Since I mentioned a few posts back that I would list some of my favorite marriage books that I've read through the years, I thought I'd better follow through! I have a tendency to get side-tracked; can you tell?
Anyway, today I will share three books (besides the previously mentioned For Women Only book by Shaunti Feldman) that I greatly benefited from.
The first is Love and Respect. David and I were blessed to hear Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife speak at a pastor's conference soon after his book came out. I think it was one of the best marriage teachings I have ever heard. We bought the book right then, and truth be told, we both read it in a couple of days. Both of us felt that we learned things we didn't know before that would definitely help our marriage be better. I don't know of anyone who's read the book that hasn't thought it was a book to help new habits be born. Sometimes we just have to learn a new way to communicate. I love that he shares a word picture that is easy to relate to: men hear through blue (male) earphones and women through pink (female) earphones. Sounds fundamental, doesn't it? However, when you read this book, I think you'll agree that we, as women, overlook this very real fact most of the time. I found out that I was doing and saying some things that came across to Dave as disrespectful even though that wasn't what was necessarily in my heart. And I was surprised at how small some of the things seemed to me, and yet, they were very hurtful to him because he has an innate need for respect. Women respecting men is counter-cultural in our society right now, but I know that I am commanded in the Word to respect my husband, so it benefits me to learn how to better do this.
Another book, Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, was also a very informative read for me. The subtitle says it all, "What if God's primary intent for your marriage isn't to make you happy . . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn't as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God? Wow, now that really flies in the face of what we're told about marriage today. If we're not happy (so the secular notion goes), then surely God is not glorified, so it's okay if we get out. Now, I'm not saying that if a woman is in an abusive situation that she should continue to stay, but there are lots of Christian marriages ending for non-scriptural reasons.
A third book is called His Needs, Her Needs (subtitle: Building an Affair Proof Marriage) by Willard F. Harley. I haven't read this for a few years, but I remember thinking that it was a good book.
In speaking of all three of the above books, I realized that I don't have a copy of any of them in my home at the moment because they have all been lent out at some point to someone, and I don't for the life of me remember who has them. If you are reading this and remember that you have a copy of one of these books, feel free to let it "fly away home." But, just as quickly as the books might find their way back into my house, I know they'll be gone again soon because I have a hard time keeping books to myself!
I pray for my marriage continually, and I hope that you are praying for your marriage as well. I remember the saying that "the biggest detriment to a 'great' marriage is a 'good' marriage." I think that's true. I pray that you are not stuck in a good marriage, but that you will be able to experience a great marriage. Nothing worth having comes without much work, sacrifice, and perseverance. Keep praying; keep believing; keep working and learning. A Christ-centered, growing marriage can bring glory to God, and even though my marriage isn't perfect (and never will be because two imperfect people are in it), we continue to choose to put the Lord first in our individual lives and to look out for the other's interests. I pray our lives and our marriage bring honor to the One who continues to mold and fill us.