As I listened to the radio this morning, my heart sank. A man was being interviewed for starting a dating agency for married people…yes, married people. His company helps people have affairs….commit adultery…ruin marriages. I guess it was particularity shocking as I had preached on the need to strong marriages yesterday and am holding a morning for married men this Saturday (9-11am at the Cellar).
Let me list some great resources to help your marriage:
We have given every married man a copy of this in church. It is a small book, but a brilliant book. It is written for married men, and is not simply a technical manual on sex. Rather, CJ Mahaney encourages men to love their wives, cherish their wives and spend time showing this.
You can read my full review here.
I read the ‘5 love languages’ whilst I was engaged and found it really helpful. Basically, Chapman explains how each person gives and receives languages in different ways. Some love to serve and give words of affirmation, others love to touch and spend quality time. The book explains that sometimes a marriage struggles because the husband and wife are speaking different love languages….they are mis-communicating.
This is a simple read, with a very simple concept, but has amazing effects on marriages.
The Marriage book is really helpful. It is a very practical guide to marriage (including the 5 love languages). This is a great book to read in the first year of marriage. There is even a course you can do (which we run in church) and that is particularly helpful. We’ve been through this course twice and have found it beneficial.
The only snag with this book is that, whilst it is a Christian book, it fails to show that the real power in marriage is the gospel.
For that, you need to read the next book…probably the best book on marriage (outside of the Bible), When Sinners Say “I do”:
10 reasons why I love this book:
- It is easy to read
A key to a book on marriage is the fact that it is readable. Time is precious, most men don’t like to read, and so it is vital that a book is easy to read. Dave Harvey has a logical structure, good illustrations and cracking applications.
- It is realistic
The title gives it away. This guy knows what we are really like, deep down. I found the fact that early on he talks about ‘walking up with the worst of sinners’. It is so freeing.
So, it is just a depressing, lets-give-up book?
- It is gospel focused
One of his key thoughts is from a Puritan who said ‘until sin is bitter, Christ will not be sweet.’ That is his answer to marriage: Until we see what we are really like, we will not look to Christ….the gospel. I loved the fact that as I read about marriage, I was all the more amazed with the gospel. Hence the full title of the book ‘When sinner say “I do”: Discovering the power of the gospel for marriage’.
Thus, the book isnt so much a collection of handy tips for you to work on, rather…
- It looks at the heart of the issue: the heart
This is the vital aspect to the book. All our marital problems come from our sinful heart. Thus, we need to be honest about our heart and go to the only one who can fix our heart…Jesus.
This is so refreshing. You see, it would be so easy to say ‘have a date night’, but if your heart doesn’t want a date night because you don’t love your other half with the love of Christ, it is a useless exercise.
But, before you think it is a book that makes you feel bad:
- It is full of grace
Because the focus of the book is Christ and making Him sweet – there is bucket loads of grace. There is grace for you,and grace for you to show your loved one. It really does warm your heart. Indeed, this grace is transforming.
So, is this just theology?
- It is practical
The book has real theology, and is therefore really practical. There are lots of practical examples and processes that will help.
- It speaks to both the man and the woman
Even though it is written by a man, he tries to be balanced in his applications to the husband and the wife.
- It covers sex
This is very important, and Dave is very honest and challenging on this issue. I was so thankful for that chapter, and wonder if it should be required reading for engaged couples!
- It covers death
I found this hard to read, but it was worth reading. I pray that I won’t need that for along time. I guess this shows that the book is applicable to all ages.
- It makes you trust in God
This is the ultimate strength of the book. Because it is realistic and gospel focused, it makes you trust in God. I am so glad that it is grace that makes marriages last. I hope you know that. If not, buy the book!
Men, love your wives like Christ loves the church!