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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fruitful Wife by Haley DiMarco
I needed to read this book. God convicted me of something that I had said while in Bible study a few months ago. I am happy to say that I was wrong, completely and totally. And I am so thankful that God used Haley DiMarco's book to show me, because that means that there are other people who can experience exactly the same revelation.

So, here's what I was wrong...
Published on September 24, 2012 by Tina

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good book in almost every way
This book was given to me for my review. The Fruitful Wife by Hayley Di Marco is a hard review for me to write because it was, to me, almost perfect as to the subject matter and how the author chose to address it. The "fruit of the Spirit" has always been difficult for me to understand when it comes to actual definition and how it should manifest in my life. Di Marco...
Published 24 months ago by booklass


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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good book in almost every way, December 20, 2012
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This review is from: The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce (Paperback)
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This book was given to me for my review. The Fruitful Wife by Hayley Di Marco is a hard review for me to write because it was, to me, almost perfect as to the subject matter and how the author chose to address it. The "fruit of the Spirit" has always been difficult for me to understand when it comes to actual definition and how it should manifest in my life. Di Marco breaks down each fruit of the spirit one by one: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The author makes it clear that obtaining this fruit begins in abiding in Christ, and she details how that looks in a believer's life. Once she establishes the root of the fruitful life, she expands on the fruit in minute detail, giving many examples. I truly appreciated the clarification because I always found that while Galatians 5:22-23 is often quoted, how to personally apply it is often vague. I personally thought that her chapter on JOY alone was worth the price of the book. It certainly inspired me, but I found many inspirational moments throughout the book.
So, why only three stars? On page 90 I ran into a huge problem in Di Marco's comment that "obsessive compulsive disorder, hypochondria, and other social phobias" are "neurosis that are born in our spirits" that are formed when we have "an immoderate attachment to something other than God". I am not sure what the author's mental health credentials are, but I know that these are not just social phobias but are real neurological and biochemical illnesses. In the case of OCD, it is often comorbid with other conditions such as autism, tourette's, and bipolar disorder, to name a few. To suggest that the patient has caused their own disease through idolatry is incredibly wrong and harmful to someone who is already struggling with the feeling of being disenfranchised by a mental/developmental disorder. If the author did not mean to suggest the correlation between disease and idolatry, then she needs to rewrite this section of the book. Perhaps the author might benefit from reading Disability and the Gospel. This rather major issue leaves me with the frustration that, while I very much liked the book's other parts, I would not feel comfortable suggesting it to some people who I think would be vulnerable to the one message Di Marco is sending out on page 90. That is really a shame.
Another issue is that the subject of abusive marriages is not at least mentioned. I realize that that was not the focus of the book, but it might have helped a wife in that position to know before purchasing and reading the book. The scope of the book seemed to be mostly focused on the average "warts and all" marriage. I would not recommend it for an abusive marriage because it might leave the unsafe impression that if you just "do these things" all will be well. Some other suggested reading in the introduction would have been helpful, or at least a disclaimer that the scope of the book is not addressing an abusive situation which would necessitate that a wife get out of harm's way.
One other problem I found in the book, but this is not something I marked off for in rating the item, is that the ink is a light blue, and I found it very difficult to read in certain light or when my eyes were tired. I would rather have read this on my Kindle than in paperback, if I had known.
So,the bottom line? Buy the book for its wonderful explanations of the fruit of the Spirit if the author's outlook on mental health does not bother you as much as it did me, but do not give it to someone who is struggling with mental health if you think that the author's statement would hurt them in any way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fruitful Wife by Haley DiMarco, September 24, 2012
This review is from: The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce (Paperback)
I needed to read this book. God convicted me of something that I had said while in Bible study a few months ago. I am happy to say that I was wrong, completely and totally. And I am so thankful that God used Haley DiMarco's book to show me, because that means that there are other people who can experience exactly the same revelation.

So, here's what I was wrong about, I thought you couldn't have all the fruits of the spirit at once. Turns out that not only can you, but you should and it's pretty easy to get, if you're willing to put in the work. And the work is clinging to Jesus.

The Fruitful Wife goes through all the spiritual fruits in Galatians 5:22-23 and shows how they relate to our lives as wives. She shows clearly the areas that we struggle in and how they can look when we are living a life that is dependent upon Jesus and looking to share the fruits of the spirit.

Each chapter is a different fruit, my favorite being gentleness. I was encouraged to read that I do not have to be bullish during moments of sharing the truth. God is gentle with us during times of correction and I feel like that is what The Fruitful Wife has offered me, a moment of correction from wrong thought and wrong action. I hope that it also means that I will experience more fruits in my life so that I can share them with not only my husband but with the world as well.

