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The Healthy Marriage Handbook Paperback – August 1, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
The six major problem areas covered are "communicating with confidence"(26 questions), "working through conflict"(24), "sex the way God designed it"(28), intimacy - growing closer together"(27), "growing in spiritual oneness"(27), "parenting as a team"(36), and "making sense of money matters"(28). Each question is real because the people who originally asked these questions are real, and each question deals with an obvious potential trouble spot, things a newlywed in the making needs to know. The answers (from various contributors) are compassionate, sensitive, direct, and often well thought out.
To start with, as someone who has "lived for God" with his body for many years, I found the section on sex to be rather startling in its frankness. However it has to be kept in mind that this book is dealing with difficult (read sensitive) questions. While the answers deal directly with the questions, they remain appropriate and in good taste, and this observation applies generally to all the sections of the book. An example of the thoughtfullness of the answers can be found in the question "A husband with a low libido". No less than 7 possible reasons are presented, and each is dealt with in a sensitive and compassionate way. A number of issues that one might expect to be encountered by people who "keep themselves for the right one" (read naive) are dealt with. What is appropriate and healthy behavior in the marriage, and what is unhealthy and should be left "outside" of the marriage, is also dealt with. Issues like boredom are dealt with, and re-establishing a love life after an affair is covered. Several questions also deal with the special needs of older couples.
In the "growing in spiritual oneness" section (a very important section), issues such as different levels of spiritual maturity, different styles of worship, changing churches, praying together, the more (or less) spiritually interested spouse, the spiritual leadership role of the husband, and many other good issues are dealt with. For Christian couples, I think this area is extremely important to talk through and work out.
The communication section deals with a variety of communication problems that can develop between spouses. Differences in the way men and woman communicate are covered. Many of the answers seem to deal with overcoming the fear of being too open and vunerable in the circumstance being discussed. A number of special circumstances are covered such as forgotten anniversaries, a quiet spouse, feeling emotionally shut out, a self-centered spouse, a busy spouse, and many others. All are covered with thoughtfullness and compassion.
Many of the questions in the book are thought provoking and lead to discussions in other areas. I plan to get another copy so my potential spouse and I can read separately and discuss the issues that each of us personally feels is important. We want a marriage that will avoid major problems, and we feel that discussing these potential pitfalls beforehand will help us to avoid them. I have bought other books on Christian marriage, and I find that this book is the only one that I can't seem to put down. I highly recommend it.