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Watching, reading, listening to . . . Almost Lenten edition

Simcha Fisher - published on 02/15/16

Not that you asked, but

I’m reading . . . 

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman

seven principles marriage

As an incurable fiction reader, this is probably about as close as I’m going to get to spiritual reading for Lent. It’s not religious at all, but it is encouraging a lot of self-examination. I’m only about 75 pages in, but am finding it a very refreshing, practical, and humane take on love. For instance, in the first chapter, he lists some of the common myths about marriage, including the myth that “neurosis or personality problems ruin marriages.” He says:

…We all have issues we’re not totally rational about. We call these triggers “enduring vulnerabilities” . . . They don’t necessarily interfere with marriage if you learn to recognize and avoid activating them in each other.  . . . If you can accommodate each other’s “crazy” side and handle it with caring, affection, and respect, your marriage can thrive.

Like a lot of the passages in this book, it’s not a mind-blowingly new idea, but it’s a refreshing contrast to the flood of bad and selfish ideas about what it means to be in an adult relationship. A lot of people seem to believe that you have to get to the root of every conflict, or communicate your way into resolving everything, or stand your ground and refuse to budge every time your spouse has some microaggressive habit. That’s no way to live!

The author is a professor of psychology and has been a marriage therapist and researcher for several decades, and the book includes a bunch of quizzes and exercises you can do with your spouse to assess and improve your relationship. I’ll let you know, as I continue to read, if I find anything that’s a deal breaker in this book! In the meantime, I recommend it. Thanks to my sister Rosie for discovering this title.


I’m watching . . .

Curb Your Enthusiasm on Amazon Prime streaming. Definitely not appropriate for Lent, and actually kind of a live-action demonstration of how not to make your marriage (or any relationship) work. Full of awful people and very bad language (and lots of improv). But gosh, it’s funny in small doses. Larry David, who co-created and was head writer of Seinfeld, plays a pettier, more clueless version of himself. In every episode, he falls afoul of completely unreasonable people and manages to get blamed for something totally unjust, and yet somehow he always brought it on himself.

Well, after ten minutes of searching for a video clip I can reasonably share on Aleteia, I give up. Never mind!


I’m listening to . . . 

The Louvin Brothers are known for their close harmonies, but in “Almost Persuaded,” the solo voice slays me:

Seems about right for the second week of Lent.

How about you? Any discoveries, old favorites, or guilty pleasures to share?

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