A copy of this book was shared with me for purposes of review from Crossway via NetGalley.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Fruitful Wife: What NOT To Do in Marriage, July 1, 2013
This review is from: The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce (Paperback)
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I really liked the idea of this book and felt that the topic had a lot of potential. The cute cover and turquoise text also helped to draw me in - I was excited to read this book! Unfortunately, I felt that it did not live up to its potential and that it falls short of being a truly inspiring book to help improve marriages.

First, I must note that there was a lot in the book that I did not quite agree with doctrinally, and a few interpretations of scripture that did not sit well with me. However, I want to make it clear that my low rating on this book is due almost entirely to other reasons (which I will go into in a moment), and not because the author's faith and interpretation of doctrine differs from mine; I don't feel that it would be fair to give the book such a low rating purely because the author's religious views differ from my own.

First, the positives:

I actually loved and appreciated the chapter on Joy. Her thoughts and discussion on the virtue of joy were very uplifting and inspiring; I loved the part about how a joyful wife can be a blessing to her husband and family.

I also LOVED the conclusion chapter, in which DiMarco discusses the vine and the branches which bring forth fruit, and how ours is an active role in developing the fruit in our lives.

Onto the things I did not like about this book:

I felt that the overall tone of this book was actually very negative. Yes, there were many Biblical references and much discussion about the nine virtues. A lot of this was very informative and inspirational. But whenever the author used personal examples and stories from her life, it was all very negative. I think what she was going for was to show how developing these fruits of the Spirit in her life allowed her to change from the way she was to become a good wife and strengthen her marriage, but she hardly made ANY mention of HOW she did change, or the specific POSITIVE things she did to help her marriage. There are plenty of stories about ways to be a bad wife - being impatient, having meltdowns on her honeymoon, screaming, breaking plates, not saying "please" or "thank you" to her husband, being moody, not smiling and exhibiting joy, and on and on and on. What I would have loved to read are the specific ways she learned to become a good wife once she learned to abide in the Spirit and develop those fruits of the Spirit. I would have loved her to balance out the general discussion of those virtues with more actual, practical tips to apply to your marriage - and positive ones! For me this book was a "what not to do" guide to marriage. I don't feel particularly inspired to be a better wife, except that I don't want to be like the wife she portrayed through her negative examples.

I also got the overall feeling of this book being very condescending towards husbands. There were SO many examples of what to do when your husband is sinful, lazy, overly sensitive, being a "baby," a failure, even your "enemy" (page 113). She talked about how God's grace can help us "keep from rolling our eyes when he's wrong, making fun of him, complaining about him, or reminding him of his failures" (page 116). Maybe the author didn't do this on purpose, but much of the tone of this book is similar in the way that husbands are mentioned. Look, a lot of husbands are wonderful. Mine isn't perfect but I never feel like he's being a baby, or think "you're such a failure," and I sure don't make fun of him. These things don't even cross my mind. Maybe I just don't relate to the author very well?

I had a problem with a major point the author seems to make throughout the book that I think is worth mentioning. She talks about how many "nonbelievers" exhibit some or all of these virtues in their lives, and they bless their families and do good ("sometimes better than believers"), but "only because it feels good. Their fruit grows because of the payoff they receive" (page 15). The author states that because they are nonbelievers they must be doing this for selfish reasons. Look, we all have different beliefs. Although I am a Christian, I don't belong to the same church as the author - does that make me a nonbeliever? There are many wonderful, good people who don't go to church at all - does this make them purely "selfish" when they show love, or gentleness, or goodness in their homes and in their communities? I don't think it is the author's place, or mine, or anyone else's (except God's) to judge the motives and intents of people who do good.

I realize that this is a book about being a good wife. However, marriage is a partnership. I felt like a lot of these practical tips would have been more effective and helpful when seen through the lens of a partnership. For example, the author talks about praying for your husband when you don't like what he's doing or when he sins or makes mistakes. Praying for your husband is great and important. A good wife does that. But I also think it's also paramount in a marriage to pray together. It was just all a little too one-sided for me, making husbands seem inferior in some way.

A couple of alarming things the author said:

On page 55, the author talks about the "joylessness of a life out of control," and mentions conditions such as anorexia and bulimia; she then suggests that to let go of this need for control that is inherent in these disorders, one must see the fingerprints of God in their life and trust in Him. While this is true to some extent, I think that these disorders are much more than a lack of trust in God.

Other reviewers have mentioned the alarming paragraph on page 90 that basically says that certain neuroses and disorders wouldn't be present if we would merely align our lives with God. I think the author needs to be more careful about such claims when dealing with medical issues.

