The Book That Started It All

I love to share our real life experiences (check out “Recent Posts” to the right for more) and today is no different. However we are going to take this WAY back. Back to when hair and Kenny G were still big. (Ok, Kenny G is still kinda big.). This was the mid 90s…the time of Titanic and Twister (the movie, not the colored dot game) and Apollo 13.

One of the most common questions couples, both married and engaged, want to know is this; what makes some marriages succeed and others fail?

Of course the first and best answer is to center your personal lives and marriage on God and His Word. God can trump all ills and difficulties, trials and temptations. After God for us there was one book. One book that took us from a challenging marriage in a very iffy time to an amazing marriage that still ROCKS after 23+ years.

When we had been married only a few years we found this book and knew that it was of God.  That was 1995…and things have never been the same for us.

If you read only ONE book this summer (after the Bible) this needs to be it. Everything changed for us when we read this book and applied the crazy simple principles. So easy and so profound. If you want what we have then do what we did. Grab this book and devour it!  Spend time in it. We’ve taught many couples (and one single guy…a different story) in classes with this book. We even wrote discussion questions for each chapter. It’s THAT good!

Are you ready?  The book is The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.

5 Love Languages

Ok.  I know you’ve seen every possible ‘Five Love Languages’ iteration in your local Christian book store. It’s not as diverse as the ‘Chicken Soup’ series, but it’s still all over the place.

I am specifically talking about the first of all of them, succinctly titled “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.”  The original editon was titled “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.”

You may even have this tucked on a shelf somewhere, given as a wedding gift. Let me be 100% clear on this recommendation.

Reading this book, determining your spouse’s and your love languages is critical to understanding each other. Just as important, learning to speak her love language is crucial to long term happiness.

When I discovered that Sally was a high “quality time” person and she found out I was “words of affirmation” it changed our whole dynamic. Time together suddenly became my goal and passion.  She strongly focused on speaking powerful words to me. Guess what?  Well, if you are reading this blog you don’t need to guess. We have an UNBELIEVABLE relationship!

One book. Buy it and apply it. Do it today.

PS: If you’d like a copy of the study questions we developed I may be able to make that happen. But only if you commit to reading the book AND applying it to your lives. I promise you will be glad you did!

Ready to change your marriage?  Tell me in the comments when you are starting the book together.

Go learn a new love language!



  • David Mike

    We have read that book and it helped us identify how we are different and that we should not expect each other to receive love in the way we expect it for ourselves. Awesome book. I also think the game changer for us was “For Men Only” and it’s companion “For Women Only.” Whatever we read, knowledge without application is useless. Gotta do!

    • Troy Stoneking

      I agree completely David!

  • Michelle Girard

    The Smalley’s changed our marriage. We have been married 17 years and it was never bad but it wasn’t what it is now. Why? Because I was raised during a time when women were finding a new place in the world. Being independent was the big thing. Women I knew were refusing to attend church because they “consider women second class citizens”. It took a marriage conference taught by the Smalley’s to make me see it in a different light. He said “A ship can only have one Captain. Now a smart Captain will listen to his navigator to prevent the whole thing from running aground but yet still when things get hairy there can only be one person truly in charge.” Being former Navy and loving the sea that made perfect sense to me. It helped me to see that biblical submission isn’t about being less than. It isn’t about being controlled. It is about marriage only having one Captain. I am grateful to the Smalley’s for sharing the gift God gave them! That was probably 12 years ago maybe. And it is still the best marriage advice we ever received.

    • Troy Stoneking

      Wow! What a great message. Thank you for sharing Michelle. We have also gotten great help from videos by Gary Smalley. Sound advice. :-)

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