It’s the best marriage book I’ve ever read.
I’d love to show you why; I’d also love to show you how I use it in my daily practice as a pastoral counselor.
Created for Connection, by Johnson and Sanderfer, is my go-to book for marriage counseling. I use Gottman’s tools and research extensively too, but Created for Connection feels deeper, more hearty. While Gottman focuses on the what and the how-to, Created for Connection focuses on the why.
I love this book so much that I turned the chapter headings into a roadmap of sorts, adding in other tools and resources.
If you were meeting with me for marriage counseling, I would give you a copy of this sheet to (hopefully) help you see where we’re at as we walk through the various parts of marriage counseling. Disclaimer: I’m a pastoral counselor, not a licensed therapist. I don’t hold myself out as a therapist, but shoot, just because I’m a pastoral counselor doesn’t mean I’m afraid to use the latest evidence-based research when it comes to helping clients love each other well (and happily)!
OK, here’s what I would give you:
Now, here it is again, with links to the resources in brackets. In addition to the material in the book, we would bring in some of these other tools/resources:
1. Recognizing the Demon Dialogues [The Vortex of Terror]
- Find the Bad Guy
- Protest Polka
- Freeze and Flee
- [The Four Horsemen]
Finding the Raw Spots
- [The Shapes Diagram]
- [Pain Words worksheet and Feelings Wheel]
Revisiting a Rocky Moment
- [Reflecting Back. I teach three parts to this: 1. Reflect back. 2. Validate. 3. Care.]
- [Turning Towards, and here and here]
Hold Me Tight – Engaging and Connecting [Caring for the Heart]
- What Am I Most Afraid Of?
- What Do I Need Most from You?
- [Repair checklist]
Bonding Through Sex and Touch
- [On Making Love, a resource post about sex]
Keeping Your Love Alive
- [Six magic hours, here and here]
If you’re looking for some marriage help, here’s a map! I didn’t create most of this; I’m just putting some of what’s helped me and others into one place. I hope that’s helpful for you. Get the books, watch the videos, talk with your spouse, and have a great day!
— Jonathan M. Trotter
Created for Connection, by Johnson and Sanderfer
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by Gottman
17 years of marriage and this is all we’ve got, by Jonathan and Elizabeth (and now it’s 19!)
*Amazon affiliate links.