Taking Your Relationship to the Next Level
Allen R. Hunt
Beacon Publishing for
This was the second book by Dr. Allen Hunt that I have read this year and it was an incredible read! This book was written from Dr. Hunts extensive experience as a counsellor, He draws from decades of experience working with couples, speaking at events and observing marriages both successful and those that were not. I believe that no matter how good a marriage you have it can always be better. This book will be a great resource for you no matter what state your marriage is in. Hunt takes examples from real life couples, and presents his 21 Secrets in an easy to read and digest way. The advice is easily applied and will help couples strive to achieve God’s plan for their marriage.
The Sections in this book are:
01. The Secret of Purpose
02. The Secret of Sacrament
03. The Secret of Synergy
04. The Secret of Bedrock
05. The Secret of Little Things
06. The Secret of the Love Bank
07. The Secret of Romance
08. The Secret of the Best Friend
09. The Secret of Ages and Stages
10. The Secret of the Bed
Crucial Secrets 11. The Secret of Priorities
12. The Secret of Separation
13. The Secret of Insiders
14. The Secret of Attention and Affection
15. The Secret of Women
16. The Secret of Men
17. The Secret of Sacrifice
18. The Secret of Children
19. The Secret of Life
20. The Secret of Forgiveness
21. The Secret of 8
Each chapter is written in the same way. Each section begin with a quote, from a saint, church documents, and even Shakespeare. Then we have a main teaching section, which is followed by Real-Life Help. But the book begins with Hunt’s reason for writing the book, and he states it took him 25 years of marriage to realize this: “What’s the secret? Your decision to marry will almost certainly be the most significant and influential decision of your life.” Expanding upon this declaration he says: “Why is your marriage decision so important? First, because your marriage will bind you in a relationship so close and so intimate that it will profoundly shape your whole future. Second, because your marriage will also deeply impact and affect the lives of the people around you for the rest of your life. In fact, this one crucial decision—the selection of your husband or wife—will not only influence every aspect of your life; it will also affect your entire family (your parents, your siblings, your children, all of them) in ways you cannot anticipate, well after you are dead and gone.” Our marriages have impact every day, on the lives of our friends, on our families, the examples we set for our children. The question is what sort of influence we are having. Through reading this book and applying some of the exercises we can help each other grow, and through that growth to have a better impact on those who witness our marriage.
In speaking about the Sacrament of marriage hunt says: “That mystery is the secret of sacrament. Two lives really are becoming one. Husband and wife are joining together, not only physically but also emotionally, spiritually, and in every way. Husband and wife will live together, create a life together as a couple, and they will have the potential to partner with God to create new life through children. Husband and wife will rejoice together, suffer together, and age together. Their lives and experiences will become as one, a mystical union. A sacrament. Remember again the words of Saint John of the Cross: God’s purpose is to make your soul great. The sacraments are intended to do just that. In other words, the Holy Spirit desires to use your marriage to share invisible grace and inward holiness with your soul. That’s what a sacrament does.” How many of us see our marriage as a tool to help us get to heaven. As a source of true life. As a tool to help us become the best version of yourself. That is the biggest lesson I learned from this book.
But I must warn you, if you are not reading this together with your spouse and try to implement some of the exercises you might freak your spouse out. One of the Real-Life Help’s in the book is: “Lie on the bed together as a couple. Do not touch each other. Say nothing. Just look each other in the eyes. Do this for three full minutes, eye-to-eye, next to each other, on the bed. You are re-establishing a deeper bond. Build this simple practice into your life as a couple several times a year. And the mystery of the secret of the bed will begin to find its way into you.” Now I normally get up well before my wife and have often left the house before she is awake. After reading this exercise, the next time we were in bed and both awake I tried it. After About 30 seconds my wife became uncomfortable, wanting to know what was going on. After I explained she said I should have told her first.
This is another great book by Allen Hunt, and from Beacon Publishing. It will help you strive to become the best version of yourself. But you do so by doing so through growing and developing your marriage. In some ways this book reminds me of Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? By Gary L. Thomas, both Thomas and Hunt have a similar focus and direction in their teachings. But I loved the practical helps in each chapter of this book. It is an excellent read and I can highly recommend it to anyone who wants to take their marriage to the next level.
Books By Allen Hunt:
Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor
Life's Greatest Lesson
Everybody Needs To Forgive Somebody
The Inspired Body: Paul, the Corinthians, and Divine Inspiration
Fruit-Full Living: A Guide for Life in God's Spirit
The One Thing to Know Before You Die
21 Undeniable Secrets of Marriage
(Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)