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Reforming Marriage Paperback – May 10, 2012
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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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Top Customer Reviews
1) "Wives need to be led with a firm hand. A wife will often test her husband in some area, and be deeply disappointed if he gives in to her."
Seriously? This would be great advice if you substituted "toddlers" and "parents" for "wives" and "husbands" respectively in this passage.
2) "A wife must not complain in her fruitfulness . . . . it is the wife's duty to submit to the will of God and gladly bear children for her husband." (i.e., no matter how much pain and discomfort you're experiencing in your pregnancy, just be silent and do your duty, woman.)
Another weird opinion of Wilson's, found in several places in this book, is the assertion that a husband is responsible for maintaining his wife's "loveliness." It was never clear in the book what exactly Wilson meant by this, except that he believed the results should be physically "visible." I presume that Wilson did not mean that the husband should stock up on Botox for his wife. Beyond this, however, since he never clarified his meaning, I can only speculate. I would guess that Wilson meant that the husband should ensure the growth of his wife's inner beauty, and that this inner beauty will translate into a greater physical beauty. As nice as this idea sounds, Wilson never gave any practical advice on how to accomplish this end. I'm guessing that's because it's impossible to cultivate inner beauty in another person--inner beauty is something that each person must work on for himself/herself. Therefore, there really isn't any practical advice that Wilson could give on this.
Again, if you aren't too bothered by the author's pompous tone and his attitude toward women, you can find some useful marriage advice in this book; but overall, I wouldn't recommend it. There are better marriage books out there.
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.
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. It caused me and my soon-to-be-wife to address issues which we would have probably pushed off until they arose sometime in our marriage, or things which we may never personally experience (Lord Willing), such as the topic of divorce. And now, I know her more deeply than I would have without reading this book, and count myself blessed for doing so. In this light, the book is very enlightening.
For what it's worth, we are now reading 'The Intimate Marriage: A Practical Guide to Building a Great Marriage' by R.C. Sproul. I've barely started and yet look forward to reading this one. And incase you've enjoyed my insight of this book, I'll soon be writing a review for that book as well.
We were also recommended to read 'Preparing for Marriage God's Way', and a book to read during marriage, 'Strengthening Your Marriage', which are both written by Wayne Mack. I'm told these have many helpful questions, to help stimulate useful conversations in regards to marriage.