Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review // 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage

There are so many marriage books available to Christians that discerning which ones will be the most helpful has become quite the challenge. I recently had the opportunity to read 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage by Sheila Wray Gregoire. In the book, she takes addresses the following 9 thoughts:

1. My Husband is My Neighbor
2. My Husband Can't Make Me Mad
3. My Husband Was Not Put on This Earth to Make Me Happy
4. I Can't Mold My Husband Into My Image
5. I'm Not in Competition With My Husband
6. I'm Called to Be A Peacemaker, Not A Peacekeeper
7. Being One is More Important Than Being Right
8. Having Sex is Not The Same as Making Love
9. If I'm Not Careful, We'll Drift Apart

While I agree with Wray Gregoire's 9 thoughts overall, it was her deliberation on these thoughts that struck somewhat of a red flag with me. As a Christian, I believe it is important to filter resources, such as this one, through the lens of Scripture. While Wray Gregoire's book did include the use of Scripture, there were a few places where it is taken out of context and I strongly believe this is where we must be especially discerning.

One example of this is Wray Gregoire's use of the verse Micah 6:8 which states, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" In the book, the author tells women that this verse is a part of God's purpose for their relationships (p. 90). She expands on this by using the example of one woman whose husband was treating her in an unloving way. The woman would refuse to listen to her husband if he spoke rudely to her and refused intimacy with him if he was unrepentant for how he treated her.

The way this wife responded to her husband was actually encouraged because she was implementing justice in her marriage. I must question though how this wife is living out the Gospel in her marriage if she is responding this way. The Bible says that, ". . . Love covers all offenses. . .," and "love covers a multitude of sins." As believers, we are called to show grace to one another in light of the grace that God showed us when He sent His only son to live a perfect life on our behalf, become the atoning sacrifice for our sins and rise again so that we may be made right with God.

As women who follow Christ, shouldn't we be advocates for showering our husbands with the same abounding grace (Romans 5:20) that God has shown us through Christ? 

(Of course, there is wisdom to be applied here. If you are experiencing abuse within your marriage, you may need to seek the help of the police and the authority of your local church to address your spouse and walk alongside you in love and gentleness as you work toward a resolution.)

Additionally, the context of Micah 6:8 is not marriage or our relationships with each other, but God's relationship to His people, the Israelites. The tone of Micah 6:8, when read in context, is actually sarcastic because the Israelite's knew how they were supposed to be living as a response to God's deliverance and redemption of them, yet they were failing to walk in obedience. 

These are a few examples when, as believers, I can't over encourage y'all to be knowing Christ through His Word! 

Revelation 19:13 refers to Jesus and states, ". . . the name by which he is called is The Word of God," and John 1:14 tells us, ". . . the Word became flesh. . . "

If we want to know Him, we must know His Word! 

I don't think 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage is the worst book ever written or completely horrible. My tendency is skepticism and I'm not one to "throw the baby out with the bath water." However, it is not a resource I will be recommending as I love my sisters in Christ and desire that they know how they ought to do everything - including marriage - for God's glory as outlined in Scripture. 

9 Thoughts does include some practical tips that can be applied in marriage such as prioritizing your husband before your kids, getting a check up to maintain your health (at one point in her marriage, the author was feeling unusually tired and a blood test revealed she had anemia), and challenging yourself to go a week without saying anything critical about your husband.

These are all helpful ideas and while they encouraged me in my own marriage, I would admonish women interested in reading this book to consider what the Bible truly says about marriage and how it is has been designed to reflect Christ's relationship to His bride, the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

If you are looking for some solid marriage resources for yourself or for a Christian woman you know, I recommend the following:


Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of A Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney

Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner

Helper By Design by Elyse Fitzpatrick

The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace

The Fruitful Wife by Haley DiMarco

The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller (for men and women)

This Momentary Marriage by John Piper (for men and women - you can download this book as a free PDF here - all of Piper's books are free as PDFs!)


Programs: Marriage - Nancy Leigh Wolgemuth, Revive Our Hearts (encouraging programs for women in any season of life)


Equal Yet Different: Partners - Chris Mueller, Faith Bible Church Murrieta

Uncommon Love Series - Chris Mueller, Faith Bible Church Murrieta

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my review.


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