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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"The Marriage You've Always Wanted" (Gary Chapman)

TITLE: The Marriage You've Always Wanted
AUTHOR: Gary Chapman
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014, (144 pages).

Books on marriage will always be published. Why? That is because challenges in marriage will always be there. Despite the discouraging statistics on marriages that lead to divorces, Chapman continues his ministry of hope and reconciliation to help married couples stay married and sustain healthy marriages. Making it personal, he challenges couples to work toward the marriage that they have always wanted. This book, in its third publishing year, asks several pertinent questions about all things marriage.

  • Why do people marry?
  • What does it mean to be "one?"
  • Why do people often behave as if 95% of the problem is their spouses?
  • What is the problem with waiting for the other person to change first?
  • What does love really mean?
  • What about communications?
  • How to go about with decision making?
  • What about sex in marriage?
These questions and many more are tackled with several principles in mind. Let me mention five notable ones.

First, the "supreme purpose of marriage is the union of two individuals at the deepest possible level and in all areas." This mean oneness. This means patterning one's marriage according to the perfect oneness in the Triune God.

Second, the key principle of positive change is to change in such a way that our mates will be encouraged toward marital health and purpose. The power of choice is stated as follows: "People do not make us miserable. We choose to be miserable."

Third, one must not wait for the other to change first. Instead, take the initiative to change regardless. Chapman shares a heartwarming story of how a woman was on the verge of exacting revengeful acts upon her husband to make him pay. Instead, Chapman encourages her to love and do kind deeds so much that the husband cannot bear for her to leave. The marriage eventually flourished.

Fourth, Chapman covers love using 1 Corinthians 13 as a guide.This is demonstrated through open communications, and skills in helping couples connect with each other. It is not about feelings but an act of the will to want to do the right thing. I appreciate Chapman's down to earth approach and his stories of how he engages common marital challenges with skill and wisdom. Some of the common responses come from real life counseling which Chapman generously shares with readers. 

Fifth, many practical issues are covered, such as money, relationships with parents, decision making, children, and many more. What makes this book really readable is its simplicity and principles bathed in experience and wisdom.

Overall, if you are a fan of Gary Chapman's writings, you will have no problems identifying with his style. If you are new, you need to read his famous "Five Love Languages" series. For those of us in marital counseling or facilitators for all things marriage, this book is another resource to have. I appreciate Chapman coming back to the key point that marriage is about oneness. Such a principle is probably the single most important truth that people would need to know. Why? It is in essence about growth. It is about two persons becoming one flesh in all manner of life. It is more than just being united. It is union. This means marriage is not about happiness but about oneness that endures through all circumstances in life. So dispel whatever philosophies that over-emphasize the importance of happiness. Union is far more important as it is the key to true joy that we all have been made to be. It is this vision that will hold a marriage together far more powerfully than romance, feelings, or happy events. This book is a nine-chapter nudge toward this vision.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Moody Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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