Sunday, November 07, 2010

Short Review: Marriage Matters

Winsome, hearty, clear, humorous, and thoroughly biblical, Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments is a realistic look at marriage and what it takes to truly improve our relationships.

Winston Smith starts with a theological foundation--our marriages aren't just about us, they are about God and His extraordinary love. Then he takes that gospel foundation and builds a strong household upon it. The second and third sections are not just theoretical but intensely practical, and he demonstrates all of the principles he is teaching through real-to-life illustrations from the perspectives of both the wife and the husband.

This is Smith's first full-length book, and, at times, it feels kind of like a textbook. After all, he is a seminary professor! But unlike most books on marriage, this is the book that I would want my "class" to read. A bonus for me is that I've had Smith as a teacher and taken the class from which this book arose. This is really good stuff.

Consider this exhortation from pages 36-37: "If your marriage is going to change, you need to change. It's easy to waste time waiting, hoping, perhaps insisting that your spouse change. Sadly, you have no power to make another person change. When you begin your quest for change by looking at yourself and your own need for change, then you can have hope. You have a responsibility and also the ability to change. But you can only do that in a lasting, meaningful way as you turn from your own idols and learn to live a life of true worship." Challenging and hope-giving in the same paragraph!

As a pastor, I've searched high and low for a "go-to book" on marriage--one that I could agree with nearly 100% of its counsel and one that was good to read by both the husband and the wife. Now I've found it. Highly recommended.