There is no question about the need for a book like this – here is wise pastoral counsel for believers facing the break-up of their marriage. The first two chapters are a plea to those who are married to avoid divorce if at all possible. The central three chapters are full of practical advice for those who are divorced, especially in relating to members of the family. Chapters six and seven focus on the effect of divorce on children and a postscript points to the future where all our trials will be at an end.
This is a slim volume which can easily be read at one sitting. This may have an appeal but brevity might be its flaw. I would want to add to the author’s three basic reasons why divorce occurs. In coping with divorce, I would have expected help on feelings of rejection and also dealing with temptations arising from sexual desire.
More could have been said about practical ways in which churches might help those who struggle to cope without a spouse. And regarding children, the big issue of coming to terms with a step-parent is not adequately covered.
A more thorough editing might have ironed out the one or two areas where there is lack of clarity due to poor grammar or awkward phrasing. It might also have resolved which is the correct subtitle – ‘avoiding the pains of divorce’ on the cover, or ‘coping with the pains of divorce’ on the inside page.
I am sure this book will be a help to those who are suffering the anguish of a broken marriage and its aftermath. They will be grateful to Martin Holdt for thinking of them and addressing this sensitive issue with true pastoral concern. Having said that, those who are in the throes of marital difficulty require more than a book to read.