While I loved the conclusion chapter, I found it strange that it actually made NO mention at all about marriage; I don't think I even read the word "wife" in that chapter at all. (Isn't that a little inconsistent with the whole premise of the book?)

This book was just a little too negative for me, and seemed more like a "What Not To Do" marriage book. I did enjoy reading it critically, and it has prompted many good discussions with my husband about marriage and doctrine, as well as encouraged me to look many things up in my scriptures to ponder on my own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 stars for physical book, 4 stars for content, April 17, 2013
This review is from: The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce (Paperback)
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I've never actually commented on the physical properties of a book before, but in this case, the book itself nearly caused me not to finish it. This book is printed in a light aqua colored font, and it is hard for me to read, especially with a book light (I do most of my reading in bed) I found that I could only read a little at a time, otherwise I developed a headache.

I do like the content of this book. I have read some of DiMarco's books in the past and I have found them to be hit or miss. I felt that the author did a very good job explaining the fruits of the spirit, and I feel that the work is spiritually sound. I agree with some other reviewers who take issue with DiMarco's statements on mental illness. I truly hope that Mrs. DiMarco does not feel that some people develop mental illness due to idolatry or other sin - this is the type of backwards thinking that causes Christians who do have mental illness to suffer in silence, and may prevent others from seeking help from the church. Other than her statements about mental illness, this book was a pleasant read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and intelligent., February 21, 2013
By 
K. "daisy4given" (Northern Arizona, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce (Paperback)
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I cant stress how much i love this book. It is so refreshing to read when compared to other Christian Living books for women. It is intelligent, well researched, and well written. There's no fluff or filler in this book. I have to read it in small doses, as it can be a lot to digest and think on. I've already bought it for three friends, and hope to use it in my church's women's ministry. This book is EXCELLENT.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, December 12, 2012
By 
Angel (Wa, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce (Paperback)
I absolutely loved this book. It was so convicting with Biblical truth!
It took me a long time to get through, because there was so much good stuff to let soak into my life. And now that I have finally finished, I plan on starting all over again to help the truth in it change me even more!
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Insidious words in a pretty package, January 11, 2013
By 
Aoife (Portland, Oregon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce (Paperback)
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Of course the first thing you notice about this book is the cute, hip graphic design. That's intentional--the blurb on the back states that the author and her husband produce books that "combine hard-hitting biblical truth with cutting-edge design." They take this just a bit far, in my opinion, in choosing a faint aqua hue for the font inside the book.

The second thing you will notice is that it promised to help you apply the nine fruits of the Spirit, as described by St. Paul, to your marriage. This, too, sounds generally agreeable and interesting. What could be bad about being joyful, peaceful, and patient, after all?

But beyond the cover design and the blurb, this is just another book telling women the same old things that a dozen other books of its type have said before. Be quiet, don't argue, don't complain, don't have a self or needs of your own or if you do, at least be quiet about them, and above all, never expect your husband to give unto you as you give unto him. And the author also says some further questionable things that strike me as downright dangerous. On page 90 she accuses women with painful mental illnesses of "worshiping idols." On page 138, she enjoins women to never argue with their husbands or "contradict" him to children or friends. There's no shade of grey, here, there's no caution thrown up to say that if you are being abused you can break this rule, and I have to assume, after reading similar exhortations throughout the book without such disclaimers, that this may actually be intentional.

On page 154 it specifically directs women not to tell anyone when your husband hurts you, that "the Spirit" doesn't want this, but rather for the woman to think less about herself. It allows that with permission she can share her husband's sins, but never without. This is just downright dangerous claptrap and has nothing at all to do with what is biblical, righteous, or the fruit of the Spirit. Finally, on page 176, the author directs women to submit to her husband for "correction," even when he is wrong, because even when he is wrong, "God is right."

It seems to me that this book, and many of its type, actually make the figure of the husband into an idol who is to be treated like a god, like a literal stand-in for the real God, which is of course blasphemous and wrong. And even though for many mainline Christians like myself the verses of St. Paul about the husband being the head of the wife are troubling and difficult to understand in context, even I can see that first and foremost the husband is asked in the Epistles to give himself in perfect sacrifice for his wife, as Christ did for the church, and THEN for the wife to follow him. Not for the wife to give herself as a sacrifice AND follow a man who is not asked to give of himself in the same way.

I would consider all this claptrap a matter of simple personal choice--choose to subject yourself to this miserable patriarchist vision of marriage if you must, even though it is not truly biblical but a symptom of our current American cultural crises--but it is also damaging, dangerous, and heretical. Thus I must object to it in as many words as I have stated here.

