Marriage and Family Life Books – Reviews Page

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This Marriage & Family Life Books Reviews Page contains a growing list of our favorite Books.

Marriage and family life can present some of the most rewarding and difficult lessons in life. Our bookshelves are full of guides and resources to help us grow stronger and wiser in this area. We are committed to un-ending learning and improving in these areas. Won’t you join us by reading and applying some of the information in these great marriage and family life books?

3 Steps to a Strong Family

by Richard and Linda Eyre

In “Three Steps to a Strong Family,” the Richard and Linda Eyre show you how to build a family structure based on rules, shared responsibilities and fun family traditions. They offer a simple 3 step program that involves children in every important family activity from discipline to finances to family traditions in age appropriate ways. We particularly appreciated their sections on family economy and family traditions. It was also fun to hear comments from all nine of their children regarding their memories of their family life.

Richard Eyre directed President Reagan’s White House Conference on Children and Parents. 

Traits of a Healthy Family

By Dolores Curran

Traits of a Healthy Family is a great reference book on the following family relational topics: Affirming and supporting; respecting; fostering responsibility; teaching morals; service opportunities; privacy; and of traditions.

This is an excerpt from our new book to be released in January 2011 from a chapter discussing the importance of the family mealtime.

In the book Traits of a Healthy Family, Ms. Curan surveyed over 500 working professionals from five institutional areas: Education; Church, Health, Family Counseling and Volunteer Organizations. They each were asked which positive traits they most frequently observed in healthy families. Her book expands on the top 15 traits the professionals identified. A few of the healthy family traits they identified are that: they communicate and listen; they affirm and support each other; they trust each other and they respect each other. Included in that list was that a healthy family “Fosters family table time and conversation.” None of the traits were money or possession related. All of them had to do with spending time together and valuing each other. And family meals provide a perfect vehicle and the time to strengthen our families.

If you want to learn about the characteristics that make up strong families, you’ve got to read this book.

Bonding and Re-Bonding

by Dr. Donald Joy

Bonding, by Dr. Donald Joy is an amazing book that will benefit you in all of your relationships. In a society where technology is growing at an astounding rate and relationships are suffering, Dr. Joy’s first book, Bonding, provides lots of answers. He discusses the proper bonding that leads toward a strong marital bond by discussing guy / girl relationships. He also discusses parental bonding and an overview of what healthy relationships look like. A large part of his philosophy for building strong bonds comes from a secular anthropologist.

Dr. Desmond Morris shares his observation of “trophy animals,” namely moose, elk and wolves, and their mating habits. These animals mate for life and he believes that humans can learn something from the way these animals go about creating a permanent bond. Dr. Joy believes that we are more than animals, and tailors the message to us in a sensitive yet powerful way.

The second book, Re-Bonding is incredible, as Dr. Joy discusses how to heal relationships when the bond is damaged or broken. He also discusses the detrimental effects of promiscuity, adultery and mid-life crisis. He uses many real-life stories (the names are changed), to help the reader understand the concepts and to apply the principles he is teaching.

Both books are written from a faith based perspective, but we don’t believe them to be offensive. Of course, we don’t agree with every single thing he writes. But these books contain enough great information that Annette reads them every couple of years.

Color Me Beautiful – Carole Jackson

Color Me Beautiful covers more than just what you wear, it’s a complete appearance consultation, from hair to shoes and everything in between. Jackson is a leading color consultant and has been helping women dress better since 1974. In addition to helping you discover which colors look best on you, you’ll learn how to un-clutter your closet. You’ll also learn how to dress for your figure, select the right makeup colors and design a personal wardrobe style. The book is full of worksheets, easy to understand descriptions and drawings. 

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations

By Alex and Bret Harris

Do Hard Thingsis a great book for teens and adults alike.

One summer when Alex and Bret were hanging around the house, their dad challenged them to make more of their summer by reading a pile of books about great men and women. That was the start of the Do Hard Things movement.

As a result of their reading, they put together an online survey which captivated thousands of teens. Then their comfort zone was really stretched when they were offered the opportunity to serve in another state as assistants to a judge. 

This book will inspire and challenge the common notion that the teen years are a time of self-centered living or a holding pattern before entering the “real world” of adulthood. 

We attended a Do Hard Things conference a few years ago and were inspired by Bret and Alex’s enthusiasm and presentation. This book will motivate you and your teens to look at the teen years as a great opportunity for growth and service.

Abbey, Annette and Steve Economides with Alex and Bret Harris.

How We Love:

Discover Your Love Style / Enhance Your Marriage

By Mylan and Kay Yerkovich

How We Love is a revolutionary book. It’s has a profound impact on our lives and our kids. We like it so much that we buy it by the case load and sell it when we speak.

There are only a handful of books that have impacted our lives as powerfully as How We Love. Milan and Kay Yerkovich are marriage and family therapists and have discovered a unique method of gently uncovering past hurts that impact present-day relationships. Their unique discovery was sparked by their own hurts and has been applied to thousands of families through their writing, counseling, and seminars.

