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Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know Hardcover – June 17, 2004
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"As practical as it is profound, Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God may well be the best book on marriage I've ever read. I was motivated to love my wife more and broadened in my understanding of how loving my wife brings glory to God . . . this book is truly a treasure."
—Gary Thomas, Author, Sacred Marriage; The Beautiful Fight
"Men, if you are looking for a book that will give you a few easy tips for spicing up your sex life, look somewhere else. This book invites you instead to completely revolutionize your romantic relationship with your wife. It calls all of us to a more profound and deeply satisfying kind of countercultural sex than most of us have ever experienced."
—Bob Lepine, Co-Host, FamilyLife Today
"There's not a husband I know that won't benefit from this book. This is more than a book for the bedroom. It will train you to romance your wife and set you on a lifelong pursuit of winning her heart. Wives, do yourselves a favor and buy this book for your husbands!"
—Joshua Harris, Former Senior Pastor, Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, Maryland; author, Dug Down Deep
About the Author
C. J. Mahaney is the senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville. He has written, edited and contributed to numerous books, including Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology; Don't Waste Your Sports; and Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God. C. J. and his wife, Carolyn, are the parents of three married daughters and one son, and the happy grandparents to twelve grandchildren.
Carolyn Mahaney is a wife, mother, and homemaker. Having spent over thirty years as a pastor's wife, Carolyn has spoken to women in many churches and conferences. She is the author of Feminine Appeal, Girl Talk, Shopping for Time and True Beauty. She blogs with her daughters at GirlTalkHome.com, a blog focused on biblical womanhood. Carolyn and her husband, C. J., have four children and twelve grandchildren.
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Women might not see it as fast. Some do, but not all. Fortunately, Carolyn Mahaney has something at the end for Christian wives, but this book is mainly for the husbands. What does a Christian husband need to know?
If a guy picks up this book wanting a new technique in the bedroom or a new position to try, he's going to be disappointed. Nothing like that is in here at all. Could it be that it's simply not needed? Maybe instead of looking at new techniques and new positions, we need to look at new ways to love our wives and let great sex come from that.
If there is one main emphasis I think should be got from the book, it's something that Mahaney says regularly. Before you touch your wife's body, you must first touch her heart and mind. While there are high-drive wives, many are not. (And in the words of Mark Gungor, if any man is married to one, then I speak on behalf of all men when I say, we hate you.) A man can wonder endlessly what it can take to get his wife in the mood except forgetting the simplest way of all. Just be a good and loving husband.
That's why Mahaney recommends some time seriously studying your wife. Oh sure. We men have no problem studying the physical nature of our wives, but find out what makes them tick. What is it that they love? What are they scared of? What do they have great passion for? What size clothing do they wear? What is their favorite color?
For instance, from time to time I like to buy Allie flowers and if I do, I know I cannot go wrong with one thing. I will always try to find flowers that are orange because I know that orange is her favorite color. My Allie also knows to be very careful about saying some small thing that she wants around me. Odds are I will remember it and try to get it as soon as possible.
Does this take work? Yep. Will you screw up from time to time? Yep. Of course, there are other tips to help with that. Regular date nights are encouraged even if you live on a budget. You don't have to spend a lot of money or even any money in order to have a date night.
The book ends with a section from Mahaney's wife Carolyn that is a note to Christian wives. It hilariously begins with her at a women's conference and the question being asked, "What's the one thing you can do for your husband that encourages him the most." She knew the answer and yet apparently no one had said it. (Either they were incredibly dense or incredibly shy.) Finally, she just said, "Make love to him." There were several laughs and then knowing nods.
Carolyn does write about how important this is to a man above all else. A man will settle for a less than immaculate house and a gourmet dinner if it means that he gets that time of passion from his wife. While husbands need to learn about their wives, the reverse is true. Instead of just looking at him as a sex maniac, why not ask why your husband is this way? What does this mean to him? What does it mean when it's not given? Can you make your husband feel rejected? How will he be encouraged?
I follow a number of Christian marriage blogs and I regularly see men saying they just don't ask any more. They've been told no so many times that they don't bother. This is really a shame, especially when Paul tells us about not withholding ourselves from one another and both of us belonging to the other. I often tell wives that if they want a major attitude improvement in their husband and see him be more willing to help around the house, do this. Seduce him for two weeks. See what happens.
The Mahaneys have given us a book that is simple, but the advice is very good. Men need to learn again to touch their wife's heart before touching their body. Perhaps the lesson to the women would be the way to touch his heart IS to touch his body. Now if only both of you can do your part....
Deeper Waters Apologetics
I credit Mahaney for giving helpful and practical tips on romance that men need to read. They are almost insultingly basic. But, before the reader takes offense he should ask whether he is practicing what he claims to know very well.
Now, for some criticism. Something about the cutesy 120-page book that looks like a tiny chocolate box never fails to irk me. It's probably unfair to knock a book for doing what it intended to do, but I won't let that stop me. The idea is to get some NFL Sunday Ticket addict to pick up his first book in years and actually read it. I realize that. But, something is lost here. Important themes are brushed up against, but not developed. How can the mind become convinced with such a cursory treatment? And if the mind isn't convinced, will all those helpful tips be implemented?
So, that's my main gripe. I'll add something petty. The expression "making love" appears over and over. Fingernails on the chalkboard! For so many reasons, that phrase doesn't and can't work for us. I, for one, have trouble taking the author seriously when he's up on the stage jamming with Paul Rodgers and Bad Company. Go ahead and roll your eyes.
The final chapter of the book was written by Mahaney's wife, Carolyn. It is addressed to wives and is maybe the best and most informative chapter. While I'm not blown away, I would recommend this book to young husbands and those who need to get back to some basic principles of marriage.