There are many books on marriage for Christians. You may wonder whether this or that one will really help your own marriage or someone else’s. However, this book is a gem and can be confidently given to any married or engaged couple.
At first glance, the book seems bitty, comprising 50 brief extracts from Christian sages, ranging from Ignatius of Antioch (died AD 107) to John Piper. Each extract is followed by a devotional comment from the authors, Plummer and Haste. But it works brilliantly.
With the extract on the left page and the comment on the right, you can read two pages a day for 50 days, on each occasion taking away a particular challenge or encouragement for your marriage.
For example, John Piper: ‘May the marriage-watching world be captivated by the covenant-keeping love of Christ’; followed by the comment, ‘Have you ever thought of your marriage as an acted out sermon? According to the Bible, your marriage is a declaration to the world about the relationship of Christ to his church’ (pp. 124-5).
Many different aspects of marriage are considered, e.g. the in-laws, mentoring young couples, ‘baggage’ brought into a marriage from earlier painful experiences, the immaturity of a spouse, the sexual relationship and temptations to unfaithfulness.
The book is a mine of helpful advice, rooted in Scripture. It is deep and thoughtful, yet in bite-sized chunks. As well as more spiritual comments, there is the more nitty-gritty, ‘Do not fight (with your wife)’ (John Chrysostom, AD 347-407); and the comment, ‘Your wife is not the problem … rather your pride and greed are so strong’ (p.30).
In these days, when marriage is under attack from all sides, we can benefit enormously from the wisdom of the ages given to us by those who walked closely with their Lord.