Milan and Kay realized they were in trouble as a couple when they repeatedly became locked in the same type of arguments over a wide variety of issues. They called it their dance of dysfunction. They eventually realized that they had different needs for intimacy and interaction. By uncovering their unique love styles they were able to start relating to each other with tenderness and understanding instead of blame and frustration.

 A Pivotal Question for How We Love

The central question used to discover our hurt or the reasons we won’t be vulnerable is . . . (click on the title to read more)

“Can you recall
being comforted as a child
after a time
of emotional distress?”

This question can open the door to a flood of emotions. But by reading the entire book, you’ll also find a renewed sense of peace, understanding, and direction in your relationships. Readers are guided through identifying negative responses learned in childhood. And those that are sabotaging their relationships and creating invisible barriers to love.

What you’ll learn in How We Love

How We Love will help you find practical solutions and revolutionary principles which will equip you to:

  • Identify the love styles disrupting your marriage or relationship
  • Recognize the core patterns in your relationship
  • Develop a specific plan for change
  • Create a deeper, richer marriage

The love styles the Yerkovich’s describe are:

 Avoider, Pleaser, Vacillator, Chaotic Controller, Chaotic Victim

The authors also describe the dynamics of how each of the love styles interacts in relationships. The book isn’t simply a diagnostic tool that leaves you wondering what to do afterward. Milan and Kay include loads of recommendations and a workbook in the back of the book to help you walk through specific areas of growth.

This book is so revolutionary that we’ve been giving it to our friends and family members. It’s THAT powerful.

If you want to learn a little more about Milan and Kay, watch this YouTube Video.

One Word That Will Change Your Life!

By Dan Britton, Joe Gordon, Jimmy Page

One Word that will Change Your Life contains an amazing and revolutionary idea.

We’ve never been New Years Resolution people. We set goals all year long and focus on them throughout the year. Steve listened to a podcast (and read the book) where author Dan Britton talked about a challenge he received to stop making resolutions. Dan also challenged folks to find a focus and purpose for each year in One Word. 

One simple word, one simple focus, not for a day, a week or a month, but for the entire year.

Out of this challenge he and his two accountability partners Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon wrote the best selling book “One Word That will Change Your Life!” This book and the concept behind it have really helped us. Steve’s word for this year is Focus. As a creative, right brained thinker, it’s easy for him to become distracted by fun new projects. Focus, time management and working through to-do lists has helped him accomplish more important tasks in the past three months than ever before.

What will your focus be this year? Getting out of debt, generating more income, reducing spending, buying a house, putting more money in retirement, overcoming a lifelong wound or addiction. Whatever your goal, boil it down to a simple, one-word, target and let it revolutionize your life.

Steve’s One Word for 2016 is LISTEN

Steve’s One Word for 2015 was FOCUS
Fuzzy words in a square shape with the word FOCUS in sharp focus.



Pitchin’ A Fit – Parenting Resource

By Brooke and Israel Wayne

Annette just read the bookPitchin’ A Fit: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting” by Israel and Brook Wayne. It’s a new book with an awesome message. This book is written from a faith-based perspective. But even if this isn’t where you’re coming from, we don’t believe it will be offensive in any way.

Parenting isn’t for Wimps

Anyone who has kids will tell you that that parenting isn’t for wimps. But even the most courageous and confident parents will admit that there are times when even they feel inadequate to the task. This book is a reminder that you’re not alone and that there is hope and encouragement no matter your past experience.

Overcoming their Past

Israel shares some details about the abusive home he came from and how he has healed from that experience. Brook shares the perfectionist attitudes she embraced as a young adult and how she has had to loosen her grip in order to become a healthier parent.

No matter your background, you will be able to relate to this book and receive encouragement and practical tools for moving to a better place in your parenting.

The authors take the on the every-day challenges of parenting and systematically provide solutions for overcoming anger. They also equip you to embrace patience and affirmation as you deal with your kids.

Equipped to Love

We’ve never met a parent who wanted to become a “screaming-mimi,” but unfortunately that’s where many of us end up in our parenting because we’re so unaware of what’s happening in our own hearts. The Wayne’s discuss how to identify anger triggers and then how to diffuse them.

They share how to motivate reluctant children and how you can keep your relationship strong with your kids even through the tumultuous teen years. Their goal is to equip us to lead our families with patience and love, which will result in a home filled with grace and peace.

I wish this book were around when we were first starting to raise our kids. If you want a renewed perspective for your parenting, order a copy now, it’s that good.

