Tag Archives: relationships

Be inspired to put love into action

August 13, 2009


“Love is a Verb,”
by Gary Chapman

“Love has to be more than something we feel,” Gary Chapman writes. “It has to be something we do. We have to demonstrate it concretely.”

And inspiring story after inspiring story, that’s what “Love is a Verb” reminds.

Chapman of course became somewhat of a celebrity with the publishing of “The Five Love Languages,” which sold 5 million copies.

Here he offers 40 “love stories” by a whole gamut of people who share their real-life experiences of love in action — often not what you and I — or they themselves — expected.

Many are by writers who have a vital faith life, so they not only know how to tell a story but they get — and pass along — the spiritual they find in the episode they share about.

Chapman, a Baptist pastor in North Carolina, makes each story a teachable moment by adding a “love lesson” at the end of each piece.

Read a story a day

This is not a book to read from cover to cover.
You could, of course. The brief chapters — the longest may be seven or eight pages and most are four or five — make for quick, easy reading.

Better to savor the piece and its lesson a day at a time.

In fact, don’t start at the beginning. When your — um, “loveliness”??? — needs a pick-me-up, crack open this 248-page Bethany House book and start reading a chapter wherever your fingers take you.

Let the stories soak in.

Then get to work.

Because love is a verb. — bz
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Will you have — is yours — the perfect marriage? Take the test!

June 10, 2009

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“PMAT: The Perfect Marriage Aptitude Test,”

by Mary T. Carty

Okay, I took the Perfect Marriage Aptitude Test.
I passed.

Good thing, after being married to the same beautiful blonde for 36 years!

According to my PMAT results I have an “ultimate response style,” which means I have “a willingness to collaborate, cooperate and compromise, as well as invest time and energy in taking positive actions that enhance the marriage.”

My prayer now is that that beautiful blonde I wed 36 years ago agrees!

Jesting aside, I hope Mary Carty and her publisher, Glitterati Incorporated, sell hundreds of thousands of this 144-page gem; marriages and the institution of marriage will be enhanced by what Carty teaches in her test.

As she points out, “There are no degree programs, internships, or required training for marriage,” and the quality of a marriage depends on “the choices couples make a on a daily, even minute-to-minute basis.”

Check your ‘response-ability’

Responses by both partners to those choices determine their “response-ability,” a phrase Carty uses as the focus for her Perfect Marriage Aptitude Test. There are 200 possible marriage situations and 600 multiple choice responses broken into eight themed areas. In taking the test you mark your answer on the supplied response sheet (read “scorecard”).

Add up your totals and you either join yours truly at the head of the class with an “Ultimate Response Style,” or find that your response style is either “competent,” “inconsistent” or “clueless.”

Often there is more than one good answer, and the scoring reflects that. There were only a few of the 200 questions in which I didn’t see a good answer in any of the three choices.

What the questions are doing, though, is teaching as you go, planting ideas for better ways to handle conflict, offering better approaches to those rubber-meets-the-road times that every married couple faces.

Why don’t we have any ice cubes?

What’s so good about the questions is that they are real-life situations.

I have to find out from Carty if she had a listening device in our kitchen during the mid-1970s when my spouse and I wrestled over who took the last of the ice and did not re-fill the ice cube trays!

And does every couple stress over attending the spouse’s company holiday party?

With a background in psychology and counseling, Carty frequently writes on marriage, parenting and relationships, and this book is intended to establish a dialogue between a bride and groom. But it’s also a useful toolkit for those already wed.
Carty echoes other marriage experts in noting, “Respect is the number one ingredient in a healthy relationship,” and, after the test portion, her book winds down with 28 pages of helpful material about communicating, collaborating, strategies to overcome roadblocks, and a number of useful lists that beg to be scissored out and taped to the refrigerator door.

I especially liked Carty’s A-B-Cs to keep life in perspective and the superb list of statements she advises readers review before taking the PMAT, including such simple-but-succinct thoughts as:
  • No two people think exactly alike.
  • You cannot read your partner’s mind.
  • Your partner cannot read your mind.
  • We are human and make mistakes.
  • It takes courage to forgive.
  • No one is perfect.
  • Love conquers fear.

Since acts, not just words, are so important, PMAT has a parting “gift list” of 100 ways to show active love. Some I thought were great, others not so much. Make use of the ones that make sense for you and your spouse.
And finally, answering the questions in the PMAT made me realize the difference between how I responded in these situations now — after 36 years of marriage — and how I actually ACTED when I faced some of them throughout the past 36 years. Needless to say, I didn’t always have the “ultimate response style.”– bz
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