The following is a review for Gary and Norma’s newest book, 4 Days to a Forever Marriage:
Reviewed by Barbara J. Peters, LPC, RN
Author of The Gift of a Lifetime: Building a Marriage That Lasts and He Said, She Said, I Said
How wonderful that a couple has the power of choice to impact the direction of their marriage!
In 4 Days to a Forever Marriage, Dr. Gary Smalley and his wife Norma show when love triumphs over anger, the insidiously destructive force of rage is destroyed.
Choosing love, the genuine concern for another, over anger with its focus on self and pride, encourages the growth of honor and respect in a marriage which are important values to shower upon one’s spouse. The conscious choice to act in love rather than anger creates a marriage which flourishes as experiences are enjoyed together, and is strengthened even when disappointments, set-backs, and challenges are faced.
The Smalleys share that even though we might be creatures of habit, choosing to be forgiving instead of vengeful, patient instead of anxious, and thankful instead of ungrateful can lead to a more satisfying marriage. Applying examples from their own marriage of 40-plus years, as well as lessons learned through counseling others, the Smalleys weave ways to create a faith-based marriage which is resilient and confident, without sacrificing the individuality of the partners.
This book is written in a comfortable style, making it easy to read and understand. I particularly enjoyed the section titled “What Creates Conflict,” knowing every marriage will face conflict many times, sometimes even daily. Identifying power and control, individuality, distance, distrust, and unmet needs as the main reasons for marital conflict gives each a name, which can help a couple discover, and ultimately accept, the roots of the clashes and struggles in their relationship.
Kernels of wisdom scattered throughout 4 Days to a Forever Marriage allow couples to skim the book and enjoy “ah-ha” moments as pages turn. Simple reminders like, “Unresolved anger in your home is more toxic than the radon gas . . . No one can long ignore considerate, loving actions . . . The real secret to becoming a close-knit couple is shared experiences that turn into shared trials,” and a really good one . . . “When a wife expresses frustration, she will be more receptive to her husband’s shoulders and arms than his mouth,” can do much to grow a marriage in a positive, loving way.
For long married couples, or those just starting out, 4 Days to a Forever Marriage is an insightful, interactive manual to lead couples to find the joy and wonder meant to be in their marriage.