Book Reviews

The Marriage Challenge

The Marriage Challenge, 52 Conversations for a Better Marriage by James & Andrea Wood is a must add to your marriage book collection. It is a great idea, 52 chapters with questions and each chapter is a conversation to have with your spouse. The authors suggest setting aside one hour per week to read the chapter together, discuss the questions, and add any other questions or discussion you want to have. These 52 hours of investment in your marriage are of incalculable worth to your marriage.

I read the entire book on my Kindle in two days (remember, I am a therapist who reads these books to review them and consier them for recommendation) between other work and errands. The book is easy to read without being overly simplistic. The subject matter is relevant to all marriages and all stages. This book is likely to make it into the rotation of books I use in my own marriage and will join a selection of books I use as homework with couples I counsel.

You will notice in the book reviews that I do that there are only books I recommend. I read many books and many on marriage or relationships. Some are good, some are not. I only review and recommend those I believe to be good or helpful. I want to promote these books and their use. Therefore, if I do not like the book or think it to be helpful I do not give it exposure. I highly recommend The Marriage Challenge and encourage you to use it in building and maintaining your REAL marriage.

Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman

Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz will not take you long to read. It is 190 pages and they go quickly. This book is especially helpful for Christians who have been unfaithful. Mrs. Holtz helps those who have been unfaithful to their spouse recognize their unfaithfulness to God and helps them reestablish a right relationship with God so that they can reestablish their relationship with their spouse.

Mrs. Holtz describes the account of how she went from a faithful wife to an adulterous wife and back to a faithful restored relationship with her husband. She describes at length how she had not relied on God and came to realize how important it is to rely on God.

The book does not have much in the way of step-by-step information for those who are in an unfaithful situation. This is not the first book to read if you or your spouse have been unfaithful (read Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass first). However, this book is an important addition to the recovery process for anyone from a Christian background.

Whether you or your spouse has been unfaithful or not it is important for you to have a Faithfulness Plan. Plan on staying faithful and you are more likely to reach that goal.

Staying Together When an Affair Pulls You Apart

Steve Judah has written a clear, concise, and very helpful book on recovering from an affair. He uses the analogy of climbing a mountain to explain how one gets into and affair and then climbs down out of the affair. The detail of the book gives you what you need to do the work without weighing you down. Steve shows you that recovery is possible and leads you through the process.

Since reading the book I have seen Dr. Judah in person. I was impressed with his caring and respectful attitude. I am encouraged by his book and the work he is doing with Essential Disciplines. I believe his book and other work has made, and will continue to make a positive impact on people and communities. I recommend his book for use in your recovery journey.

Unfaithful – Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity

This book is written by Gary & Mona Shriver and it tells of their experience with infidelity. Both are Christians and the book relates how they worked through the infidelity with their faith as a basis. It is candid and realistic without being gory.

Mona’s story, as the faithful spouse, is especially helpful in describing the debilitating effects infidelity can have. Infidelity is hard on everyone and on some it is devastating. Mona helps you understand that you are not crazy and that you can work through the pain.

Gary’s story helps you understand that those who are unfaithful are in pain also. He takes responsibility and does what is right in repairing his marriage.

Gary and Mona now run Hope and Healing, a ministry of support groups for those recovering from infidelity. I recommend this book for those who need support in their recovery journey.

Make a Note to Love Your Spouse book is published

Many of you use the REAL love note tips each week. Now you can buy the book on how to Make a Note to Love Your Spouse. The book is available in the REAL Store, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powells. Be sure to get a copy for yourself and a copy to give to those friends of yours who are getting married. Another option is to go to the brick and mortar store and have them order it for you (it may catch the interest of the people in the store).

I would also appreciate it if you wrote a review of the book on the site from which you buy it.

Most of all, I would like you to use the book to motivate and inspire you in your making, writing, and delivering of REAL Love Notes.

The Blessing

The Blessing came out in 1986. I have owned it for a number of years and I have finally read it. The whole book is about blessing others in your life. I teach others that a basic principle in marriage (and life in general) is “speak nicely.” While this is part of blessing as described in the book it is only part.

The five elements of the blessing listed in the book are: 1) meaningful touch; 2) spoken words; 3) expressing high value; 4) picturing a special future; 5) an active commitment. Each of these are very important to your marriage and your other relationships.

I firmly believe that if you put into practice the concepts in The Blessing, that you will improve your marriage, and any other relationship in which you use the principles. Putting these principles into practice will take you a long way in the areas of encouraging and loving your spouse. I highly recommend the book.

Bless your spouse and you will bless your REAL Marriage.

The Power of Commitment

The Power of Commitment.? Scott M. Stanley.

Commitment is one of those things we talk about and yet don’t always understand very well. We know we need to be committed and yet we are not sure how to go about it.? Scott Stanley does a great job of explaining commitment, what it is and how it works. He then describes some myths that get in the way of commitment and how to overcome those myths.? He finishes the book by showing you how to increase your commitment in your marriage and reap the benefits of a committed marriage.? I recommend this book to all couples.

Keep your commitment to your spouse and your marriage strong and you will have a REAL Marriage.

Good To Great And The Social Sectors

Good To Great And The Social Sectors by Jim Collins is worth the hour or less it will takeyou to read it.? I bought and read it today and I believe it has good insights and thought stimulators for anyone in the service sector which includes churches, marriage & family ministries, and organizations that provide service of some kind.

In this monograph Collins outlines the Good to Great Framework – Concept Summary and challenges you to think about how your orgainzation can move from Good to Great. Read it so we can have more? great organizations helping people have a REAL Marriage.

Down Range to Iraq and Back

Down Range to Iraq and Back by Bridget C. Cantrell, Ph.D. & Chuck Dean.

This is a helpful book for the families of Soldiers returning from a combat zone whether it is Iraq or not. The Soldiers (Sailors, Marines, Airmen) can also benefit from reading this book. Make sure to read this book before your loved one returns from the combat zone so that you are prepared. Combine this information with briefings you receive from the military.

Separated By Duty, United in Love

Separated By Duty, United in Love by Shellie Vandevoorde.

I recommend this book for all military couples and I think it has something to say for those who have to spend much time apart for some other type of work. This books hits all of the major areas and gives practical suggestions for making the most of those areas. This book will stimulate your thinking and give you tools to make a plan for keeping your military marriage strong. I have already recommended it to the Family Readiness Group at my unit and will recommend to couples preparing for deployment.

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