MAD ABOUT US: Moving From Anger to Intimacy with Your Spouse
Gary and Carrie Oliver
Tyndale House Publishers
What do you do when your temper flares? How do you handle heated arguments? What’s your approach to managing your anger? In MAD ABOUT US, Gary and Carrie Oliver offer practical insight on how to handle conflict, frustration and anger in your marriage and personal relationships.
While marriage is a gift from God, the Olivers are quick to point out that every marriage is not necessarily “happily ever after.” Because men and women are different in their design, naturally there are going to be areas of conflict and disagreement. Combined with personality differences, some couples find themselves in a short-fused relationship where they believe they have little in common.
The Olivers write, “It doesn’t take newlyweds long to discover that the precious intimacy they thought would come easily can be quickly broken. They bump into differences of opinion, different personality preferences, expectations, and emotional land mines they didn’t know existed or chose to ignore during their dating and courtship.”
The truth is that God desires for every man and woman to be transformed through the marriage relationship. The difficulties we face are opportunities to become just a little more like Christ and discover deeper intimacy not just with Him but with each other.
One of the keys to a healthy marriage is maintaining a positive perspective of your spouse. In fact, one leading marriage researcher found that the top predictor of whether or not a couple would stay married was if they thought positively or negatively of each other. That’s why our thought-life and how we handle conflict are so important to the overall health of a marriage.
The Olivers launch the book explaining the importance of intimacy and explain how anger deters it. Chapters including “The Myths of Anger” and “The Many Faces of Anger” explore how unforgiveness and bitterness can eventually become time bombs in a relationship. The Olivers then show how to restore intimacy in marriage through a series of simple steps. The authors highlight the importance of defining the issue and taking time to understand what’s really going on. They point out that some things are worth fighting for, but many issues should be let go. In addition, it’s important to assess personal responsibility each time a conflict arises as well as what each person can do differently to prevent further disruptions in the relationship. No matter what your relationship has been through, the Olivers believe that forgiveness is the healing oil of intimacy. No relationship is beyond restoration.
Overall, MAD ABOUT US is an easy-to-read book with lots of simple insights and practical advice. Both newlyweds and oldlyweds will benefit from reading it. It’s a nice refresher for couples who want to nurture the intimacy in their marriage and brush up their skills of dealing with conflict and anger.
Sadly, Carrie Oliver passed away in July 2007 after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. MAD ABOUT US is dedicated to her.
--- Reviewed by Margaret Oines
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