Thursday, April 16, 2009

Advice> Good Books on Marriage

Do you marry couples? Or are you married and read good books on marriage?
  • What books are you recommending at the moment?
  • Are any good ones for those who do not share a Biblical Worldview?
I want our marriages to be strong. And your help will help.


Pic on Flickr by Ron in Blackpool.


Mark said...

Marriage: sex in the service of God by Christopher Ash is brilliant, but not necessarily an easy read.

Anonymous said...

the bible...

Justin said...

Anon --

Yes! But which books and passages in particular would you recommend?

Adam Gregory said...

Bromley was excellent, albeit at a higher level

Chris said...

"The Dance of Anger" Harriet Lerner. Has been good for me. :) Not Xn

Nathan said...

"The Mystery of Marriage" by Mike Mason and
"I, Isaac take Thee Rebekah" by Ravi Zacharias

Two good ones...
Miss you guys over here!

Warren Dodson said...

Other books may deal with more nuts and bolts, but my wife and I found "When Sinners Say I Do" helpful on the theological framework.

Tim Adeney said...

I also like Ash, and he has a shorter book "Married for God" which is more readable. But also:


John Gottman "7 Principles for making marriage work"

More Christian

Emerson Eggerichs"Love & Respect" or "Cracking the Communication Code"

and then Greg & Amelia Clarke's book "One Flesh"

Giraffe Pen (기린 만년필) said...

"The Marriage Builder" by Dr. Larry Crabb. Also, "God, Marriage, and Family" by Andreas Koestenburger has also been recommended to me. Apparently Mark Driscoll uses it at his church for pre-marital counselling.

Seumas Macdonald said...

I found Ash, Marriage: sex in the service of God very good, and deeply theological.

Eggerich's Love and Respect was very helpful on a practical level for my wife and myself.

Erin Chamberlain (King) said...

I'm now 5 months married and was encouraged to read Ash, "Married for God" and a REALLY old fashioned book that was a good way to start discussion in a Biblical framework called "Looking up the Aisle" by Dave and Joyce Ames. You can get this secondhand on Amazon.

Adam Gregory said...

oh, and I'm halfway through Safe Haven Marriage (by Arch Hart, and his daughter). I'm loath to recommend a book I haven't finished, but I heartily endorse the bit I've read ;)

Anonymous said...

Fit to be tied by bill and lyn hybels

Keith said...

I use 'One Flesh' as a lead in to my chat about a biblical picture of intimacy. I give a copy of the book gratis to the couple, give them a month, tell them to read it together and talk about what they are reading. Then, I walk through 1 Cor 7 with them at the next meeting.

Laura said...

Funny this came up. A friend just requested he borrow most of my marriage books, which had me thumbing through them again. It was a great refresher course. My thoughts on all the ones I've read:

The Mystery of Marriage: Great! I mean, JI Packer endorses this baby, and for great reason. I tend to like less practical books, which will probably come through in my reviews. But, the Mystery of Marriage really helped create a framework for me. A short quote, but full of punch, "Through our cracks, love gets in."

Sacred Marriage: Also very good, especially in the area of reminding us that marriage is not meant to be for our fun, but our holiness.

The Marriage Builder: I seemed to underline more in this one, probably because it tended to be a bit more clinical in nature, rather than theological. So, there was more to apply, but not in a dumbed-down way. Full of good stuff.

Just How Married Do You Want to Be: Recent read that I'm not sure I would recommend above the others if you don't want to read all of them, but refreshingly (for me) written mostly from a woman's mind. And, she does a good job of trying to be practical, giving great advice that I didn't find in the others, while trying to preserve the theological intrigue and mystery of marriage. She doesn't try to explain the mystery of it away, which I like. There is no easy formula.

Love & Respect: To be honest, I liked his point, but I found the book a waste of time. What he said could easily be said in an essay or much shorter booklet. Idea good. Publisher evil.

For Women Only & For Men Only: Helpful because they were both short and I find them to be refreshingly honest. Or, at least Josh says the same thing about the one he read, which I can't really speak to too much. Easy to digest and have really stuck with me.

I Isaac Take Thee Rebekah: I read this, but honestly don't remember much of it. I borrowed it, so I don't have it to refresh myself now. But I do remember not being to stimulated by it.

If I had to recommend one, it would probably be The Mystery of Marriage, but that's mostly because it suits my tastes. I'm not sure exactly which type you're looking for.

Mrs. W said...

Someone recommended to us recently that the Gottman book is a good resource. :)

Anonymous said...

My wife and I married last year - we've got a whole shelf of marriage books! Our favourites (besides Ash which has already been mentioned in abundance) were "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas and "The Marriage Builder" by Larry Crabb.

The latter takes (as Laura has commented) a deeply cognitive approach based on Crabb's theories of psychological needs. For this reason, TMB probably isn't for everyone, but I found it excellent and extremely helpful.

Beth Reames said...

Justin, a young married woman in my bible study just told me about a conference she recently attended called "Love and Respect". They have all sorts of media to download at She says it really helped her - she is from Singapore, newly married and was having difficulty adjusting. I did look at their website-they went to Wheaton-need I say more?

annie said...

I heartily endorse the above recommendations for Gary Thomas's "Sacred Marriage" and Mike Mason's "The Mystery of Marriage".

I found Chris Ash's book "Married for God" a bit on the thin side, and I would like to read the longer version.

I agree that the basic premise of "Love and Respect" was helpful, but do just skim the book. It's not worth reading the whole thing if you're not a fast reader.

*** I heartily recommend the following two books, especially for women:

"Letters to Karen"
by Charlie Shedd


"The Excellent Wife"
by Martha Peace.

They're both geared towards wives, with "Letters to Karen" being tender fatherly advice from a longtime pastor to his beloved daughter, whereas Martha Peace's book is a bit more edgy, straight-shooting advice from an older woman to young women. Both soundly Biblical, with a good philosophical/practical balance of advice and teaching.

I also just finished reading "Created to be his help meet" by Debi Pearl. That's another wife book, but one that I can only recommend with this caveat: the author is coming from a very particular slice of American culture, where the King James Bible language is commonly spoken, and those who examine Greek words and cultural contexts are suspect because they're likely to lead to an abandonment of Biblical male-female roles. The consequent anti-intellectual perspective irked me, even in the midst of somem great practical advice from an older woman to a new wife.

annie said...

Ooh, yes, just one more.

"The Five Love Languages"
by Gary Chapman

Yes, it's American, a bit formulaic and perhaps a bit cheesy, but if you can get past the trappings, the message of the book could be very helpful.

Julian said...

1. The Marriage Builder" by Dr. Larry Crabb.
2. "Fit to be Tied" by Bill and Lyn Hybels