“The Complete Marriage Book: Collected Wisdom from Leading Marriage Experts” by David Stoop
One thing Laurie and I have enjoyed since before we were married is reading books together. Our marriage is our #1 ministry that we will have in this world, so we want to make sure that we are constantly seeking wisdom and reminding ourselves of the implications of the covenant God has established between us. We have a great marriage, but never want to make the mistake of feeling we’ve got everything “figured out”. There are many wonderful books on marriage and family from which we have greatly benefited in the last couple years.
This is not one of them. We were eager to read it when we got it, as several of the contributing authors (each chapter is written by a different “marriage expert”) have written books that we’ve enjoyed. With any compilation-style book, there are strong and weak chapters, so we were not surprised to discover that was the case with this book. To be fair, there are a couple chapters in this book (for instance, “The Spiritual Foundation for Marriage”) that are quite good. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the chapters (there are 25 in all) seem to vacillate between being shallow and being unbiblical.
For a book which claims to base its marital counsel on a Biblical foundation, there are a surprising number of chapters without a single reference to Scripture! Honestly, many of these chapters would feel right at home in the self-help section of your local secular bookstore. A few of them, such as the chapter on managing finances, give advice that is downright contrary to what God prescribes for us in His word! I’d quote an example of this, but we were so angry when we read the chapter that we took a scalpel and cut the chapter out of our book… oh well!
Anyway, do yourself a favor and pass on this. Instead, check out “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” (if you’re not yet married), “Sacred Marriage” (for an all-purpose marriage study), or “God, Marriage, and Family” (if you’re looking to go deep into God’s Word… review coming as soon as we’ve finished this one).