Take the Stairs

By Rory Vaden

Steve was listening to a podcast and was inspired by author Rory Vaden. Rory described how he was challenged to re-evaluate his life and his focus on success. And then that challenge turned into his NY Times Best Selling book,Take The Stairs. A friend challenged him to apply what he was teaching about a disciplined approach to life and take the stairs. One of the things he discovered about successful people IS their disciplined approach to life. Ugh – discipline – who wants to practice discipline? Only those people who want to succeed in life! The disciplines of life aren’t fun, but after learning them, they become second nature. They also bring peace, success and true joy.

We have purchased this book and are going through the principals Rory teaches. It’s revolutionary and hard . . . but good.

He deals with disciplined living, eliminating procrastination, commitment, focus, integrity, schedules, faith and action.

If you want to succeed and reach goals that really matter this book is the kickstart you need!
Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success

Listen to the EntreLeadership podcast here.

The Vow – an inspiring story of true love

By Kim & Krickitt Carpenter

The Vow – the movie and the book

The Vow is love story about commitment and perseverance through incredibly difficult circumstances. It is very loosely based on a true story (see the real story below). In spite of the differences, the movie by itself is a very powerful and inspiring story of unyielding love.

Leo and Paige have been married 4 years. On the way home after an evening out, their car is rear-ended by a huge truck on an icy Chicago street. Paige had taken her seat belt off just before the accident and as a result, is catapulted through the windshield of the car. They both end up in the hospital. But Paige sustains a traumatic brain injury leaving her with no memory of the last 4 years of her life and her marriage to Leo.

Leo is faced with the prospect of either wooing and winning his wife back or losing her to her estranged family and a former fiancé.

It’s an awesome testament to true, unconditional love, perseverance and determination of a heartbroken husband. This man sacrifices everything to win back a woman who doesn’t even remember him.

PG-13 for an accident scene, mature content, and some language. In spite of this rating, we think the story has value. Just watch it first before you show it to your kids.

The Real Story of the Vow

Annette has read the book, “The Vow: True Events that Inspired the Movie” and says it is totally different and far more inspiring than the movie. Kim and Krickitt Carpenter lived in New Mexico and were driving to Arizona two months after they were married when the accident occurred. After the accident, their relationship went through a much more tumultuous time than is portrayed in the movie. Krickitt’s (Paige in the movie) parents were very supportive and encouraged Kim (Leo in the movie) to persist in his pursuit of winning back his wife. They underwent extensive counseling so that they could stay together. Eventually, because of Kim’s determination and love, they decided to get married again. They had a full ceremony so that Krickitt could have a real memory of their commitment to each other.

Film critic Roger Ebert gave this movie 2.5 out of 3 stars.

 Starring: Rachel McAdamsChanning Tatum.

My First 300 Babies


Author: Gladys W. Hendrick

My First 300 Babies is an excellent guide to help new mothers realize that a baby can adapt to a daily schedule very easily. Annette thinks that the author goes a little too far by taking scheduling to an extreme and minimizing the need for affection. This book believes that babies who are nursed can sustain a four hour feeding schedule which we disagree with. In our house, we put our babies on a three-hour nursing schedule for most of the day, extending it to a four-hour interval at night.

Annette also believes that rocking a baby to sleep and carrying them around in a front- or back-pack during the day is better for bonding and helps to foster a closer relationship. Still a good read for stretching your mind to embrace scheduling and it’s value.

258 Great Dates While You Wait

Author: Susie Shellenberger & Greg Johnson

Just because romance is in the air, doesn’t mean that money has to fly out the window. That’s why we love 258 Great Dates While You WaitThere are lots of inexpensive romantic things you can do to celebrate Valentine’s Day or any other special day for that matter. In our area, there are a couple of outdoor malls that host special free events with horse-drawn carriage rides, chocolate tasting and other special activities.

When we want to go out for dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day, we usually go either the day before or the day after. Restaurants are less crowded and you can use a two for one coupon. Saying “I Love You” is more about how much time you spend thinking about the other person, not how much money you spend.

If you need some ideas, get the book 258 Great Dates While You Wait by Susie Shellenberger and Greg Johnson. While this book is written to the unmarried the same ideas can apply to those who are married. They recommend things like: County Fairs, miniature golfing, hiking, fishing, walking through a cemetery, and Christmas caroling. As well as activities such as making Christmas ornaments, playing whiffle ball, scavenger hunts, going to garage sales, going to the batting cages or racing a go-cart. In truth some of their ideas may not appeal to everyone.  Annette would never like the fishing option, but she has played whiffle ball.

The Emotionally Destructive Relationship by Leslie Vernick

The Emotionally Destructive Relationshipis a must read for anyone who feels like they have lots of family drama, or friends that are caught in dysfunctional relationships. Leslie is a licensed clinical social worker with a private counseling practice, so she has seen just about everything.

This book will help you to identify an emotionally destructive relationship. It will also help you decide what choices you can make, whether you should speak up, stand up or make changes. And finally this book will help you to survive should you choose to stay in a difficult relationship. We highly recommend this book as a self help resource that everyone should read.

If you have a favorite Marriage or Family Life Book, please mention it in the comment section below.

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