Skip to main content

Building a Strong Relationship

At first sight, I was a little put off by the book's title, Love at Last Sight: 30 days to grow and deepen your closest relationship. Yet, as you begin to wade into this new book by Kerry and Chris Shook, you find a wealth of practical advice for relationships. My uneasiness about the title refers to the 30 days approach, which after reading the book is not just another gimmick but rather biblically informed wisdom about how relationships work and how they can grow.

In the first chapter of the book, the authors write about the necessity of being all there in relationships by saying, "Most communication takes place nonverbally through facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. So if you connect only by phone or by e-mail, you're missing out on your biggest opportunities for getting closer" (17). There is something wonderful about our technologically advanced that we can communicate with others at any time, yet we are not much closer to our closest relationships because of technology. Investment face to face breaks the walls we hide behind through the viral world. The Shooks recognize that being there for someone is actually physcially being present while also realzing that your nonverbal cues carry more weight than your words.

In writing about conflict, the authors mention that taking turns is key to a good conflict. Allowing the other person to be snowballed by your anger and malicious words only causes the relationship to further sever. We rather want to win the argument rather than hear the person. This is all the more important because conflict necessitates a spirit of forgiveness. They write at one point, "Six words. "I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?"...But sometimes we are wrong" (41) Sometimes in conflict I find it necessary to even try and carefully restate what the other person I am talking to is saying, because I am often prone to distortion and abuse of their language. The Shooks have wisely included challenge questions at the end of each chapter to serve as a conversation piece. Conflict is not devastating to a relationship until it blows over into hatred, disregard for the other person and mean-spirited antagonism.

The chapter entitled The Imperfect Dance was a wakeup call for me while I was reading. My desire is to love my wife and to serve her in all ways, yet I fall short in many ways. The Shooks remind their readers that although imperfect we are, we can take 'incremental goals' to help bring healing and restoration to relationships (73). At one point, the authors write, "Marriage is a choice. When you say yes to your spouse, you're saying no to every other person on the planet. Once you've invested your life in someone, you can't recapture those hours to use again on someone else" (73). What this comment says is that relationships especially are a comittment beyond all else, and to allow restoration to take place we need to say no to many things that cause those closest relationships to fracture. These kind of actions and comittments must be intentional, little decisions done every day over time that add up to a life of faithfulness.

Overall, I thought this book was a great book for those interested in developing their closest relationships. In the end, I did not feel that this was a six step program at all, but a vision of wisdom from Scriptural principles about loving our close ones well. For spouses, teachers, church leaders, and those interested in healing from the pain of relationships, this book would be a good read.

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for the complimentary review copy.


Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
A profound simplicity of thought, a penetrating vision of what it means to be human, Flannery O’Connor embodies the spirit of bringing fictional stories to life.  Others might call her fiction ‘grotesque’ in a rather unflattering manner, but O’Connor was not content to live up to their criticisms.  In this short book of collected essay and lectures, Mystery and Manners, editors and friends of Flannery, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald have given us a glimpse into the vision of her faith, style and life as a writer.   A lifelong Catholic, Flannery O’Connor sought to wed together the moral integrity of her faith with the character of her craft in writing.  Specifically, fiction for her was an exploration in imitation.
In a rather illuminating statement in the chapter entitled, “A Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South, “ O’Connor writes,
“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write.  There is a certain em…