Tuesday, December 19, 2017

"Hiding from Reality" by Taylor Armstrong

Incredibly honest but also brutally sad, this book is a must read for anyone looking for a relationship.  While women will be most impacted, the lessons learned can be applied to any gender.  Having witnessed abuse in the home as a young child, Taylor had self-esteem issues.  She would push away men who adored her for fear of not being good enough.  She would chase emotionally unavailable men and hope to win their approval.  She won.  Taylor won the affections of her late husband who progressively abused her worse and worse.  From cursing to yelling to beating her physically, Taylor's late husband had her in a bad cycle of abuse.  Matters became complicated as Taylor had a child and began to appear on the Real Housewives reality television show.  The sadness of this book opened my eyes to a few things.  First, every woman is deserving of love and should NEVER tell herself otherwise.  Second, people need to go thru some sort of healing, whether that be therapy, books, classes, etc, before they get into a serious relationship with another person.  Third, no matter how good one partner is, the actions of the other partner do not change if they do not want to (a woman being perfect will not stop an abusive man).  Fourth, get full pre-marital counseling before marrying anybody.  There were so many instances where Taylor thought that if she were just a better girlfriend and later wife that her late husband would be nicer to her.  That's not how abuse works.  There were also times in the book where Taylor learned of her late husband's history of mental illness and domestic abuse.  While this book deals with abuse, I say that no one--man or woman--should stay in a relationship with someone else when they are unhappy.  There doesn't have to be any yelling or cursing or screaming to be unhappy.  If you are unhappy for any reason, communicate this.  If your partner does not change after given a chance, move on.  

"Safe People" by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

This book was recommended to me and I couldn't help but rent it from the library.  After all, who doesn't want to find relationships that are good for you and avoid those that aren't?  Plus, with the philosophical doctorates both authors have, I have confidence that they know what they are talking about from a clinical psychology perspective.  This book describes character traits of safe people and unsafe people.  It talks about patterns of behavior that both types of people exhibit.  There are various bible quotations from both the Old and New Testament, and there are strong Christian undertones in this book.  When it comes to forgiving others and deciding whether or not to stay with an unsafe person, the authors recommend setting necessary boundaries, practicing confrontation, and leaving when there are no further options.  That being said, abuse is a situation that must never be tolerated and unmarried folks have no obligation to try and make a romantic relationship work.  There is also a chapter in this book on how readers can make themselves more into a safe person.  This book is very interesting and I recommend it for anyone who has struggled in interpersonal relationships.

"Proverbs" by She Reads Truth

I first got introduced to this book when I joined a ladies book club.  I have been nothing short of pleased with this book.  From the full color pages to the decorative layout to the constant flower images, this book makes me so happy.  The biblical content is also good.  While there is the occasional Christian undertone, the bulk of this book deals with the Old Testament book of Proverbs.  Chapters are divided by topic (God, friendships, wealth, etc) and day (the book is meant to be read in a month).  So many nuggets of wisdom from the biblical book of wisdom itself are here.  There is also plenty of space for readers to write their own thoughts and journal from prompts.  While this book can be read by all, the feminine nature of the pages make me say it is better suited for female readers.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

"Love Factually" by Duana C. Welch, PhD

After finding a quote from this book on the internet, I just had to know more.  As someone who is an engineer by trade, I love facts and data.  Since the topic of relationships can be tricky, why not consult the science?  And that's exactly what this book does.  With candid humor, Welch explains the science behind what makes a relationship work.  While lots of people can give advice, the author's PhD and extensive list of references in the back of the book makes me pay attention a little more.  Welch talks about women's need for protections / provision alongside men's need for youth / beauty.  This ties in to not dating "out of one's league."  An example is a woman in her 50s who only wants to date doctors.  Welch points out that a doctor makes lots of money and can easily get a younger woman.  If the woman in her 50s was open to dating more different types of men, she may find someone who truly loves her for her.  Another example is the average-looking average-salary man in his 40s who only wants a stunning 20 year old.  The 20 year old with youthful beauty can get either a young good looking man her own age or an older man who makes more money.  For the man in his 40s to find love, he should start dating women closer to his age range.  While this may seem stereotypical, the science backs it up in the book.  Welch also discusses how men want to chase women.  While women love to be chased and be given attention, if they turn that strategy around on men, it will literally chase the men away.  I love the aspect of not settling.  If a woman is not being treated well, she should walk away.  There are also examples of men who sincerely want to commit to women but who are still undesirable.  One example is the wealthy man who wants to marry the beautiful woman...but keep the house separate, the bills separate, and exclude the woman from health insurance.  The woman ended up dumping the millionaire and marrying a plumber who, while he made less money, was more willing to share what he had.  Then Welch discusses the issue of commitment and BTNs (better than nothings).  Men who get easy access to intimacy and playing house (i.e.- premarital relations and cohabitation) have little to no incentive to commit.  And BTNs are better left dumped.  Wasting time with someone less than what you want / deserve degrades self confidence over time.  Women holding out on premarital relations / cohabitation also forces the man to decide what he wants.  So many woman nowadays are being used for intimacy / cooking by men who only view them as a BTN.  There are so many more facts in the book, and I encourage readers to give this book a chance.  The way the book is structured, it makes for a great reference once it's completed.  I anticipate going back to this book in the future.  Never settle and use science to find love!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

"Boundaries in Dating" by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

I had read the regular "Boundaries" book by these authors and loved it.  When I saw there was a dating version of the book, I jumped at the opportunity to read it.  The PhD authors have yet to disappoint me.  This book not only has solid advice but also professional counseling to back it up (the authors are not those who just talk without any research).  A few common themes pop up in this book.  Of course, people should save sex for marriage.  Religious beliefs aside, abstinence before marriage makes sense.  As the authors explain, those who will not wait for intimacy have trouble delaying gratification and are not serious about their partner (if they were serious, they'd get married).  The authors also talk about not losing oneself in the sense of cutting off friends, family, and hobbies.  When there is an infraction in the relationship, the authors suggest setting appropriate consequences to improve behavior and ending the relationship when absolutely necessary.  For example, if a date is consistently date, tell them they won't see you for X days because being punctual is important to you.  If they learn and improve, great.  If this goes on and on and on, there is a character issue and lack of respect.  What I also enjoyed is the fact that the authors mentioned some people have their own mental and character issues.  No matter how perfect any man or woman may be, if their partner is messed up, behavior and character will never change.  This book is phenomenal and I would recommend it to those who are dating.  There are Christian undertones in this book, but they aren't overdone.  Also, due to the authors' PhD / relationship counseling background, their points are not based on the Bible and nothing else.  They also back up their points with stories from clients (names changed of course) and clinical research on relationship psychology. 

"Praying the Scriptures for your Young Adult Children" by Jodie Berndt

As a young adult myself, I wanted to see what sort of prayers a guardian-figure or parent would pray for me.  From relationships--friendship and romantic--to jobs to safety to addiction and more, this book covers so many topics facing the youth of today.  What I also enjoyed were the personal stories giving examples of troubles young adults are facing.  Berndt tells many tales of her own children as well as the children of her friends (names changed of course).  When it comes to the actual prayers, the approach is lovely.  Bible verses are adapted to short prayers with "fill in the blanks" when one can write names of young adult children.  Each scriptural prayer has a reference so anyone can look up the entire biblical context if they so desire.  This book has Christian undertones as there are New Testament quotations, as well as various references to Jesus.  That aside, the desires of safety and success and happiness for one's young adult children I would say reach those of all faiths.