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(Resource:  Marriage Fitness, by Mort Fertel)

This is by far one of the best books (if not the best book) we’ve discovered on relationships.  Even though much of the contents can apply to any relationship, the focus is on marriage relationships.  If a couple seeks help in their relationship, most marriage counselors tend to delve into the negatives of their past and encourage a focus on better communication.  Mort states that they’ve got it backwards … get the couple to focus on their “connection” (relationship) with each other, improving that connection, and the communication will come back naturally!  Remember how well you could communicate with your spouse when you were first dating each other?  Wasn’t it easy?  That’s because you were each doing those things that connected/ bonded you to each other.  You were thoughtful, kind, considerate … and did those little things that made all the difference in your feelings toward each other.  Unfortunately, after a few years of marriage, we tend to start taking each other for granted and the small courtesies offered so effortlessly in the beginning tend to drop by the wayside.  Not only that, but we each tend to change somewhat over the years, often to the extent that we feel we are no longer married to the “same” person, and those little idiosyncrasies that once endeared us to each other have become irritants. 

What we need is the same perspective Jacob had when, as stated in Genesis 29, in order to marry the woman of his choice, Rachel, he first had to marry her older sister, Leah.  And so it is in every relationship.  When we marry, in a sense we are marrying two people in one … the person as they are when we first met, and the person they turn into. Here, it is important to distinguish between a person’s soul, that part that is changeless, and a person’s character, that part that can and does change.  If we fall in love with their character, which changes, our love is founded on shaky ground; however, if we focus our love on the infinite worth of their soul and become “soul mates,” our love is on a firm foundation and will weather all the storms of life.

Becoming soul mates is seeing each other as a child of God, realizing each other’s infinite worth as He does.  With this perspective, we can’t help but respect each other, holding each other in the highest regard.  Connecting will be a natural consequence of these feelings.  Granted, because two individuals have differences they will not always agree … and in so many things, this is no big deal (nor should it be).  In other words, "don't sweat the small stuff."  We respect our individual differences and see how those differences can actually enhance/strengthen our marriage!

We highly recommend the book.  In it, the author (via his “MarriageMax 4-Step Plan”) shares specific things any couple can do to enhance and strengthen the bond they have in their marriage … things they can do to keep their “connection” intact, or if need be, renew it. 

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