I would recommend Michael and Amy Smalley’s “The Suprising Way to a Stronger Marriage: How the Power of One Changes Everything.” I was fortunate enough to be provided a copy in a special pre-release directly from Tyndale House Publishers for review purposes. You can purchase a paperback copy for under $12 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Surprising-Way-Stronger-Marriage-Everything/dp/158997560X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1287175058&sr=8-1-spell) or directly from the publisher at http://mediacenter.tyndale.com/1_products/details.asp?isbn=978-1-58997-560-6.
My favorite chapter was titled, “The Trillion Dollar Question.” So what is the question? The question is, “What can I do to make this right? [Or put another way] – What do you need from me at this moment? How can I help you right now? Is there anything you need from me?” (Smalley, 85). Why does the trillion dollar question work? It shows that you have compassion. It gives respect towards your spouse’s needs and emotions. It is not another excuse. It goes right to the point. It helps you do something abou the issue (87). What are the benefits of the trillion dollar question? The environment changes quickly and dramaticly. All of a sudden your spouse knows that their happiness matters to you. All of a sudden the both of you are on the same page. All of a sudden the both of you are on the path of wanting to understand each other – making things right rather than just be right (89).
This subject reminds me of when Jesus said, “In a word, what I’m saying is, grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you” (Matthew 5:48, The Message). We need to take responsibility for what we have said and done. We must aim to love our spouses even – especially – when they do not deserve it. We need to reflect on the times and ways that we ourselves do not represent Jesus Christ. Why is it important not to assume that we know our spouse needs? How could the trillion dollar question jump-start happiness in your marriage? If your spouse asked you the trillion dollar question, what kind of message would that send to you?
Official Book Description: The most significant act of love we can do for our spouse is the single act of personal responsibility—or “the power of one.” An individual in a marriage relationship cannot reach satisfaction in his marriage if he doesn’t first look at himself—and see where he needs to change first. Personal responsibility is the fuel that drives the actions of a healthy marriage. Usually, each spouse blames the other for their problems; this attitude will only lead to a path of unfulfilled expectations and heartache. Marriages can be transformed, literally overnight, when each spouse learns the power of one and starts accepting personal responsibility for his or her life and by learning how to love others to the fullest.