Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Marriage is fabulously hard - states John and Stasi Eldredge as the beginning point for their book, "Love and War." The book is a window into the struggles they have experienced in their own marriage, and the lessons they've learned as well as the triumphs they've enjoyed. Each participates in writing and shares from their experiences, providing a balance between male and female perspectives that is unique from many marriage books.
As one would expect from John Eldredge, he drops the small story of a man and woman into the grander Love Story of God. When problems and struggles are looked at from this viewpoint, the couple has a better chance of seeing that they are on the same team and that their struggles are not with each other, but of a spiritual dimension against a spiritual Enemy. It is this shift in viewpoint that I found most intriguing and helpful about the book. There are also many practical suggestions and stories from the Eldredges' own lives. Topics covered include learning to understand underlying spiritual and emotional motivations for behaviors, companionship, how to handle disagreements, sex, living life as an adventure together.
A very good book for understanding the spiritual side of the marriage relationship and how to delve deeper in our relationship with each other and God. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I have received this book on a complimentary basis from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for purposes of review, and am not required to give a favorable opinion.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
"The Love and Respect Experience" is a devotional that is billed as husband-friendly. There are 52 short chapters of 2-3 pages each, designed to be read daily or weekly. Topics are based on principles from Dr. Eggerichs' book "Love and Respect" and supporting scripture verses are included. Each chapter also concludes with a brief prayer and action step. Discussion questions are given at the end of the book to provide more in-depth processing of each chapter.
Attempts were made to make this book user-friendly for men as well as their wives. The devotionals are an easy read and not long. The book comes in a handsome leather cover. Especially helpful is the introduction, which includes ideas for how to use the book as a couple and make it a worthwhile experience for both husband and wife. I am not convinced that the objective of making this book more appealing to husbands than other devotionals has been reached. The whole book is about relationships, not necessarily the most man-friendly. Also, I found the action steps and discussion questions tended toward the feminine or even silly side. For example, one suggestion is "When disagreements or bumps come along, say, 'One of us is Pink, the other is Blue. How can we stay together in this and blend it into Purple?'" I cannot imagine my husband ever saying this, let alone during a disagreement!
On the positive side, for the couple who is willing to try a devotional time together, or wanting to work on their marriage relationship, this would be a good book. The concepts of Love and Respect, as well as scripture, lend themselves toward many helpful insights. The readings will spur healthy communication between spouses about their relationship with each other and with God.
3 out of 5 stars. I received this book on a complimentary basis from BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers) and am not required to give a positive review.