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Friday, April 27, 2012

"Renovating Your Marriage Room by Room" (Johnny C. Parker)

TITLE: Renovating Your Marriage Room by Room
AUTHOR: Johnny C. Parker
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2012, (192 pages).

This book is a delight to read. Using the metaphor of a house renovation, the author is meticulous about helping readers renovate their marriages from the foundation up, and the inside-out. Beginning with firm and correct foundations, Parker reminds us that marriage is not a "happily ever after" kind of a fairy tale ending. It is much more difficult to stay in marriage. One way to help one stay faithful in love is to renovate our marriage room by room.

A builder begins his project intentionally, not haphazardly. The costs are counted, and the workers build according to the blueprint of the house. Based on the author's personal marriage, each of the seven rooms represents a particular aspect of marriage that needs to be renovated. The seven rooms are the kitchen, the bathroom, basement, playroom, living room, sunroom, and the bedroom.

The author spends two whole chapters working out the foundations for the house of marriage. One chapter is about the dangers of wrong foundations such as hasty builds, preconceptions, misconceptions, and especially the five marital lies we believe. These lies are:

  1. We can change our spouses
  2. Marriage turns us from brokenness to whole
  3. Marriage solves our loneliness
  4. Our spouses are meant to meet our needs and our happiness
  5. A good marriage is one with good loving feelings
  6. Married people are naturally compatible
  7. We need not make adustments by just being who we are
  8. After settling down, life is supposedly easier
  9. Other people's marriage seems to be better than ours
  10. My spouse is supposed to be doing good for me
  11. Married people are automatically grown up
Following the eleven, Parker warns us about three dangerous personalities that can stifle any marriage: the smotherer, the distancer, and the controller. Parker then helps readers formulate 8 foundational bricks.

  1. Marriages are to be constantly nurtured
  2. Respect, value, and honour our spouses
  3. Encouragement is important
  4. Acceptance is crucial
  5. Grace is essential
  6. Truth needs to be present always
  7. Humility is the lubricant
  8. Commitment is key.
Backed by Scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 13, the foundations sets the stage to begin renovations.

The kitchen is about communications. The four-course communications streamline the talk both ways, from one spouse to the other. The appetizer talk prepares one for a heart to heart talk. The dessert talk comprises sweet talk. The main course is the conversational meal. The banquet talk allows each other to drink deep and eat wide. There are tips and good advice about good marital communications, with special notes unique to each gender.

The Bathroom is about showers of forgiveness. After all, it is only a matter of time before any one person hurts or do something careless to the other. Instead of worrying about avoiding hurts, the positive way is to encourage conciliation and forgiveness always. Thus, Parker introduces various management and understanding of conflict styles and resolution methods. This chapter is quite fun as readers are led through the styles of lions, ostriches, and porcupines.

The Basement is about processing any excess baggage from our past. Here, Parker hones his medical and psychological training to help readers make sense of their sins, their damaged past, and to help one another face wounds constructively.

The Playroom builds up the marriage in a fun way. Not only will it bring out the child in us, it strengthens trust in each other. Parker gives 18 ideas to do just that.

The Living Room is where the couple can spend good time relaxing and enjoying each other casually. In this room, couples celebrate their gender uniqueness as well as understand one another's differences in a loving manner. There are lots of gender specific information that makes readers feel as if there is too much stereptyping going on.

The Sunroom allows love and respect to flourish, through the husbands loving their wives while wives respect their husbands. There are tips on how to be a Christ follower, an enhancer, affirmer through T.A.L.K (Touch-Acknowledge-Lift-Keep).

The Master Bedroom is the place where intimacy grows in sex and love. Sex is good and to be enjoyed between the married couple. Dispelling seven myths, Parker introduces five truths like:

  1. Sex is for procreation
  2. Sex is for recreation
  3. Sex is for spiritual, emotional, and physical oneness
  4. Sex is for comfort
  5. Sex as protection against temptation

Key to this room is that sexual intimacy is for both parties. The key is to be other-centered, to "fore-pray," share private love codes, be creative, to appeal to all senses, and many more.

Finally, the new house needs to be protected with secured fences. TLC stands for Tender Loving Commitment, through the wall of fidelity, becoming a mentor couple to a younger couple, protecting one's purity through P.U.R.E (Prepare-Understand-Realize-Expose).

Closing Thoughts

This is a really great book to use for teaching, for equipping, and for encouraging married couples. It can also be used for couples intending to be married. The metaphor of a house is so powerful that this idea can be easily remembered and practiced. Buy two books. Keep one for self and give the other to your spouse. If this book can help improve a marriage, why not? If this book can save a marriage, why wait? This book can help renovate, refresh, and revitalize our marriages, go buy this book now!

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Moody Publishers and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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