Release Date: September 2007
Page Length: 272 pages
How I got the Book: ChristianBook.com
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon | ChristianBook.com
Description: "Every couple plants seeds of success or failure in the first five years of their marriage. If they lack basic communication skills and the ability to solve conflicts in areas like sex, finances, and emotional intimacy, they won't make it past the five-year-mark.
Authors, speakers, and columnists Bill and Pam Farrel offer sound, simple-to-apply advice to help couples establish firm foundations for their relationships. Based on their own successful twenty-five-year-marriage, Bill (who is also a marriage counselor) and Pam have developed strong principles for staying the course when life challenges their relationship. Lively, fun, and practical for newlyweds anywhere in THE FIRST FIVE YEARS, this book is the best investment a couple can make in building a happy, long-lasting marriage."
With February being the month of all things love, I thought it'd be fun to read a book on marriage. This one has been on my bucket list to read for a loonnnggg time. Although, coincidentally, I think now was the best time for me to read it.
Daniel and I read one of Bill and Pam's earlier books, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, when we were dating. LOVED THIS BOOK! The First Five Years has the same type of wisdom, but is relevant for married couples (rather than dating or engaged couples). Specifically, I would say married couples between the 2 year and 4 year anniversary mark could really gain from this book.
So Why Those Years?
Something very special happens when we are first married. Life is good, love is blissful, and the sex is red-hot! And then some time after you eat that year-old frozen cake...life begins to set in. During those early years of marriage, we "create patterns of living and relating".
Not only are we trying to grow and nurture this new living thing (your marriage and new family unit as a couple), but we have to walk through each one of these difficult decisions:
- Where will we work?
- Should we complete more education, training, or career development?
- Do we want to rent or buy a home? What kind of home? What kind or mortgage?
- Where will we attend church? How involved will we be?
- How involved will we be in the community?
- Do we want to be parents? If so, how many kids do we want to have? If not, what contraception will we use to prevent pregnancy?
- How will we deal with in-laws, single friends, married friends, extended family?
- What cars will we drive?
- How do we want to spend or save our money?
- How will we spend our recreational time? Where do we want to spend the holidays?
Daniel and I have walked through each one of these in just the 2.5 years we've been married. And trust me, we have a fun story for each one of them!
After year one, but before you get closer to year five, you probably want to take a breather and evaluate how you're doing on laying the foundation of your marriage. This book is a great resource to do just that. With Daniel and I being married 2.5 years, we've walked through enough of the decisions mentioned above, but we still have time to change bad or ineffective behaviors, before lifetime patterns set in.
Outline & Writing Style:
This book is divided into four sections- Get in the Game, Invest in Your Sex Life, Figure it Out, and Tough on Me, Tender on You. It was a very easy read, and I was able to read this book one section at a time. I found myself really engaged in the material and stories.
Bill and Pam share personal stories from their early years of marriage, which are adorable, and totally relateable. Here are some quotes and snippets I especially loved!
- God has a specific dream and purpose for each married couple. "Here, at the beginning of your life together, your adventure begins. It is now your privilege to find the dream, fine-tune the dream, and fund the dream."
- Time with friends and family: "...you will want to spend time with those people who have been, are, and will be committed to your success as a couple."
- "Women feel a need to control. Men feel a need to be selfish." (Yep, that was an eye-opening chapter!)
- "Everything looks better after sex." (Opening sentence of Chapter 5!)
- "Sex resets your happiness clock." (Why on earth do we forget that after year 1?!)
- Decision making skills: "The way you make decisions sets the emotional atmosphere of your relationship."
- "We all make mistakes. It is what we do in response to the mistake that makes the difference between great marriages and miserable couples." (Amen! Lord knows I've made bad decisions and mistakes, and yes, I was definitely miserable!)
Such a good book! This book has given me great confidence as we enter into the later half of our first five years together. I now know what it takes to strengthen our marriage even more, and to lay a firm foundation for the rest of our life.
If you feel like you want a good gauge on the health your marriage, I would strongly encourage you to take the time to read The First Five Years. I promise, you won't regret it!