In honor of Valentine’s Day this week, I’m reviewing two books about Christ-centered marriage. I firmly believe that both a strong marriage built on “the rock” (Matthew 7:24-27) and partnership in homeschool decisions is critical for homeschooling success, so I was really excited to review these two recently released books on this topic.
The first book is “My Beloved and My Friend: How to be Married to Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses,” by Hal & Melanie Young, authors of “Raising Real Men,” recent winner of the Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year. I was immediately captivated by the title and was happy to find that the book is full of practical teaching that is equally down to earth and relatable.
I have to admit that I approached this book feeling pretty confident that I already had this marriage “issue” mastered: My husband and I were very close friends before we dated and later married, and even now, as we prepare to celebrate 20 years of marriage this year, I still consider him to be my hands-down best friend. However, I was happy to find a fresh perspective on many popular, well-known scriptures about marriage, and I appreciated the engaging illustrations as the Youngs shared real stories from their own marriage journey.
A good example of this is the chapter titled, “Leaving and Cleaving,” based on one of the first references to marriage in the Bible, Genesis 2:24. Even though this verse is very familiar for Christian couples (and was probably used in your wedding ceremony somewhere), the wisdom pulled out of this passage goes beyond the obvious. The Youngs’ perspective on “leaving and cleaving” gave me new insight into its application not just for my marriage, but in my parenting and relationships with our extended families.
The books also digs beyond the surface of familiar marriage scriptures, addressing critical topics from both a Biblical foundation and a modern application. For example, the chapter on “The Physical Aspect” goes beyond the obvious conversation about adultery and discusses how the use of social media, the Internet, television and media, and even clothing can affect your relationship, as well as identifying wrong attitudes about sex, what physical changes can have an impact, and what the Bible says about the purpose of maintaining regular physical intimacy.
Key topics covered:
- Leaving & Cleaving
- How to Be Married to Your Best Friend
- In Sickness & In Health
- On Submission
- Fidelity & Loyalty
- The Physical Aspect
- Children & All That
- Money — Yours, Mine or Ours?
- The Division of Labor
- The Spiritual Aspect
- Being of One Mind
- How to Fight so You Both Win
There is much to love and learn from in “My Beloved and My Friend” no matter what you think about the current state of your marriage. If you’re feeling stable like I was when I opened up this book, I can bet that you will still learn a lot from the Youngs’ insights on what the Bible teaches about God-directed marriage. And if your marriage is struggling, this book is most definitely a must-read for you and your spouse. God has a lot to say about the purpose and vision He has for your marriage, and the Youngs do a tremendous job of pulling out these key scriptures with practical application.