I am reading or re-reading a number of marriage books at the moment. We are designing a marriage enrichment course and I am gathering information from many sources.
While many books on marriage focus only on that earthly relationship, Smith has focused strongly and continuously on God, his word and Christ and how a relationship with Jesus will define, strengthen and challenge us in marriage. This book is not only rooted in Scripture, it is overflowing with it.
Smith’s overarching premise is that change is really found in the ordinary moments of marriage, and that God is in all of these moments, showing us the problems in our relationship with Him, our idols, our lack of worship; and pointing us again and again to His way of love, worship and grace.
There are very good chapters on communication, conflict & forgiveness, and these topics take up the bulk of the book. He deals with how honesty, done properly (ie. speaking the truth in love) is essential and provides some biblical strategies for conflict. I also liked the chapter on gender and roles in marriage. For people like me who like structure, each section and chapter starts with an outline of what will be covered.
New Growth Press generously sent me this book along with a course manual developed to go alongside it. This has ten very detailed biblical studies, designed to analyse various aspects of our relationship with God and then apply it to marriage. Personally I wouldn’t use the course in it’s entirety, for a start it is too long for what we are able to do. However the ideas and principles are excellent.
There is a lot to recommend this book, especially for those who want to think biblically about their marriage relationship from a whole number of angles.
Our current advice for couples to strengthen & grow their marriage is to read a book on marriage each year and take time to talk about it. This would be an excellent one for Christian couples to add to the list.