Reading With Your Spouse

Since the very beginning of our relationship, my husband and I have made a habit of reading together and intentionally discussing what we’ve read. In fact, during the 9 months we dated, we read Russell Moore’s Adopted for Life, C. S. Lewis’ Pilgrim’s Regress, and Tony Dungy’s Quiet Strength (what a mix, huh?). As we proceeded through engagement and into marriage, we continued reading books, as well as numerous news articles and blog posts.

Reading and intentionally discussing what we’ve read has been one of the most simple, yet beneficial aspects of my relationship with my husband.

Even when we get busy, reading together is a priority because reading and discussing what we’ve read has been one of the most simple, yet beneficial aspects of our relationship. I realize that some individuals really enjoy reading and some do not. This will obviously influence how much a given couple wants to read. Hopefully some of the benefits of reading together that I’ve found, which are listed below, will encourage couples who read together to continue doing so and challenge those who don’t to give it a try.

Keep in mind that when I refer to reading, I’m not simply thinking of books. I’m thinking of a variety of reading materials (news and magazine articles, blog posts, comics, etc.). Additionally, you and your spouse can read common material together or separately. Sometimes my husband and I sit side-by-side and read together (either silently or out loud to one another). Other times we aren’t able to read at the same time, so we read on our own and then discuss what we’ve read at a later time. I believe benefits can be gleaned either way.

Benefits of reading together

  • Reading broadens the topics you discuss, thereby allowing you to learn more about your spouse. If you read a variety of materials, you will inevitably come across topics you would not otherwise have encountered. (Think about my husband and I reading Adopted for Life while we were dating. We discussed family, adoption, and childrearing for weeks!) As these unanticipated and sometimes unconventional topics enter your consciousness, chat about them, debate them, and do more research about them. In doing so, you’ll not only become more knowledgeable about the world around you, but you’ll learn new things about your spouse.
  • Reading encourages you to slow down. In general, reading provides an opportunity to relax. Slow down, sit back, and take a deep breath as you read. Take advantage of your time spent reading by using it as a break.
  • Time set aside for reading provides you with an enjoyable activity to anticipate. If you and your spouse do sit down and read together, then reading can provide quality time for the two of you away from the hustle and bustle of everyday activities. Who doesn’t look forward to these sorts of times?
  • Reading together provides you and your spouse with common memories, examples, and analogies. At various times in the future, you’ll be able to draw analogies and examples from what you’ve read in order to communicate more clearly. You’ll also have shared memories of ideas, facts, explanations, opinions, and other concepts to help you navigate, process, and respond to the events of life.

My husband and I are reading Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage next. Are you and your spouse reading anything together? What have you found to be the benefits of reading together?

Shared on the following link-ups:

Essential Fridays, Thrive @ Home, Works for Me Wednesday, WholeHearted Wednesdays, Monday’s Musings, Living Proverbs 31 & Titus 2sday.

Comments

  1. We love to read books together at Longings End, Shannon. Michael and I have enjoyed many of George MacDonald’s titles, and recently read a charming memoir, Castles in the Air, about a young couple who bought and renovated a 15th century castle in Wales. We highly recommend that story; we didn’t want it to end! And we love reading together for all the reasons you have listed. Visiting you from A Proverbs 31 Wife link up. Thanks.

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Sheila,
      Preston and I are always looking for new titles, so we’ll take note of your recommendations. Thanks so much!

  2. HI Shannon,
    This is my first visit to your blog, and I’m glad I clicked through. Because my husband is an auditory learner, thus not a reader, when the girls and I were reading wonderful historical read alouds, I’d get the companion CD for my husband to listen to at work. Then we’d all talk about what happened in the story as we ate dinner. Now that they’re grown, we always begin our day by reading from My Utmost for His Highest or some similar devotional. Sometimes I’ll read posts (my own or others to him for his opinion. It truly is a think-tank where we can learn and grow together.

    • Lori,
      I think it’s wonderful how you made use of audiobooks! Thanks for sharing that. It might be a great approach for many other couples, too.

  3. Hi Shannon,

    What a great post, and good book recommendations. My husband and I love to read together. For couples who are not always in the same state (military folks, business folks, etc.) this is a great way to keep the conversation going, keep things in common and also keep intimacy in marriage. We read Sacred Marriage together while he had an extended business trip with the Navy out of town. This was my first time visiting. I’ll be back. Linking with Living Proverbs 31 today. Kim

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Kim,
      I think you point out a very important benefit of reading together for spouses who find themselves in different locations. Thanks for sharing this!
      My husband and I have read “Sacred Marriage.” It is one of the best books on marriage!

  4. This is a great idea. We’re going to try this.
    Debi

  5. Debbie @ http://kidsbibledebjackson.blogspot.com/ says:

    I love the reasons why it helps a marriage! Very inspiring post! Thanks for sharing at Thrive @ Home!

  6. Visiting from the WholeHearted Wednesdays link-up!

    I love this. My husband isn’t a huge reader, but we’ve learned to take advantage of time that might otherwise be wasted — time in the car. Usually I’m the one reading, but sometimes we listen to an audiobook. Like you, we’ve found that reading together uses a common experience to create both discussion and memories. Even after reading several other books, it’s not uncommon to return to one of the first books we read, whatever the discussion.

    We’re currently listening to Brain Test by Garth Sundem. I don’t recommend it because of its extreme evolutionary bent, but my husband enjoys random facts and the science behind things, so we’ve generally enjoyed it. [Stopping occasionally to refute whatever evolutionary perspective is espoused]… Next we’re either reading Millionaire Mind by Thomas Stanley or Raising a Modern Day Knight. Not sure yet! 🙂

    Do you have a list of the books you and your husband have read together? I’d love to look at it!

    Blessings!

  7. Shannon,

    This is such a blessing to read! After a long, dry season of our marriage, we are desperately trying to reconnect somehow – I’ll suggest this to my husband. We are both voracious readers, but we like entirely different genres. We’ve never thought to read the same book at the same time. This could be so helpful for us! Thanks for sharing this post 🙂

    I’m here from the Essential Thing Devotions Link-up!
    ~Lisha

    • I hope you’re able to find something mutually suitable…and I hope it helps you reconnect! I pray God’s grace as you reconnect.

  8. This is one of my goals for 2014! We read the Bible together almost every night, but not other books. I’m hoping to read at least one or two together this year. Thanks for sharing this with Thrive @ Home Thursday!

  9. There are some great tips here. My husband and I don’t read together but we have read the same things sometimes and discussed it and we love to discuss films we watch and sermons too. It is a great way to share intimacy and learn from each other.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  10. What a wonderful thing to read together as a couple. We read aloud to our children for years especially biographies about missionaries. It is an enriching experience and I loved all the reasons you gave.

    Thanks for linking up with me for WholeHearted Wednesdays.

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