Your Future Other Half: It Matters Whom You Marry
Summary: The subtitle of this book says it perfectly--it matters whom you marry! Your future spouse is going to have an enormous impact on your life--physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally. But most importantly, a spouse will greatly impact your spiritual life. Will he be concerned about your personal relationship with the Lord and ensure that it continues to grow? Will he lead both you and any possible children you may have together in a godly manner, tenderly nurturing his household in the ways of the Lord? This book is especially geared to young unmarried women and the message is a solid and biblical one.
Personal Thoughts: I wish I could put this book into every young woman's hands. Now, no man is perfect, but the Bible gives some pretty solid guidelines when it comes to choosing a spouse, and the author does an excellent job of highlighting those requirements. She also makes it clear that while a young woman is 'sizing' up a man, her suitor is also evaluating her according to the Biblical requirements of a wife and mother. What are young women doing right now to prepare themselves to be a healthy, godly wife? The chapter on a man affecting your entire spiritual life is definitely the best chapter in the book and certainly the most important in my opinion.
Quote: The first principle that I would like to share with you is simple and direct: if the guy that you're thinking of is not a believer, you should stop dating him right now! Even if he seems open to change, it is never appropriate to yoke a redeemed soul with an unregenerate one--not even if you're 'only dating.' Christ has bought you with a price and it is simply not an option to give away that blood-bought heart to someone who doesn't know and love your Lord. Doing so will cripple your spiritual development, open up a host of temptations, stifle your prayer life, make regular church going difficult, and cause massive parenting conflict if you have children. The idea that he is your soul mate is a lie; his soul is a stranger to the grace that has saved you. Scripture tells you to walk away from his advances. --pg. 27,28
What Did You Expect?
Paul David Tripp
Summary: People often rush into marriage because they're madly in love. Despite marriages failing all around them, every couple figures they're immune. This passionate love that they share will last forever. They've got 'the real thing.' This 'know it all' approach is a sure sign that their love is not an enduring love. Reality hits, romantic love grows cold and both are left staring at a sinner. This book has a most fitting title. One reoccurring statement found in the book is that marriages must be fixed vertically before they can ever be fixed horizontally. To keep our marriages strong we need to keep busy at pulling those weeds that don't belong (evil works of the flesh),and continually planting good seeds (the fruits of the Spirit).
Personal Thoughts: There is a lot packed into this book! Tripp spends a lot of time talking about husbands and wives setting up their own little kingdoms in the marriage and expecting their spouse to comply with all the goals that the individual wants to achieve in the marriage. When both spouses do this simultaneously (very common) marriages fail. This book is loaded with examples, greatly helping the reader to understand what the author is saying. The section where Tripp unpacks what love is ( pg 186 - 203) is really the best part of the book in my opinion. Couples would really benefit to read this together. The author's extensive treatment on trust ( 2 chapters) is also very good. There is a comprehensive list on the many ways that a spouse can exercise selfishness against the other (pg 105). Like I said, lots in here. At times I found the book long and a bit repetitive, but I would conclude that it is a good book for people who find themselves a little shocked at the realities of marriage.
Quote: "Sin causes us to dream selfish dreams and to plan self-oriented plans.
What we actually want is for our spouse to love us as much as we love ourselves, and if our spouse is willing to do that, we will have a wonderful relationship.
But there is more. No longer are they (our spouse) objects of our willing affection. No, they quit being the people we find joy in loving. Rather, they get reduced to one of two things. They are either vehicles to help us get what we want, or obstacles in the way of what we want.
When we live for the kingdom of self, our decisions, thoughts, plans, actions and words are directed by personal desire." --pg. 47-48
The Law of Kindness
Summary: Kindness. This virtue is so often absent from our lives--or at best sorely lacking. This immensely readable and practical book encourages Christians to show kindness in a host of life's situations. It gives practical insights on the kind husband and the kind wife. It talks about parenting with kindness. Teachers and bullies are also addressed--each in their own individual chapters. This book speaks of kindness in conversation, kindness in judgements and perceptions, kindness in practical acts of service to others. In a nutshell, Christians must exude kindness.
Personal Thoughts: At the time of writing this review, I've finished this book for the third time--and I can guarantee that I'll be devouring it yet again in the future. Yes, it's that good. Every time I read it I'm convicted of my lack of kindness and encouraged to show more kindness in my relationships with my husband and children. I am reminded to be kind in my conversations and in my dealings with others. With the Lord's help, I truly want to grow in this grace. I really do think that this book should be in every library and I find myself recommending it to many people with very good feedback.
Quote: Smiles travel the miles and bring cheer wherever they go. A kind smile acknowledges the value of someone and conveys, "Hello fellow human being," A smile can communicate, "You're special." A smile can provide a glimmer of hope, "It'll be okay; you don't have to be sad." A smile of encouragement can say, "Hang in there, you're doing well," or "I understand; I've been there." --pg. 196
The Meaning of Marriage
Obviously, here is a book on marriage. It is not, however, like any other typical book about marriage. This book is Christ infused. It tells us why we are married, why we STAY married and why God is glorified in our marriages. The reason is God. Always God. Constantly we are reminded to look away from ourselves and to look heavenward.
Personal Thoughts: Probably the best book on marriage I have ever read. I love how the whole book moves away from a horizontal view of marriage and primarily focuses on a vertical perspective. Too often marriage zeroes in on the two individuals with God being a background view. Refreshingly, not so here.