Online Book Study Session 3 (Chapters 9-12)

As mentioned in the previous post, we’ve gone deeper through these chapters into more of a “self revelation” type of thought process. Understanding who we are as an individual will help us better communicate with others. I appreciated chapter 9 as it discussed emotions – I will forever hear Pastor Jan saying over and over that “we can’t help our feelings.” That is so true. What we can help, however, is how we respond to those feelings. I think that is where we all struggle . . . especially in marriage.

In my marriage, communicating feelings is tough because (a) when I begin sharing my feelings with my husband he typically gets defensive and (b) my husband doesn’t share feelings much at all, which leads me to ask him about his feelings often and, in turn, I end up driving him nuts. As far as the defensiveness goes (he and I can both get pretty defensive), they have a whole chapter on that later in the book (thank heavens). But, understanding the importance of “I” language instead of “you” language has certainly helped us with that piece of it. Do you struggle with a similar issue when it comes to sharing feelings with each other? Is your spouse able to undersand how you feel?

The chapter I loved, though, was the one about “growth” vs. “change.” That was powerful because as I reflected on my marriage, especially the last few years, I see a ton of growth (thankfully). It seems that change is something that could be surface level and not always permanent – like changing your clothes or your hair color. Growth indicates that one has literally grown past a behavior, attitude, habit, etc. and will no longer behave, act, or do that bad habit any more. Like someone can change their shoes, but when their feet grow out of a pair of shoes, there is no going back to those smaller shoes. I’d like to think that my husband and I have grown past many things and will not relive those heartbreaking events in our lives. Therefore, I believe Dr. Chapman is right on that growth is key! Interesting, isn’t it, that this chapter is literally in the middle of the book. I doubt that was a mistake since it is so important to the chapters to come.

Oh, and I love Mickey’s response to this question in the video, don’t you? I agree with him completely that we should grow together in our marriage and that is much more meaningful than a series of quick changes here and there. Growth should be the goal and, truthfully, we will probably never stop growin in our marriage!

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