“There is a misconception about marriage that it gets worse over time. The old saying “The honeymoon is over!” embodies that false belief. But the opposite is true. When you work at it properly, marriage gets better every year.”

Every marriage, regardless of how old the spouse is or how long they have been together, will face trying times. There will be struggles. There will be trials. And sadly, not every marriage will make it through those issues. And even the marriages that do make it may suffer, because after the dust has settled, spouses have given up. They become roommates, just someone that lives with you, and not your lover anymore.

That isn’t intended as some disparaging thought. That is reality for a lot of marriages. And some are worse off. The number of marriages staring down divorce or already filing paperwork is staggering. Over and over again, people keep realizing that in order to have a ‘vibrant, resilient marriage’ one has to work at it. And saying you need to work on your marriage is all well and good, but where do you start?

Why not start where you are strongest? Why not begin where you have a limitless supply of energy and power? You would think that this is normal behaviour, but that is far from the truth. Most couples try to fix or repair their marriage by building up their spouse’s weakest points. This can be counterproductive and even more damaging to a marriage. Strengths is where we need to begin, and Jimmy Evans and Allan Kelsey are here to help you and your marriage with their book, Strengths Based Marriage.

By shifting from where people are weakest, and focusing on where people are naturally gifted and talented, Evans and Kelsey offer advice on how you can give life back to your marriage. Evans, a marriage counsellor, and Kelsey, a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, share about how they have worked through their respective marriages and come out the other side better for it.

Working with the Gallup’s Strengthsfinder 2.0 Assessment, Evans and Kelsey teach a very simple message, ‘when you change, your marriage changes.’ Simple to say, and not that difficult to do, if you know how to do it. And Evans and Kelsey walk you through all of it.

Starting by identifying what natural strengths you and your spouse have, Strengths Based Marriage walks you through the different steps towards a healthier marriage. Evans and Kelsey discuss how one can stop the cycles of pain in a marriage, the back and forth fighting, and opening up the ways of communication.

With this unique approach to building up a marriage, Evans and Kelsey speak right to the heart of all marital issues. Focusing on the strengths of each spouse helps give this foundational relationship more than a fighting chance. A Strengths Based Marriage will have the ability to go the distance, and go with joy and gladness.

“When you change, your marriage changes.”

There are thousands of books out there, all designed to help you make your marriage amazing. So what sets this book apart, from the thousands out there, or the other marriage books that I have reviewed? Strengths. This book isn’t telling you that you and your spouse need to start doing something new or stop doing something else to fix all your problems. Strengths Based Marriage is saying, use what you already have and make things better.

Evans and Kelsey talk about what a person is naturally gifted or talented at, and encourage you to use that to make your marriage better. While that might seem like a strange idea, because some of us are talented at things that may not seem to work well in marriage, they explain how our strengths can help build up and make our primary relationship even better than it is now.

For me, this was a novel way of working on my marriage, and I have to say it works. Even as I read through the book, I had conversations with my wife. The talks we had, the insight we gained about ourselves and each other was huge. Some of it wasn’t new information, but to see it in a different light helped me (you’d have to ask my wife if it helped her) to understand my spouse better and even shift what I was saying or doing to build my relationship with her.

Strengths Based Marriage is a fantastic book, but it isn’t flawless. It is written by two men. Not that this is wrong, but it may have coloured some of the things they said. For example, they discuss the major needs that men and women have, how they are distinct, and how each spouse should go about meeting that need. They talked about one of men’s major needs that requires fulfillment as being “Domestic Support”, the idea that men need a chaos free environment to come back to from work. They suggested that women, as more ‘natural’ caretakers, should meet this need.

While coming home to a clean house is nice, I can’t say that it is a deep rooted need, nor is it an exclusively male need. Nor do I think that women should be solely responsible for maintaining and keeping the house. In some relationships that might work, and in a different time that was expected, but I feel that Evans and Kelsey missed the mark on this one.

Be sure to take what these two men say with a grain of salt. Not that their expertise is in question, both are accomplished in their respective fields, but their male nature does make appearances on occasion.

All in all, Strengths Based Marriage is a great book. The thesis, “when you change, your marriage changes” is repeated and proved to be a powerful truth. Even in the week of my reading this book, it had a noticeable impact in my marriage. The same could be said for your marriage, should you decide to pick up this book.

“The secret of every great marriage is a servant’s spirit…It’s not an ‘I’ve got to do this for my spouse’ kind of thing. It’s an ‘I get to do this for my spouse’ kind of thing.”

Strengths Based Marriage is a great book, whether you call it a springboard book or not. This will get any married couple moving towards a healthier marriage, regardless of years spent together. Because of this, I give Strengths Based Marriage a 5 out of 5 star rating.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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