Thursday, January 7, 2010

'Happy Spouse....Happy House: The Best Game Plan for a Winning Marriage' by Pat and Ruth Williams - book review

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Anyone who is married knows that it takes work to make it successful.  I have been married to Fred for 4 ½ years.  As this is my first (and pray, only!) marriage, and I did not grow up with a role model for marriage, I am always on the lookout for information on how to implement successful strategies to make ours healthier and happier.  When I discovered Pat Williams and his wife, Ruth, had written a book about marriage, I was excited to glean their insights.

I have been familiar with Pat Williams for many years.  Mr. Williams has been an NBA executive for 47 years; he currently holds the position of senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.  He is also a motivational speaker.  As If that weren’t enough, in addition, he is also the father of 19 children, including 14 adopted from 4 countries.  Pat’s wife, Ruth, in addition to being wife and mother to 19, is a senior consultant with the FranklinCovey Company.   

Their book, ‘Happy Spouse…Happy House: The Best Game Plan For A Winning Marriage,’ offers many practical insights into wedded bliss from a Christian perspective.  One piece of advice that I found very helpful is this, found on page 46:

“In order for a marriage to thrive, there must be five positive interactions between a husband and wife for every negative reaction.”

I can confess that I have to be very careful about taming my tongue when Fred does something that may offend or upset me.  I have made a point to pray before I allow any words to come out of my mouth.  After all, they can never be taken back after they come out; the damage is done.  Ideally, the thoughts should not come into our minds, but if they do, we need to pray moment by moment that they are not uttered.  I appreciate the sentiment presented by the Williams'.

The Williams’ also state that, in order to have the best possible marriage, you must EDIFY your spouse:


I was also happy to see that Pat and Ruth employ the Biblical principles of forgiveness and daily Bible and devotional readings before they retire for the evening.

I was encouraged by a story at the end of the book.  Both Pat and Ruth participate in marathons, as do Fred & I.  They shared an example of perseverance during the Boston Marathon.  In 1997, they ran the premiere marathon together.  Ruth had knee problems at Mile 9.  She strongly encouraged Pat to continue on without her.  At Mile 20, Pat heard a voice from behind him – “Paaaatrick!”  It was Ruth; she had run the last 11 miles alone to catch up with Pat; they ran the final 6.2 miles together.  Pat continues:

“Perseverance is paramount – ... nothing is accomplished by stopping altogether, by melting beneath circumstances.  Ruth did not give up on finding me or finishing the marathon with me.  This story is the most literal example I can evoke of man’s ability to push ahead amid seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  Marathons area reflection of life and marriage.  You get to practice ‘not quitting’ for about five hours. “

It is important to learn from others who have preceded us in successful and prosperous endeavors.  Ruth and Pat’s marriage is a strong and powerful exemplar to all of us.  I think 'Happy House...Happy House' is valuable to all married couples.  In addition, it would be a wonderful wedding gift to help a couple begin their marriage on the right track – and keep it there.    

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