Is there a recipe for the perfect marriage? For finding happiness?

I loved The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. That sentence sounds overly cheerful to me. I feel as if unicorns and rainbows should parade across my screen. It is impossible not to look on the bright side of life when studying how to be happier. Rubin breaks down her research into a year of committed study, a year of studying how to just be happier. And the funny thing, it wasn’t that she wasn’t happy to begin with. This woman knows she is blessed from the beginning but desires to stop moving through life from point A to B in a zombie like trance. Rubin wants to engage life, to live it to its fullest, to not miss a moment or a drop of happiness. Just telling you about her happiness isn’t enough though. After reading the book you are invited to begin your own happiness project with her guidance and online tools at the And for those of you looking down the barrel of a deployment, this is a great distraction. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather focus on The Happiness Project as opposed to long hours alone on the couch comforted only by ice cream.

Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert

Are you picking up a theme? I’m on a quest you could say to discover happiness. I want to know what it is, to dissect it and how to grasp it even in those moments when it seems so unattainable. Daniel Gilbert is a fun author. He is simply great with words. I normally am not a big fan of books about Psychology but this one was just fun to read. Maybe it’s just that you can’t talk about happiness without being light hearted, or perhaps its because Gilbert is just extremely gifted in his craft. Don’t take my word for it, check out his blog.




Much Ado About Loving: What Our Favorite Novels Can Teach You About Date Expectations, Not-So-Great Gatsbys, and Love in the Time of Internet Personals, by Jack Murnighan and Maura Kelly.

I have a confession. This books seemed to scream at the literary nerd in me. I couldn’t pass it up. I do believe it jumped right off the shelf and into my lap as I was digging through the library shelves for books about dating. The premise of the book is to learn real life lessons from literary characters on the art of dating. While I don’t prescribe to many of the authors personal opinions, turns out I hold more to the values of the “forehead-smackingly priggish” Jane Eyere (as Kelly describes her), for the most part this was a fun read. My favorite chapter was Bleak House? Not This One, Dickens Recipe for the Perfect Marriage According to Jack. Murnighan pulls out some great advice on how to stay in love once married. Advice that we should take to heart. Here they are: “complete appreciation” (basically adoration of our spouse), “trusting the other one’s opinion”, and trying our best to go out of our way to make the other happy.  To Jack Murnighan, quite the romantic, that is the perfect recipe to a life long relationship.

Talk about convicting. I’ve been leading a study by Linda Dillow, What’s it Like to be Married to Me? If you are following my blog you already know this as I’ve mentioned it a couple of times in Gripes be Gone and 10 Years and Counting. The book is very strong on the stop nagging and build up your husband, stop gripping and find the beauty around you. From Thankful Journals to Gripe Be Gone bracelets, Dillow gives you exercises to help you go from being a nagging wife to a joyful crown on your husbands head.

Last week was our best study yet. A lot of times in group studies on marriage I have found that it becomes what Dillow calls “sophisticated venting.” Instead, we took turns going around the room sharing only the good about our husbands. It was fun! So many times I only hear the negative side, and let me tell you if I haven’t met the husband yet,especially if he happens to be deployed and I get an ear full for a year, by the time I do meet him I have the worst view. No wo nder these men don’t want to come to Church. Their wives have spoke so negatively of them for so long they don’t stand a chance. But if we were to reverse that as wives and only share the qualities we love (because face it they do outweigh the negatives) then when he gets home there is a welcome committee eagerly waiting his arrival. So lets start building our husbands up in the way Dillow encourages and maybe, just maybe we can answer the question “what’s it like to be married to me?” as “pretty darn awesome!”

See You at Harry’s, by Jo Knowles was heart breaking. I picked this book up because a secret obsession of mine is young adult fiction. I thought it would be a fun read on my down time about a 12 year old entering middle school and her family’s life in the restaurant business. It completely ripped my heart out. I couldn’t put it down I had to know….

I read it from front to back in one sitting. While this is a young adult book I highly suggest reading it before handing it to a 12 year old. There are some tough themes that your child is going to want to talk about: specifically bullying, homosexuality, and grieving. The story is good, memorable, and I highly recommend it to anyone working with teens to get a glimpse into the world they are living today.  Here are a couple of reviews on the book that give you a better idea of what it is about without giving anything away: Teen Lit Rocks and Abby the Librarian

As I’m researching Happiness, Relationships, Dating and Marriage all of these books were scattered across my table. I was slightly concerned that if someone were to walk in they would think I was neurotic. Perhaps looking for happiness, trying to decide if I want to be married,  and how to date prospects on the internet. The only prospect I am looking to date is my husband. I’m searching for ways to date him though thousands of miles apart. What are some of the ways that you stay connected during deployment? And on another note, do you have a Young Adult book you would recommend for my obsession?

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