have friends who support their marriage rather than tear it down.
- are kind to each other and try not to hurt each other.
- put God at the center of their marriage and look to him, not the spouse, for fulfillment.
- worship together.
- commit completely to their spouse, emotionally and financially, without holding back.
- understand that commitment causes love and passion.
- give their spouse credit for relationship success and communicate that gratitude.
In The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages Shaunti Feldhahn explains each of these ideas and more, giving inspiration, practical tips, and illuminating stories. This list is only the tip of the iceberg.
Each of the habits in this long list can be transformative for a marriage, but Shaunti found that if couples try to implement them all at once they become overwhelmed and give up. She recommends working on one habit at a time.
What if your spouse is not interested in these ideas? Shaunti writes, “Even if just one spouse commits to applying these simple but powerful habits, most marriages end up being transformed.”
Since marriage is the foundation of successful families, including successful homeschooling families, I highly recommend this book. In fact—and I do not know if I have ever ended a review like this before—I urge you to read and apply this book. Your family will be happier and your children will be able to learn better.
(This article has been slightly modified from an earlier review.)