- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan (July 12, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 031034266X
- ISBN-13: 978-0310342663
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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For Better or for Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House Paperback – July 12, 2016
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If you have children at home, discussing marriage without examining the way kids impact your relationship is like trying to explain skiing without mentioning snow. Patrick and Ruth Schwenk address this often-overlooked aspect of marriage head-on in their fine book For Better or for Kids. I wish Lisa and I could have read this thoughtful look at how a married couple can grow closer as their kids grow older when our kids were young. (Gary Thomas, Author of Sacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting)
In a countercultural move, For Better or for Kids addresses an increasing epidemic in modern American homes---child-centered marriages. With both humor and vulnerability, Ruth and Patrick share how having children changed their marriage---and how learning to focus on each other first not only made them better spouses but also better parents. (Erin Odom, creator of TheHumbledHomemaker.com and upcoming author with HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
For Better or for Kids hooked me as soon as I saw the title. After all, who hasn’t struggled with the balance of all it takes to build a strong marriage---at the same time you’re trying to raise good kids? But here Patrick and Ruth Schwenk offer us so much wisdom and practical advice for how we can love our spouse well and, yes, even with kids in the house. (Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women.com)
For Better or for Kids addresses a huge problem for many modern parents. We have put our kids before our marriages and it’s costing us dearly. Parenting requires teamwork, but a husband and wife aren’t just co-laborers; they’re lovers. Patrick and Ruth will help you keep the promises you made to your beloved before children came along. (Arlene Pellicane, author of 31 Days to a Happy Husband and Growing Up Social)
For Better or for Kids gracefully tackles most of the common challenges married couples face once children enter onto the scene. With transparency, humor, and practical wisdom, Pat and Ruth share a vital message throughout this book: marriages can still thrive with children in the house. This book is a must-read for any married couple with kids! (Mike & Carlie Kercheval, cofounders of FulfillingYourVows.com, coauthors of Learning to Speak Life™ Family Bible Study Guide.)
After working with couples for over ten years now, I realize the vital need for good resources when a husband and wife welcome kids into their family. For Better or for Kids is the book I have been waiting for to recommend to couples as they transition from kidless married adults to mom and dad. In this book, the Schwenks provide biblical truth as they encourage parents to push through in the middle of the challenges (and blessings) of life with children. (Scott Kedersha, Director of Premarital and Newly Married Ministries, Watermark Community Church, scottkedersha.com)
Every marriage needs this important parenting book! Children can change things between a husband and wife---for better or worse! This book is a practical and spiritual guide for your marriage as you travel the parenting road. I highly recommend it! (Kristen Welch, author of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World)
The pastoral wisdom of Pat and the visionary mothering heart of Ruth come together in these much-needed pages for all of us who find ourselves seeking to build our marriages while growing our families. The Schwenks lovingly show us, from within the trenches themselves, that one doesn’t have to happen to the detriment of the other. The practical wisdom in this book will meet marriages in the throes of parenting and encourage them to keep their eyes on the prize and press on. (Ruth Chou Simons, mom of six boys, artist, writer, founder of gracelaced.com)
If you’re married with children, yet struggling to be a united team, I highly recommend For Better or for Kids. Patrick and Ruth do a fantastic job of offering biblical encouragement and practical tools that will help strengthen your “team us”! (Ashleigh Slater, author of Team Us: Marriage Together)
In a day when parenting can become just another task-list entry for young couples, Patrick and Ruth Schwenk offer a needed reality check in For Better or for Kids. Theirs is life-learned advice for making the life-changing transition from living like “married singles” to actually being “married with children.” With a been-there, learned- that, humorous and conversational style, they remind couples like them who are wondering, “What just happened?” that this is real life---marriage is unavoidably changed by good parenting, parenting is necessarily dependent on a good marriage, and it is all good by God’s design. (Clay & Sally Clarkson, authors and speakers on Christian home and parenting, Whole Heart Ministries, Mom Heart Ministry, SallyClarkson.com)
Marriage vows can feel lyrical and distant when held up against the grit of real life. But in their practical and yet vision-inspiring book, For Better or for Kids, Patrick and Ruth Schwenk bridge the gap between what we once said that can feel “way back when” and what we’re living now. It’s a hope-giving book that offers strength within the pages. (Sara Hagerty, author of Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet)
It’s refreshing to see a real couple dealing with real issues and provide real, “hands-on” advice! Their personal stories provide hope and direction for any weary parent! Patrick and Ruth Schwenk have done a great job encouraging the hearts and minds of parents everywhere, at any phase of life in “for better or for kids.” (Clare Smith, writer/speaker/blogger at claresmith.me)
For Better or for Kids will inspire---and prod---you to be a real team with your spouse! With humility and humor, Ruth and Patrick share the mistakes they made and the lessons they’ve learned while “loving your spouse with four kids in the house!” In their stories of busyness, unexpected tragedy, and the mundane of everyday parenting, they always come back to one thing: now that you’re parents, your marriage matters more, not less, because other people are counting on you. So cling to each other and get ready for the most exciting ride of your life! (Sheila Wray Gregoire, blogger at ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com and award-winning author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex)
For Better or for Kids is a must-read for parents everywhere. Through highly relatable and compelling discussion, Ruth and Patrick Schwenk have created a valuable resource that is sure to encourage and equip the heart of every reader. (Becky Thompson, author of Hope Unfolding and Love Unending, creator of Scissortail SILK)
For Better or for Kids is an honest and pure resource that addresses that familiar and complicated space in marriage between expectation and reality. Patrick and Ruth provide real-life examples and practical steps that not only help close the gap but ultimately align our perspectives with God’s purpose and his truth. (Wynter Pitts, founder & author, For Girls Like You magazine and devotionals)
For Better or for Kids is a must-read for any husband and wife with kids! This is a beautiful resource that encourages the heart of those who are in the throes of parenting. No matter how long you have been married, no matter how old your kids are, this book is for you. (Jennifer Smith, author of The Unveiled Wife and founder of Unveiledwife.com)
Patrick and Ruth Schwenk have an important message to all of us who think we can put our marriage on the back burner once kids come into the family picture. They remind us a good marriage is the key to a healthy family. They know it is not easy but also know it is God’s design to put your marriage first. I recommend this book to all the parents who forget what a date night is, fantasize about the days before kids, and who just need to rekindle the fire and commitment to a vibrant marriage in a frenetic season of life. Read this book with your spouse and enjoy this season for all its worth. (Dr. Garrett Higbee, Executive Director of Biblical Soul are Ministries at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago)
About the Author
Patrick Schwenk is a husband, father, and pastor. Ruth Schwenk is a wife, mom, and blogger. She is the coauthor (with Karen Ehman) of Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe & Why We All Need to Knock It Off. She and her husband are the creators of ForTheFamily.org and TheBetterMom.com. Patrick and Ruth met while attending the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. They have been married for more than seventeen years, have four children and have been in full time ministry for over fifteen years. They live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Top Customer Reviews
Authors Patrick and Ruth Schwenk have written a book that is for all those busy, harried, exhausted, child-centric couples who have forgotten to take time for themselves, who are missing a spark from their marriages, and who desperately want to get it back!
