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HIGHLY HAPPY MARRIAGES by Shaunti Feldhahn REVIEWED



ABOUT AUTHOR: Shaunti received her graduate degree from Harvard University and was an analyst on Wall Street before unexpectedly becoming a social researcher and best-selling author.

Today, she applies her analytical skills to investigating eye-opening, life-changing truths about relationships, both at home and in the workplace.  Her groundbreaking research-based books, such as For Women Only, have sold more than 2 million copies in 22 languages and are widely read in homes, counseling centers and corporations worldwide.

Where the “Only” series revealed the often-unseen needs of men and women, her newest multi-year research project, published in The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, investigates the process of what makes great relationships.

Shaunti’s findings have been featured in media as diverse as The Today Show and Focus on the Family, The New York Times and MomLife Today. Shaunti, Jeff and their two children live in Atlanta and enjoy every minute of living life at warp speed.

Highly Happy Marriages 
By Shaunti Feldhahn
Published by Multnoman
ISBN#978-1-60142-121-0

ABOUT BOOK:“Where does ‘highly happy’ come from—and can we have some too?!”

Have you ever looked at a blissfully married couple and thought, I wish I could know their secret? Now you can. After years of investigative research, Shaunti reveals twelve powerful habits that the happiest marriages have in common. 

Best news of all? Anyone can learn the secrets of a highly happy marriage! 

In The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, Shaunti Feldhahn shares her findings about little, very unexpected, often overlooked actions that make a huge difference. You’re about to discover that highly happy couples:
Go to bed mad
Keep score (just not in the way you think)
Boss their feelings around
Have factual fantasies 
Get in over their heads
Don’t tell it like it is
Don’t look to marriage to make them happy… 

Packed with eye-opening research and practical helps, this book delivers relationship insights that will take your marriage from “just fine” to “just the marriage we’ve always wanted.”

REVIEW: I remember when Shaunti first published For Women Only. She made a fascinating discovery when she was deep in research for a fiction book she was writing. The discovery came while she was doing extensive interviews so she could get an authentic view of how men and women were different in what they valued most in relationships. I found the non-fiction books she’s written helpful and this one is no exception. What intrigued me about this book is how many simple things seem small in effort but pay off big in bringing two people close together. 

Shaunti says, “You are very likely to make your spouse feel deeply cared for if you make a habit of doing the same five things consistently.” She has the Fantastic five list for men and one for women. Here is a sample of things from that list. She says, “A wife will have a big impact on her husband’s happiness when she does the following five. 1. Notices his effort and sincerely thanks him for it. Ex. “Thank you for mowing the lawn even though it was so hot outside”. 2. Mentions in front of others something he did well. (Each of the five items are listed with examples just like the ones’ I've shown here).

Now for the men’s list, “a husband will have a big impact on his wife when he does the following five. 1. Takes her hand. Ex. “When walking through a parking lot or sitting together at a movie or church.” 2. Leaves her a message by voice mail, email or text during the day to say he loves her and is thinking about her….these are simple, learnable, and doable by any wife or husband….these fantastic five make both parties feel “deeply pleased and cared for.”

The fantastic five are just the beginning of this encouraging read. The other subjects the author talks about in different chapters are

1.       Believe the Best – How assuming that your spouse cares deeply changes everything – Act on the best.
2.       Go to Bed Mad – Why sleeping on it might be smarter after all.
3.       Keep Score – How what you count up changes what you give back
4.       Boss their feelings around – Why changing what you do changes how you feel
5.       Have factual fantasies – How loving the art of possible makes your marriage stronger
6.       Putting the secrets to work – your plan for getting from so-so to Highly Happy consistently.

This book is based on more than 100 interviews conducted with couples who have been married a long time and are highly happy most of the time. These are not the author’s thoughts but tips she gleaned from the many interviews done separately and then together as a couple to uncover the things that have work for these couples. The research took three years and her husband helped in the process.

Life’s tough sometimes, it’s nice to read about simple things that make a big difference.  Some of the things you’ll read about and say to yourself, that makes sense or I hadn’t thought much about that. I’ll pay attention and make these simple life style changes that will make my spouse happier and me too! Marriage is a journey that can be more pleasurable and Shanti shows you how.

She says, “Continuing to learn each other is part of the fun of marriage. The key is to trust God, make a decision. …And start….. When there is no other option and you fully invest emotionally because you have to make it work, it dramatically increases commitment, certainty and security.”

Oh, yeah. This books a keeper. It’s one you’ll refer to in order to take your relationship to the next level of feeling deeply loved and secure. This book will be helpful to many. THANKS Shaunti for writing another book that has us look at how the little things we do in life matter so much to the people around us. Thanks also for all the time you’ve spent talking to couples and the way you’ve shared information that I’m sure will be a help so many.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
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