Marriage bibliography: best books, part 1
Still, I hesitate to push any deep theological and worldviewish scholarship without offering equal doses of down to earth reading, helpful stuff that keeps our daily discipleship growing and ever-faithful. So, tonight, I will offer a bibliography that we here at Hearts & Minds was asked to put together for a church that is doing a little marriage retreat. This is what we often do---recommend stuff that hopefully is a bit more substantial than what you might find in the religious section of WalMart or the typical evangelical gift store chain. But, still, a book list that is servicable, helpful, a practical gift to those who need it. Maybe some of our heady BookNotes bloggers will want to check it out, knowing these resources could be very, very urgent to somebody you know. Maybe even those who are deep theologians...
Thanks for allowing us to share, here, the fruit of our work and the stuff we do. Enjoy.
I will break this up into two lists and add just a couple that were not on the orginal church retreat biblio. Make sure you look at 'em both, as both have really great titles listed. Thanks.
Marriage: Just a Piece of Paper? edited by Katherine Anderson, Don Browning, Brian Boyer (Eerdmans) $25.00 This remarkable companion to a PBS documentary last year (hosted by Cokie Roberts) has the narratives of interviewees talking about their lives and loves; theologians and social sciences add insight about the erosion of meaning in our frayed culture and how strong marriages are not only the concern of the far religious right. Gripping real live stories of real life Americans of a vast array of races, settings, values and opinions, woven into a very strong resource.
As For Me and My House: Crafting Your Marriage To Last Walter Wangerin (Nelson) $13.99 A very moving book laden with stories---some funny, some heartbreaking, all illustrating the importance of communication and forgiveness in a Christ-centered marriage. Powerful and enjoyable.
To Become One Chris Seay & Chad Karger (Relevant) $13.99 A hip, young book with this phrase on the cover: After ‘I Do’ the real journey begins. A very readable, relevant and insightful introduction that covers nearly every aspect of a marriage.
Intimate Allies Dan Allender & Tremper Longman (Tyndale) $12.99 Rediscovering God’s design for marriage and becoming soul mates for life, by exploring case studies of real couples—and what they learned by revisiting God’s intentions as spelled out in the first chapters of Genesis. Very helpful.
The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment To Your Mate Gary Chapman (Moody) $13.99 The sheer popularity of this indicates that it has touched a great nerve and met a real need. Chapman shows how different folks are “wired” to hear differently, and communication styles must match the needs of the listener. Very, very practical, insisting that good and effective communication is essential to really “speak the same language” and deeply express love, not just in words, but in appropriate actions.
The Intimate Mystery: Creating Strength and Beauty in Your Marriage Dan Allender & Tremper Longman (IVP) $15.00 A handsome, slim hardcover, this is a very readable and insightful study. You can also purchase a DVD to watch alongside the book, and a series of seven different small group (or couples) study guides around different topics from forgiveness to sexual intimacy, dreams and expectations to gender roles.
Marriage Made in Eden: A Pre-Modern Perspective for a Post-Christian World Alice Mathews and M. Gay Hubbard (Baker) $16.99 The subtitle shows that these authors are savvy about culture and the deeper worldview issues that frame our understandings. It is a profoundly Biblical book, very thoughtful and multi-faceted. Excellent.
Just Don’t Marry One: Interracial Dating, Marriage and Parenting edited by
George Yancey (Judson) $18.00 A rare and realistic look, written by a variety of racially diverse Christians as they share their experiences and faith and recommendations for effective interracial marriage and family.
Gender & Grace: Love, Work & Parenting in a Changing World Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (IVP) $18.00 Although not everyone will agree with this serious Christian scholar’s call to Biblical equality between men and women, her offering a Biblical framework for thinking about gender roles makes this an essential book to know and ponder.
Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring Andi Ashworth (Shaw) $10.99 Not exactly on marriage, but on crafting a home based on beauty, service and care-giving. Very, very insightful and a good edition to anyone’s library.
The Mystery of Marriage: Meditations on the Miracle Mike Mason (Multnomah) $12.99 This twentieth anniversary paperback is a glorious example of what it means not just to give people self-help advice, but to offer a deep and contemplative reflection on the spiritual meaning of our marriages. Well-written and a lovely example of the spirituality of ordinary. Highly recommended.
The Sacred Marriage and Devotions for the Sacred Marriage Gary Thomas (Zondervan) $12.99 and $14.99 Gary is a fine writer, a prayerful contemplative, but not quiet as mysterious as Mason (see above.) He tells wonderful stories, makes practical suggestions, but is always rooted in a deep awareness of the call to holiness and spirituality in marriage. The book is superb; the devotional includes a year’s worth of new material, more stories, and wise meditations on Scripture. See also his similarly done Sacred Parenting and Devotions for Sacred Parenting.
Faith Tango: A Liberating Approach to Spiritual Growth in Marriage Carolyn & Craig Williford (Waterbrook) $10.99 We certainly don’t mean to suggest that praying together or sharing a devotional life isn’t helpful, but these authors believe that many suffer from unnecessary guilt or frustration about failed attempts to do these activities with their spouse. They offer an alternative to traditional practices, inviting a pattern of spiritual growth that really works.
to be continued...
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