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Reforming Marriage Paperback – February 1, 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Douglas Wilson is pastor of Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho and editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine. He is the author of Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning and contributor to Back to Basics: Rediscovering the Richness of the Reformed Faith.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Canon Press; Revised edition (February 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885767455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885767455
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Douglas Wilson is the minister of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, which is a member of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC). After his stint in the submarine service of the U.S. Navy, he attended the University of Idaho, where he obtained an MA in philosophy.

As one of its founders, he has served on the board of Logos School, a classical and Christian school (K-12), since its inception. He is also a Senior Fellow of theology at New St. Andrews College. He is the author of numerous books, including Reforming Marriage, The Case for Classical Christian Education, Letter from a Christian Citizen, and Blackthorn Winter. He is also the general editor for the Omnibus textbook series. His blog can be found at www.dougwils.com.

All his favorite authors begin their names with initials--C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, H.L. Mencken, J.R.R. Tolkien, N.D. Wilson, and P.G. Wodehouse. The one exception is Nancy Wilson, a favorite author to whom he has been married for over thirty-four years. They have three children and fifteen grandchildren.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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When I read the sentence, "the chief end of marriage is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever" (p. 12), I was hooked. This is the best Christian book on marriage that I have read (and I've read a lot of them!). It is straightforward and to the point, Biblical, enjoyable, and practical.
Wilson covers topics well, dealing with the divine purpose for marriage (chapter 1), headship and authority (chapter 2), husband and wife roles (chapter 3), courtesy and romance (chapter 4), conflict resolution (chapter 5 - excellent!), temptations (chapter 6), sex (chapter 7), children (chapter 8), and divorce/remarriage (chapter 9).
There were several insights in this book that were especially helpful to me: particularly on the headship of husbands and the God-given (though different) orientations of men and women. Wilson wisely says: "The fundamental orientation of an obedient man is to his calling or vocation under God. Under normal circumstances, he cannot fulfill his calling alone - he needs help. The fundatmental orientation of an obedient woman is to give that help. Another way of saying this is that the man's orientation is to do the job with her help, while the woman's orientation is to help him do the job. He is oriented to the task, and she is oriented to him." (p. 65). That is excellent! If more couples understood that, a lot of needless misunderstanding would be avoided.
As a pastor, I have started using this book in premarital counseling. I think every Christian couple should read this book and do some hard thinking about marriage from a Biblical perspective.
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In just over 100 pages, Wilson manages to do what thousands of pages of the normal pablum never get done: explain clearly what marriage is in God's eyes; the exact inter-relationship between headship, service and love; and how to put things on track from the beginning (or put them back on track if need be).
Wilson's deep understanding of the practical outworking of covenants shines through every (often-humorous) paragraph, and his solidly-rooted theology keeps everything completely Christ-centered.
Yet while every theologian should read Reforming Marriage, this is not a book written for theologians: it is a book for every Christian. Your systematic theology prof and your seemingly-retarded teenager will draw equally well from its wisdom. That's quite a feat; and an accomplishment carried out by few so well or as consistently as by Wilson. Praise God that he carries it out with this particularly vital topic.
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I'm currently getting married, and this book is what my pastor assigned to me and my wife to be, as our first reading material for pre-marital counseling.

I have read other Wilson books, but I wasn't too thrilled about the style he used within this book. Doctrinally, it is sound and there are no problems, but, the undertones are not quite appropriate in my opinion.

I am very reformed (and I'm always reforming), but when you have someone who does not come from a reformed background, and they somehow fall upon such a book and begin reading it, they may turn away from reformed doctrine entirely. All due to the style a writer presents reformed doctrines or the reformed faith. Doug (though a great writer) writes with sarcasm, and at first glance, may cause some folk to 'knee jerk'. And yes, sarcasm may indeed have a proper place in the world of writing, but should not be over done. And I do understand that some people do not mind such sarcasm, and find it simply encouraging that there are other people in this world who find modern society's ways offensive, chaotic, and/or destructive. And in turn, find peace of mind that they are not alone (which is good for them), and may be the full intentions of the writer all along. But again, the newbie may turn away, when they should instead be nurtured... Anyway, if reformed doctrine or the reformed faith is new to you, and, if and when you read this book, take into consideration the context in which he is writing, and do not read more into what he says, when he spouts out a sarcastic remark here or there. Keep it at face value and will you will find this book a bit more beneficial to you and/or your spouse.

As far as my pre-marital counseling and this book are concerned, it was very helpful.
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I suppose I am the only male to give this book less than five stars, but here goes. There are many good points in this book (which is why I gave it two stars, and might even give three), but there is a major foundational error. The error is three-fold (1) Man's calling, (2) God's love and (3) spiritual authority

Before my wife became ill I believed that I was "called to be a missionary" and my wife was "called to me." This view would be in complete agreement with Wilson's book and theology. Sounds great, but now I see that this was very wrong. After my wife's illness she had no energy to "help me" in my vocation, but she became even more beautiful and priceless to me. As I have watched her grow over the years I am amazed at the work that God is doing through her and I have no doubt she is the greater in the Kingdom of God.

While my voaction is missions, and my wife's vocation is a homemaker --OUR CALLING IS CHRIST!!! A single woman can fulfill this calling as well (if not better than) a married woman. Wilson's view of vocation is nothing more than the Christianized version of "Stand by your man."

In this book Wilson says, "...he (husband) faces his future and calling under God, and she (wife), by his side, faces him." No wonder so many people hate to hear the Christian Right Wing talk about authority! Can you imagine saying, "he (the pastor) faces his future and calling under God, and she (the church), by his side, faces him"? This statement shows a complete misunderstanding of the spiritual authority that is vested in the husband, and makes him to be more of a "god" than a servant.
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