This is a book that, as the tagline says, is "a vow to love your spouse with kids in the house".
It's all about embracing the chaos! You've got to work together, parent together, and find the time together to focus on just the two of you. Life will get hard. Life will get busy. But you will live through it! It's nothing that you can't handle TOGETHER.
As a new mom, my husband and I have very baby-centered lives, and I think that's the way it should be for right now. But as our daughter gets older, this book will be kept in a prominent place on my bookshelf as a resource and reminder to not get so caught up in the craziness of multiple schedules, financial strain, work, and whatever else comes our way. We have to remember to take time for just the two of us.
I didn't always love the way the book was set up. You've got two people writing together and switching perspectives multiple times throughout each chapter. So as you're reading, you'll see "I (Patrick) did this..." and then "I (Rachel) was very upset that..." And I just wish there was a better way to denote who was talking or have them both "talk" together.
But with discussion questions throughout the book for you and your spouse to go over together, I think this book would be a great choice for a couples Bible study!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers [...Read more ›
They cover exhaustion, sharing responsibilities, finances, parenting as a team, overpacked schedules, parenting fears, communication and intimacy.
They give Biblical, practical advice to meet these challenges.
Marriage: It’s Not What we Expect, But it is Good
Marriage with Children: A Mess with a Mission
The Missing Vow: Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House
Fanning the Flames: Sex with Your Spouse with Kids in the House
Parenting Together, Not Separately
Grace for Those Not-So-Perfect Moments
Time, Rest, and Rhythm: Making our Days Count
Dealing with Busyness
When You’re Running on Empty
Communicating in the Chaos
Taking the Fight out of Finances
A Test of Your Togetherness: When Life Gets Really Hard
You Will Live through This!
Each chapter ends with a questions for couples to discuss, called Just the Two of Us.
“One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is a healthy, loving, and God-honoring marriage.”
It’s easy to let our exhausting schedules deplete the effort we should be putting into our marriages. But this book helps you evaluate your schedule and relationship.
“As a marriage relationship progresses and time goes by, the temptation to stop pursuing our spouse is likely to set in. When kids come along, it is easy to stop trying.”
(tweet)“Don’t stop pursuing each other!Read more ›
It took me a bit to get into the book to be honest. I thought at the beginning, the two authors jumped back and forth on who was speaking to the point that it made it confusing. It got better the further into the book you got, but I think the book would’ve benefited from some other indication of who was speaking. This might not be a distraction for a lot of readers, but it seemed to be for me.
Looking past that though, I thought the book was very good. It had a lot of common sense advice on how to deal with keeping your marriage going while raising children. The authors touched on all the most important topics and gave personal examples of how they dealt with things.
The book was also scattered with sections called “Just the Two of Us” which are discussion questions for the couple to work on together. These questions talk about what you might be doing right, what you might be doing wrong, and how to improve on things.
Favorite quote of the book was on page 51…”One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is a healthy, loving, and God-honoring marriage. Children will join us on the journey, but we have to be careful that they don’t come between us on this journey.”
And to the authors, Patrick & Ruth Schwenk, Go Blue!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are facing tough citation in your marriage, this book could help you.Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
Marriage can be difficult, but marriage with kids is a whole new dimension. Where one has learned to be an adult and do adult life, when one becomes a parent, their childhood... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Yoni
Loved it. Thought it came on a little strong, but made complete sense. Never thought of kids as a "season of marriage." I would wholeheartedly recommend getting this book.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Good book. I need to re-read it though. I read the book and it took me way too long because I just didn't have the time, but it does have some good content.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
For Better or For Worse...I mean Kids. This book is about staying encouraged and equipped to handle life and marriage with kids in it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ben Silk
I didn't read the book because I got bored. But I skimmed a few pages and what I read was helpful. We have two small kids and are still married so maybe it helped? Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The title of this book initially threw me off–I thought I was going to be reading about how kids cause divorce or something. Read morePublished 3 months ago by McKenzie Swanson
Kids change the dynamic of the marriage. There is just no way to get around that fact. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing though. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Janet @ Frugal & Focused
Think back to your wedding day. It may have been a number of years ago. It could have been months ago. Read morePublished 3 months ago by R. J. Rivett