The 7 Spiritual Practices of Marriage summarizes the material that Dr. Anderson has presented in hundreds of workshops around the country.
"Dr. Anderson has given couples a much needed model for building a great marriage on purpose. His vision of married love goes far beyond 'how to keep that lovin' feeling.' It gives couples a set of practices for creating a loving marriage day by day." —Rev. Daniel Zak
"Anderson's wisdom and engaging style make this book an indispensable guide for couples who want a vibrant marriage." —Rev. Chrysanne Timm
"Kevin Anderson's mix of spiritual wisdom and practical relationship skills is truly a gift to couples!" —John and Beth Stock-Florian
This book helps couples re-imagine love as an ongoing intentional spiritual growth process. Many couples think that because they have fallen in love, they begin their relationship with the masterpiece of love for which they must simply become curators. Not realizing that love is a still-being-painted masterpiece in every good marriage, many couples get busy with everything else in life. This often means giving too much attention to work, material things, and even children while allowing the relationship to survive (rather than thrive) on relatively little time and energy.
This book will help any couple explore the following spiritual practices of marriage:
Create a shared vision: Many couples attempt to build a marriage as if looking at two conflicting sets of blueprints. Creating a shared vision means having a regular communication process to make sure the couple is building off of one common set of "blueprints" for the life they are creating together.
Make connection the norm: For many couples, disconnection is the norm. This spiritual practice involves making connection—affectionate, emotional, spiritual--an intentional, daily reality.
Bring honoring to conflict: When couples struggle, it is usually because of how they deal or don't deal with conflict. This section of the book clarifies the challenges for three types of couples and gives guidelines for how to listen empathically and how to "look for the dream behind the conflict."
Give up the search for the perfect lover: This spiritual practice is all about accepting one's partner as is rather than making her or him into a home improvement project. When both partners are focused on 1) accepting the other person and 2) working hard on becoming a better version of oneself, an interesting spiritual chemistry is at work in the marriage.
Work on the "I" in marriage: There is no "I" in "team," but there is an "I" in "marriage." The only real leverage either partner has to make a marriage better is to focus on herself or himself. This is not natural—most people see problems first as belonging to the partner ("you have a problem") or perhaps to the couple ("we have a problem"). Getting to "I have a problem" takes humility and the willingness to consider your partner's tensions with you as part of your spiritual growth agenda. Both partners focus on the leverage they have to change the only things they can change—their own habits, thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
Make love a gift: This spiritual practice is about creating a sacred energy in the couple's sexual relationship. The chapter discusses the reciprocal energies of emotional and physical closeness, guidelines for a shared sexual vision, and how to communicate about sexual problems.
Walk the sacred path: The further a couple goes into marriage, the deeper their love must become to avoid a sense of stagnation, boredom, or habituation to conflict or distance. When couples cultivate a habit of noticing divine energies in their shared life and giving voice to their awareness of those energies, spirituality becomes a daily path of connection and intimacy.
This book contains over eighty "try this" suggestions for couples, guidelines for empathic listening, John Gottman's perpetual issues list, a guide for creating a shared marital vision, an appendix of marital toxins to avoid, and much more.
Dr. Anderson has been invited to speak at hundreds of churches, workshops, and conferences on marriage. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
The 7 Spiritual Practices of Marriage
Your Guide to Creating a Deep and Lasting Love
By Kevin Anderson, Ph.D.
CLB Press, copyright 2005 by Kevin Anderson