Now you may be thinking that I meant “read with your wife” or “read to your kids,” (and I highly recommend both of those too)… but I meant what I wrote. Though we have been looking for a great book recently, throughout most of our marriage, I have been reading one book or another out loud at night to my wife. We have read mostly fiction, because it makes us want to get back to read the next chapter.
Most nights, we have gotten to bed, lied down in bed and I have read out loud to her. While I read, she generally scratches on me with her miracle fingernails. Sometimes she falls asleep while I read, but that’s good too. We usually limited ourselves to one chapter a night, or about 15-20 minutes.
By reading one chapter a night for most of our 17 year marriage, we have read quite a few books! Reading these together like this have given us a common source for inside jokes, common analogies (you don’t totally appreciate this until your wife uses an analogy from Lord of the Rings to make a point)… and something special to look forward to every night. Finally, intimacy is about knowing what is going on inside of one another’s hearts. Reading together helps you know this – because it really feels like we have experienced it together! (and sometimes later experienced the movies based on the books together too). I would never have foreseen all the advantages of reading together, but they are there.
The reading helps us to experience the emotional intimacy that is so important to marriage and so tough for us men to create to the degree our wife appreciates (and with the scratching, the physical intimacy* is there every night too).
So, here are some books that Ginger and I have read together, and some others that I recommend that we read separately and wish we have read together instead.
Lord of the Rings series TWICE (didn’t read the Tom Bombadil section the second time)
Three of the Pendragon cycle: Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon by Lawhead
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Dahl
James and Giant Peach by Dahl
The ENTIRE Harry Potter Series by Rowling
The complete Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis
Death in Silent Places
The Coming Global Storm
The Alamo by Myers Myers
Ted Dekker – Black, Red, White
Series of Unfortunate Events 1-3 (before we got sick of them)
The Gospels from the Bible
I think I am forgetting some too…
We would also recommend:
The 5 Love Languages
and The Fablehaven Series
I think we are going to start either the Percy Jackson series or the Ranger’s Apprentice series next.
I also recommend praying to God with your wife at night (I kind of have a deal with God, that if He will remind me to pray, I will. I mention this because until I did this, I often forgot to pray, and many of the days when I did remember, I would talk myself out of it.) More on praying with and for your wife later!
Men, it isn’t usually easy for us to create the emotional intimacy that most of our wives crave. If anyone has any other ideas on growing this plant in the marriage garden, let us know!
*I do not use physical intimacy as a euphemism for “sex”. As you will see in some upcoming posts, the word I use for sex will be “sex.”
Here is an article that won’t apply to everyone who is married, but will eventually for most: http://phalanxmen.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/loving-a-womans-children/