Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Book Review: The Surprising Way to a Stronger Marriage by Michael & Amy Smalley

I have recently begun reviewing books for the Tyndale Blog Network. With my husband and I planning to enter full-time Christian service in the near future, I decided to read The Surprising Way to a Stronger Marriage by Michael and Amy Smalley. The single image on the front cover of a hand mirror aptly describes the book before you even pick it up. It is about taking personal responsibility in your marriage. No matter what kind of shape your marriage is in, you have the power to begin the process of changing it for the best. You cannot base your relationship solely on what your spouse does or does not do. It is your responsibility to change yourself into the spouse YOU should be.

My Thoughts
I was very pleased with the way the Smalleys have written this book. It is laid out in a very informal and straightforward style. I appreciate the fact that they present the material from both the husband's and wife's perspective in sharing personal stories and stories taken from their counseling experience. The material is presented in a step-by-step type process of things to begin working on in your marriage, which makes the change seem more easily achievable. Probably the best part about this book is the fact that all the material is based on what the Bible has to say - we are told to remove the beam out of our own eye before trying to remove the spec out of someone else's eye. God judges us by how we act and react not on how our spouse treats us. The book includes a study guide to help the reader change. It provides a challenge, key verse, and a few questions to ask yourself about the role you play as a spouse. The only downside to the study guide is that there is no space provided for you to write down your answers, thoughts, etc. I have a great marriage but was even challenged to make a few changes of my own. This book will be wonderful material for me to use now in my own marriage and in future ministry helping others. I would recommend this book to anyone struggling in their marriage or planning to counsel someone who is struggling.

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