If there is only one thing I wish to communicate to young Christian women today it is that you can be pious, orthodox, even traditional, even conservative if you wish, without being silent, passive, and suffering abuse and "correction" from a man who is not asked to give of himself in the way you are asked to give of yourself. The options are not "crazy modern world promiscuity and amorality" or the bleak vision of one-sided self-denial put forth by the likes of DiMarco. There is a sane way in between those extremes.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True answers about growing in your walk with God, September 18, 2012
By 
Debbie (Harrison, AR United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce (Paperback)
"The Fruitful Wife" looks to the Bible to find the answers about how one can grow in the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). This book is for everyone, not just wives. While the author primarily used the husband-wife relationship as an illustration, the truths she discussed are helpful for everyone: wives, singles, parents--even men.

I was impressed and challenged by this book. She started by discussing why producing Fruit is important (to help nourish other people and to bring glory to God). She took each Fruit of the Spirit and discussed what it is, what it isn't, how to grow it in your life, and how this works out in your relationships with others. She also talked honestly and openly about her own struggles with this and what she learned from the Bible about how Fruit is actually produced--and it's not by just trying harder.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this encouraging, insightful, and powerful book to all Christians who want to grow in their walk with God.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was going to give this book a five star rating, June 12, 2013
This review is from: The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce (Paperback)
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I originally planned to give a five star rating to the book The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce by Hayley DiMarco. Sadly, the planned book rating plummeted after I read:

"It is the obsessive personality that worships something other than God and serves to the point of illness and refuses to submit that obsession to the One who is meant to be our only obsession. In this we form an 'immoderate attachment or devotion to something' other than God and we thus create for ourselves an idol, which we serve as a little god that promises to protect us or to save us from suffering and danger," p. 90.

I'm not a medical doctor, but I do know this much obsessive compulsive disorders are considered a form of mental illness. Most medical authorities are beginning to believe mental illness has a biological foundation. Mental illness is not a character defect but a true illness. Finally, God creates us in his own image and you will find many people born with both physical and mental disabilities. As Christians we are to love and care for them as this is part of charity and love God commands of us all.

There are parts of the book I did enjoy reading, especially the chapter on gentleness. The author offers some good advice on how to live the Christian life. Some of her tips include:

Be more easy going
Accept correction
Live a modest life

This seems to be a decent book except when the author wandered off concerning mental illness.

Recommend with caveats given.

Penmouse
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, I've read better, April 5, 2013
This review is from: The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce (Paperback)
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While I think this book was written with good, righteous intentions, I'm also a little wary of the overall messages it provides.

First, I think this is a very pretty book, I love the blue print inside, I love the cover, and I think there is a lot of wisdom within it's 200 pages. I like how the author frequently quotes scriptures, and that the author encourages a dependence on God...for the most part.

It's hard to put a finger on what exactly I didn't like about this book, though I think it boils down to my desire for doctrinally solid reads when it comes to Christian literature, this book seems to walk some fine lines at times. I'm a Lutheran, Missouri Synod, was raised to depend on the word of God completely, and to take all other writing done by humans with a grain of salt.

Again, I find The Fruitful Wife to be well intentioned and for the most part, a very insightful read, though I am wary of the fine line the author seems to walk in regards to actions. I believe the entire point of Christianity is that we are imperfect, and in need of a savior (Christ). We're going to fall short over and over again, and there is only one (Christ) who can be perfect. His strength is made perfect in our weakness, says scripture. So the tone that this book sometimes seems to take, that we can CHOOSE all these good fruits and work hard toward them, is half true but not really. I'm not sure if this makes sense. I guess what I'm saying is, I would feel more comfortable with this book if it took more of a, "You're going to mess up, you're human, just remember Christ was perfect because we can't be" sort of tone. All these chapters have very good insight on the "fruits of the spirit", but they seem just a little more self involved than I'd like.

With that said, I agree fully with another reviewer who said that a discerning Christian might enjoy and gain a lot from this book, as it is insightful as far as the fruits of the spirit go (though we must be careful to avoid taking credit for any fruits we might produce), though I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to new or young Christians who might be encouraged to focus on themselves and their works as opposed to the ultimate point of where all our focus should be: Christ. The whole point of Christianity to me is recognizing that I am a sinner in need of a savior (Christ) and will fall short, though it's certainly wonderful to try not to! Point is, CHRIST!

This book seemed to be missing that point in a way that is hard to describe. Make what you will of this review, it's just how I read The Fruitful Wife.

As far as marriage books go, I've read others that I'd recommend well before this one, Love & Respect by Emerson Eggrichs being one of my favorites.
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The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce
The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce by Hayley DiMarco (Paperback - September 30, 2012)
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