Rick and Jane Book Review
The US Review of Books
Rick and Jane Learn to Listen & Talk: The First Step to Intimacy
by Al and Autumn Ray
reviewed by Priscilla Estes
“If there is anything we have learned in coaching couples, it is that having a good marriage is a journey.”
If you tire of arguments with your spouse, this book is for you. A marriage coaching team provides a primer for “getting a game plan” to fix communication problems in a marriage or relationship. Using football analogies, the premise is simple: each partner brings different “playbooks” into a marriage but usually neglects to share them. One partner throws the ball but the other does not receive it. The pass is incomplete. This slim, humorously written, and illustrated manual teaches couples how to create a common playbook for communicating and completing the pass.
Married stick figures Rick and Jane meet marriage-coach stick figures Sally and Sam. Wedded three years, Rick and Jane learn simple formulas for effective speaking when emotions are involved, such as start with “I” and be specific. Sally and Sam teach “active listening” skills that ensure the speaker feels understood. Together Rick and Jane write scripts that ditch defensive behavior and avoid derailment of dialogue. Helpful callouts and clear examples of scripting and dynamic plays facilitate the message. A thoughtful chapter summarizes key points in building a successful communications team that listens and shares. A “Listening Skills Assessment Chart” aids insight.
Married since 1970, the authors are founding directors of MarriageTeam, a non-profit Christian-based organization, and created the “Learn to Be Married” series. Anyone of any age with a budding or long-term relationship can benefit from the sound advice in this simply serious game plan for developing improved communication and a winning marital team.
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