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“You want to know the secret to staying happily married?” grinned the wizened, white-haired man.

“What’s that?” I asked with a laugh. This was going to be a good one, knowing him.

“A few fingers in the armpits every so often,” he stated, with a twinkle in his eye.

I laughed. There’s been more than one time in our marriage where one or the other of us has declared, “I think you just need a good tickle.”

And there’s something about being overcome by laughter that puts everything else into perspective. Even the areas in your marriage that require loving compromise.

The Antelope in the Living Room review & #giveaway #MarchOfBooks

Melanie Shankle is hilarious. You really need to hear her tell the story of the antelope in their living room (and you can on these podcasts from Inspired to Action and God-Centered Mom), but it’s become her metaphor for the “elephant in the room” of every marriage. The things you overlook because you love someone like crazy (and you know they have to put up with a lot from you, too). The way you submit to each other in love, putting another’s interest ahead of your own (even if it’s hunting for trophies to hang on the wall).

I loved the way Antelope in the Living Room painted a picture of what commitment looks like in a marriage of two very different people. My husband and I share a lot of the same interests. Old books, dark chocolate, retro colors, vintage decor–we agree on the important things in life. We even like shopping together (it’s true–and it saves a lot of returns when I can find out what his favorite outfits are in the store rather than once I’ve gotten them home!). But there are those areas in which we are as different as night and day. Unfortunately, I’ve never had a problem going to bed while there were still dirty dishes in the sink. And he smiles and nods when I talk about a website coding issue just like I try to sound knowing when I say “mmm, hmmm” while he’s describing a problem with an engine. But Melanie Shankle’s tales make it clear that two people can honor a commitment “til death do us part” even when they don’t share a single hobby. Because that’s what love is all about.

I’ve long been a fan of adding a dose of humor to all the guy-girl differences we encounter in life. It’s usually a whole lot better to laugh than to cry about it. (Though I’ve been known to do both simultaneously.) However, I feel that when we use humor we need to be careful not to thoughtlessly tear another down, even in fun. Some of Melanie’s stories left a bad taste in my mouth from the way she talked about her husband. Much of the humor was lost on me because she references movie actors and TV shows as naturally as I would reference characters in a classic work of fiction, but other jokes and bits of innuendo seemed quite crass. That being said, Melanie does an amazing job at weaving theology and truth into her stories, making the book a great witnessing tool.

If your husband loves Cabela’s and Pat MacManus, you’ll love Antelope in the Living RoomIf you need a good dose of laughter in your marriage (along with a good cry or two!), Melanie Shankle’s new book is the perfect read. (And if you want a heart-warming and hilarious book about motherhood with less crass humor, check out Melanie’s book Sparkly Green Earrings.)

Giveaway

Tyndale provided three giveaway copies of Antelope in the Living Room. Congratulations to Hannah, Krystle, and Marilyn for being selected by random.org as the winning comments! (Giveaway ended April 7, 2014.)

Comment and share the best marriage advice you’ve ever received!

22 Comments

  1. Barbara Gregory says:

    The best marriage advice I have ever received is to choose my husband as my best friend, my confidant and my prayer partner. Never be afraid to be transparent with your spouse nor make him feel as if he can’t be transparent with you .

  2. Krystle Coe says:

    1) The best marriage advice that I kept getting over…and over again was to never go to bed angry with each other. This is not only Biblical, it’s necessary. I never let my husband fall asleep until we’ve remedied the situation because..what if tomorrow never comes? What if tomorrow never comes for me or never comes for him? I couldn’t bear the guilt of my last words to him before I drift off to sleep, to be “fighting” words. So, I do my best to remedy the situation and there is usually laughter in the end before we drift off.
    2) ALWAYS be honest. No matter what. Secrets and dishonesty has no place in a healthy, godly marriage.

  3. Erase “divorce” from your vocabulary.

    1. Such wise advice, Hannah!

      (Watch for an email from the Kindred Grace team–you’re one of the winners!)

  4. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Respect him; say you’re sorry.

  5. I read Melanie’s first book and seriously laughed out loud throughout most of the book. I’d love to get my hands on this one. Best marriage advice…commit to each other and yourself to make it work.

  6. The best marriage advice I’ve ever received is to communicate. I’ve learned that over the past 4 1/2 years of marriage that he can’t read my mind, I can’t read his and we can’t get mad at each other for not being able to. If I need something, I need to ask for it. If I’m upset, I need to tell him. If I’m happy, I should tell him that too because God knows there’s enough stress in the day, it’s nice to hear you’re loved once in a while.

    Thank you for making me take a minute to reflect on this and for offering the giveaway 🙂

    1. Krystle Coe says:

      Very true! Great advice!

  7. Jaclyn Reynolds says:

    Don’t air your dirty laundry! 🙂

  8. Respect him. Choose always to be his girlfriend. Find joy in the things he finds joy in.

  9. I just got married to the other-half-of-my-heart this past November, and I can honestly say that THE BEST MARRIAGE ADVICE I have come to know and cling to is this: Grace for him. Grace for her. Grace for us.

    The next best piece of advice would be solely directed at me, as told to me by my father-in-love: “Sarah, you’ll have to push J [my husband] forward, and in kind he’ll have to hold you back.” I guess that is what you get when you put two people who are crazy about one another, and completely similar and yet un-similar at the same time in a multitude of ways together. 😉

  10. Best marriage advice- dont go in at 50/50, go in with a 110%/110% attitude to outdo each other in serving each other

  11. Marilyn Borrowman says:

    My mom always said ” Be careful what you say in anger, you’ll forget what you said… but the other person won’t” That has always made me watch my tongue.

    1. Your mother is a wise woman! Thanks for sharing.

      (Watch for an email from me–you won a copy of the book!)

      1. Marilyn Borrowman says:

        I agree, my mom was a very wise woman! ~ Oh! I’m soo excited to have won a copy of your book!!!! Thank you so much!! I can’t wait to read it! ~ Have a blessed weekend!

  12. I loved Melanie’s first book but haven’t had the chance to read this one yet. Thanks for a thorough review and the giveaway! The best marriage advice I ever received was to keep being my husband’s wife when I became a mom. So many times a woman’s focus completely changes as she becomes her child’s mother but don’t forget that you were your husband’s wife before the children came along and you will still be his wife after they leave!

  13. Loved her first book, thanks for the chance to win this one!

    Before i married, my mom gave the advice to always be kind, no matter what was going on, just be kind to one another. Also to not talk down about your spouse to others.

    Beth

  14. This sounds like the perfect book, would love to read it! I think the best advice we received was to always be kind to each other, no matter the situation. And to not talk bad about each other to others (ie gossip!).

  15. Victoria Bennett says:

    The best marriage advice I’ve received is to keep building your friendship with one another, and to keep having fun together, even after you’re married (and no longer dating)

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