When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages Workbook for Husbands

When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages Workbook for Husbands

by Les Parrott, Leslie Parrott



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310239024
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 03/01/2001
Pages: 48
Product dimensions: 6.04(w) x 9.01(h) x 0.21(d)

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When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages Workbook for Husbands

How to Stay Together When Life Pulls You Apart
By Les Parrott Leslie Parrott


Copyright © 2001 Zondervan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-23902-8

Chapter One

A Letter to Our Readers

I took a speed reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes," says comedian Woody Allen. "It involves Russia."

Ever felt like that after reading a book? Sometimes it becomes so easy to focus on finishing a book that we miss its main message. What you hold in your hand is a kind of insurance policy against that happening while you are reading When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages. But it's more than that, too.

Books let us shake hands with new ideas. But these ideas remain as flat as the printed page if we do not apply them to our lives. For this reason, we have designed workbooks-one for husbands and one for wives-that will help you incorporate into your marriage the new lessons you learn while reading.

As you read through the main book, you will discover places where it points you to do an exercise in these workbooks. Most of them are designed for you to take about five minutes on your own to complete a few questions or to take a brief self-test and then compare your results with your spouse (that's why it's important for each spouse to have a workbook). Or, it may give you an exercise to do together so that you can put into practice a new principle. This is where real learning occurs. This is where new ideas become more than acquaintances; they begin to make a positive difference in your marriage.

We have used these exercises with countless couples, both in our counseling practice as well as in our seminar settings. They are proven. They work. And that's why we are passionate about you doing them as you read through our book.

While there is no one right way to use these workbooks, we suggest that you complete the exercises as you encounter them in the book, or soon after you have finished reading the chapter that covers the exercise. In other words, try to complete the exercises for that chapter before moving on to the next one. The point is to integrate the exercises into the process of reading the book. Some of the exercises are designed to be used again and again ("The Big Question," for example), helping you continue to deepen your level of intimacy. Others are more of a one-shot exercise designed to give you a flash of insight.

As you proceed through the pages of this book, make it your own. Don't get too hung up on following the rules. If a particular exercise leads you down a more intriguing path, take it. Some of these exercises may simply serve as springboards to discussions that fit your style more appropriately. However, if an exercise seems a bit challenging, don't give up on it. As the saying goes, anything worth having is worth working for-especially when it comes to marriage.

So, whether you are a speed reader or not, we hope you don't approach When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages just to check it off your "to-do" list. We hope and pray that you will, instead, use these exercises, self-tests, and discussion questions to internalize the book's message and fortify your marriage with every possible good thing. Les and Leslie Parrott

Exercise 1:

Taking Inventory of the Good and the Bad

Every couple bumps into bad things-circumstances that make marriage more difficult. In this first exercise, we urge you to take an inventory of "bad things" threatening your love. Every couple has their own unique list. What follows are some of the most common. Take a moment, without input from your spouse, to check those that currently top your list.

____ Frequent conflict

____ Financial pressures

____ Power struggles

____ Busy schedules

____ Work pressures

____ Career crisis

____ Infertility

____ Tumultuous relations with extended family

____ A rebellious child

____ Sexual unfulfillment

____ Lack of spiritual intimacy

____ Frequent communication breakdowns

____ Major illness

____ Addictions

____ Infidelities and lack of trust

____ Grief or loss

____ Other:________________________

Before discussing the list you just made with your partner, take a few more minutes to note the things in your life right now that are good for your marriage. What half dozen good things are augmenting the love you share? Your list could consist of anything from "having a date night each week" to "being honest with each other" to "sharing the housework." Note what is currently going on that buoys your marriage in spite of bad things.

____ Being honest with each other

____ Sharing housework

____ Sharing humor or laughter

____ Having strong social support

____ Sharing a vision for our future

____ Enjoying a committed church life together

____ Enjoying a fulfilling sex life

____ Having a date night

____ Enjoying good children

____ Feeling in good physical health

____ Having a secure financial future

____ Sharing interests and hobbies

____ Enjoying strong extended family relationships

____ Supporting each other in prayer

____ Feeling secure in our marriage commitment

____ Feeling strong emotional health

____ Other:________________________

Once you've made your two lists, set aside some time to share this information with each other. Don't turn this into a gripe session. The point of sharing your first list is to simply identify what difficult things you are both contending with that impact your marriage. The goal in sharing your second list is to remember the good, not just the bad.

Exercise 2:

How "Good" Is Your Marriage?

This brief exercise requires honesty, sensitivity, and self-reflection. As you read in the book, research has revealed five qualities that are the armament used to protect good couples from the destruction of bad things:

Ownership taking responsibility for what you do and say

Hope believing that good is a part of your future

Empathy putting yourself in your partner's shoes

Forgiveness letting go of resentment and making things right

Commitment doing all you can to make your relationship rock solid

As you consider these qualities, rate where you, and then your partner, are on each one. Do this on your own, without consulting your mate for now.

Your Husband

Shift Blame 1 2 3 4 5 Take Ownership
Pessimistic 1 2 3 4 5 Optimistic
Self-Consumed 1 2 3 4 5 Empathic
Resentful 1 2 3 4 5 Forgiving
Give Up Easily 1 2 3 4 5 Fully Committed

You as a Wife

Shift Blame 1 2 3 4 5 Take Ownership
Pessimistic 1 2 3 4 5 Optimistic
Self-Consumed 1 2 3 4 5 Empathic
Resentful 1 2 3 4 5 Forgiving
Give Up Easily 1 2 3 4 5 Fully Committed

After both you and your partner have rated these qualities on your own, take a few minutes to discuss your results. It is important to stay objective in this discussion. Focus on being sensitive to your partner's feelings and being open to what your partner has to say. The goal is to learn what both of you bring to your joint efforts in battling bad things.


Excerpted from When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages Workbook for Husbands by Les Parrott Leslie Parrott Copyright © 2001 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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