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The 7 Spiritual Practices of Marriage

The 7 Spiritual Practices of Marriage: Your Guide to Creating a Deep and Lasting Love
by Kevin Anderson, PhD 
Monclova, OH: CLB Press, 2005 
222 pages
Reviewed by Sheila Otto

Have you spent time with a directee who would like to engage his or her spouse in a deeper way? Perhaps a directee who wants to share their spiritual journey, but is not sure how to invite the same in a spouse who has a different understanding of spirituality, perhaps even a different faith tradition. Award-winning author, poet, practicing psychologist, Kevin Anderson has written a book that could be the book you are seeking. Anderson is also the author of Divinity in Disguise (2003), which was selected as one of the best spiritual books of 2003 by Spirituality and Health 7 Spiritual Practices of Marriage is organized so that each of the seven practices is accessible in the event that a couple wants to work on a single aspect at a time. The language is conversational, the ideas are well-grounded (with references and extensive reading recommendations), and the suggestions are easy to follow. Anderson uses examples from real life, and the humor is light enough to give rise to a laugh—or groan—to reinforce each of the seven steps. The margins are sprinkled with diverse quotations from marriage experts, philosophers, mystics and saints. magazine. This new book will be welcomed by couples, those who work with couples, and spiritual directors. It offers a clear approach to building an extraordinary marriage. Using the Asian greeting “Namaste” (the God within me salutes the God in you) as the basis for creating a marriage based on mutual respect, Anderson carefully develops seven spiritual practices that would enrich any marriage regardless of the couple’s particular religious tradition. Anderson’s work with couples has convinced him that those who base their relationship on deep respect can transform an ordinary relationship into an extraordinary one with a commitment to work together. The

The chapter entitled, “Give-Up the Search for the Perfect Lover,” is one of the clearest, non-technical explanations of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that I’ve seen, and should make it easy for couples to grasp its application in their own marriage. Many clever ideas are offered to help remember what is important in marriage. “MIM’s” are “Marriage Investment Moments” and an acronym for remembering the seven spiritual practices using “Namaste” is: 
N: Need a shared vision. 
A: Always stay connected. 
M: Make conflict a path to intimacy. 
A: Accept and affirm my spouse “as is.” 
S: Stay focused on working on the “I” in marriage, not trying to change my spouse.
T: Treat sex as a sacred gift exchange. 
E: Extraordinary grace is hidden in the ordinary.

Reading The 7 Spiritual Practices of Marriage gave me several hints for my own marriage of forty-seven years. I have given it to our married children, and surprisingly found inspiration for a talk I was putting together for a group of women religious. I can’t ask for more from a book on marriage. It is a book to enrich communication and deepen spiritual practice for couples regardless of faith tradition.

Sheila Otto is a wife, mother, and grandmother, dividing her time between Toledo, Ohio, USA and Breckenridge, Colorado, USA. She and her husband introduced Marriage Encounter to the Toledo area which accounts for her interest in good marriage and spirituality literature. She retired from college public relations and has offered spiritual direction, retreats, and story telling for twenty years. As a clown she is known as “Namaste.”

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