Review: Young and in Love

Young and in Love: Challenging the Unnecessary Delay of Marriage
by Ted Cunningham

Is falling in love and getting married young a sure red flag and a precursor to divorce? Ted Cunningham doesn’t think so. In Young and in Love, he writes that age isn’t the thing that causes divorces; immaturity is. He writes his book to young people who want to get married and are facing an uphill battle from parents and society that tell them to make sure their careers are settled first, encouraging them to find and display maturity.

First off, I love Cunningham’s thesis:

While there are many valid reasons to delay marriage, your age should not be on that list. Marriages fall apart for all sorts of reasons: unmet expectations, unrealistic expectations, buying into the “soul mate” myth, prolonged adolescence, lack of commitment, and a culture that devalues marriage. But to say those all go away with age is a fallacy. The issue is maturity, not age. (22)

YES. (more…)


Review: Make Your Marriage Stronger

5 Things You Can Do to Make Your Marriage Stronger
by Ron Garwood

You can have a better marriage, and there’s some things you can do to secure that better marriage. In this little book – less than 100 pages! – Ron Garwood guides the reader through some simple steps you can take to strengthen your marriage.

First off: There is nothing wrong with this book. All the information is gospel-based and solidly presented. The advice is good advice, and I stand behind it. If you’ve never read anything about how to strengthen a marriage, this is a good place to begin.

That said… maybe I’ve read too many books about marriage, but this was both way too shallow and way too deep for the length of the book. (more…)

Review: Together But Alone

Together but Alone: When God Means Something Different to Your Spouse
by Donna Erickson Couch

So often, married couples share everything… but their faith. What happens when one spouse is devoted to God, but the other doesn’t care about religion or spirituality? How can a person remain true to God and not cause division in their marriage? Donna Erickson Couch writes this book to offer guidance to a spouse facing such a situation.

Except… don’t. Just don’t.

Listen, there is great need for counseling for those in marriages where one spouse wants nothing to do with Jesus. People in such situations need to be reminded that Jesus is not about earthly peace, but about something much more. Passages dealing with encouraging and loving those that are hard to love can certainly be applied, as well as talking about how much Jesus loves us, even when we feel alone. A book that uses such passages that offer real comfort based on God’s love for us, as well as practical ways to live that out, would be welcome.

This is not that book. (more…)

Is being a pastor making me a worse husband, or a better one?

I come home. I walk past my children, to my Bride. She’s in the kitchen, finishing up supper. She sees the look on my face. I embrace her, and she holds me. I don’t sob, but it comes close. There are tears. From the dining room, the children call out, asking if we can come in so we can all pray and they can eat. My Bride answers, “Pray by yourselves!” She continues to hold me.

Finally, we separate. I whisper through tears, “Think on this. Tell me how I can love you better.”

My Bride hasn’t gotten back to me quite yet; that was a few hours ago. I suspect she will, though; she’s amazing about things like that.

Why was I so shaken? I just returned from some marital counseling that has not been going well. I see the wounds that are so very deep. I see obliviousness in the wounding partner. And though my focus is on them, when they leave, all I can think is, “Is this me?”

I see the filled plate on the empty table my Bride prepared for me… and I was late to supper. Again. I hear my children asking me to play, and me telling them, “I’m tired. I’m sorry. Not right now.” I smell the burned pizza, because I was on the phone with a member and didn’t get to the oven on time. I see all the times I’ve failed her because I’ve been pursuing ministry… or because I’ve been selfish.

This morning, she laid our youngest down in the crib. He began crying a few minutes later. She asked me to take care of him… and I didn’t. My sinful nature declares, “You tried but you were too tired!” The truth is I was simply selfish. I wanted sleep, and I believed the lie that I needed it more than her.

The truth is, I am a horrible, sinful, selfish husband. My Bride deserves so much better than what I am.  (more…)

Superheroing and the Empty Plate

I’m a superhero. And not in a good way.

Especially in the silver age of comics, it was very common for the super hero to have a date as his secret alter ego. Clark Kent might have a chance for a date with Lois Lane. Peter Parker finally has that date with Gwen Stacy. Barry Allen and… oh, I never read much Flash.

And then, a superhero crisis happens, and because he’s the good guy, the superhero rushes off to save the day. Of course, this makes him late for the date. In the end, he was the good guy, but suffers because of it. Or, at the least, his relationship suffers for it.

Yep. That’s me. (more…)