Compromise is a common refrain in response to questions about what makes a marriage last, but new books from religion and spiritual editors take a more modern, less clichÃ© approach to sacred marriage. A happy marriage has more to do with spouses choosing each other’s successes than constant happiness or endless sacrifice, write Gail Song Bantum and Brian Bantum in Choose us: marriage and mutual fulfillment in a world of difference (Brazos, March 2022). In the book, the Bantums share stories aimed at building relationships that reflect the kingdom of God by building on their multiracial marriage as well as their ministry career. Gail is the senior pastor of Quest Church in Seattle while Brian is a writer and teacher. of Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, on the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois. Choose us aims to help readers find reciprocity in marriage by âexploring your own story; to see the other as he is, even as he changes; and be flexible and creative in discovering how those differences and stories come to life in new ways when they come together, âaccording to the publisher.
Katelyn Beaty, chief acquisitions editor at Brazos, notes that Choose us highlights long-standing systems of inequality and division and, subsequently, the differences that emerge across race, gender and class. âThese differences affect entire nations and communities, but they can also shape individual relationships,â she says. âThe Bantu are open to struggle with their different ethnic origins, upbringing and different experiences in the church due to their gender. And by openly wrestling with them in this book, they provide a model for how other couples can do the same.
According to Beaty, healthy and supportive marriages can also have a beneficial effect on those around them. âWhen marriages prosper, entire communities can also prosper,â she says. âThey offer a vision of covenant love and God’s self-sacrifice to a watching world. “
Lou Holtz, former head football coach at the University of Notre Dame, also gives couples permission to accept the differences of A Life of Love: A Game Plan for Marriage and Family Life (Ave Maria, January 2022). The author of Victories, defeats and lessons writes: âYour partner doesn’t have to be exactly the same as you. You don’t have to have the same route. Either of you may be shy; the other can be outgoing. One of you can be beautiful on the outside and the other relatively simple.
Holtz’s wife of 59 years, Beth, was originally a co-author of A life of love, but she died on June 30, 2020, following a long illness. The book, which features stories from the lives of the Holtzes that reflect their faith in God as well as a commitment to their four children, was written in memory of Beth. âIf you share core values ââlike honesty, trust and a commitment to excellence, and if you truly love and care about each other, you will have a wonderful life together,â Holtz writes. “This is what happened to me.”
Mike Amodei, Curriculum Editor at Ave Maria Press, wants readers of A life of love recognize that intentionality is essential when it comes to both a good marriage and raising productive children. âIn spite of any activity, time must be shared between spouses, and the personality and interests of each child must be recognized and respected,â he says. “Lou Holtz points out that loving good takes planning and execution.”
Make it work
Several titles look at the effort required to maintain a healthy marriage. Today’s writers are discovering new ways to stay in touch with their spouse, and they share their stories, their warts and all.
Ashley Petrone, creator of the design blog Arrows and bow, details personal stories of struggle and success in Designed to last: our journey to building an intentional home, growing in faith and finding joy in the middle ground (Tyndale, April 2022), co-authored with her husband, Dino Petrone. With over 664,000 Instagram followers, the husband and wife team is known to get engaged after just three weeks, practice celibacy before getting married, and move into an RV after the birth of three of their four children. Their debut book will bring together both new and fan favorite stories about their relationship, according to the publisher.
âDesign is a big passion for me and I get so much satisfaction from encouraging others to design their homes with intention and to love the home they are in,â Ashley writes on her website. âMy goal here is to inspire you to live fully, to thrive in all aspects of life, including motherhood and marriage. And to find joy in between.
In The Rythm of Us: create the fulfilling wedding you’ve been dreaming of (Navpress, November), Christian spouses are called to resist the idea of ââbeing drawn in foolish directions, and they are advised to slow down and find time, both together and individually, to spend with Jesus. Authors Chris and Jenni Graebe, hosts of Live it well podcast, explore how taking risks and pursuing god-given dreams can strengthen a marriage. âWhat Jenni and I have learned about creating a successful marriage is that we won’t get there by accident,â Chris Graebe writes in the book. “We have to develop intentional rhythms that guide us in the life and marriage to which we aspire.”
Family comes first Celebrate at Home: 7 Decisions to Put Your Family Centered in a World Competing for Your Time, Attention and Identity (Tyndale, May 2022), by Marriage and Leadership Coaches Josh and Christi Straub. The husband and wife team examines how personal activities and occupations can cause hardship for families, and the book encourages readers to “give their families the best version of themselves instead of their leftovers,” according to the book. ‘editor.
The helping hand of faith
Religious and spiritual teachings can also be a source of hope and help for couples facing difficulties in marriage. Bible guides for those seeking a better life at home include Marriage in the form of the gospel: the grace for sinners to love as saints (Crossway, June 2022) by Chad and Emily Van Dixhoorn. The editor says the book assesses the Bible’s design for marriage, including what marriage looked like in the story of redemption, while encouraging readers that despite being sinners, “they are also saints, equipped by the power of God to create a healthy and loving marriage â. Each chapter features recommended Bible verses, prayer prompts, and discussion questions for those preparing to get married as well as those looking to strengthen their marriage. Grace is an absolute necessity for a successful Christian marriage, according to Todd Augustine, acquisition editor at Crossway.
âMany modern books on the Christian life recognize Christians as sinners, but in this short volume the authors remind readers that Christians are saints too,â Augustine says. âConnected to Christ our Savior, we are called and enabled by his grace to love others, including our spouse. It is this hermeneutics of grace that animates the book and helps Christians grow in grace as they seek to love one another in the bonds of holy marriage.
For couples who have reached retirement age, as well as for those who work from home or run a business together, Spouse at home: rearranging our attitudes to make room for each other by Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby (Kregel, now available) discusses the irritation that can arise after “too much friendliness,” according to the editor. Using Bible lessons on peace, the book offers partners the opportunity to coexist at home without exhausting themselves.
Some marriage challenges are more common than others, such as communication breakdowns and stress, but Chad Robichaux and Adam Davis specifically address issues related to mental health, military life and more. Fight for us: regain the marriage that God wants for you (Nelson, February 2022). The book follows Robichaux’s deployment to Afghanistan as a Marine and subsequent experiences with severe PTSD. On the verge of suicide, Robichaux received support from his wife’s pastor, Davis, and here the couple share their five principles for developing a “never give up, never leave mentality that every relationship needs,” according to the editor.
And finally, aimed at younger generations who are considering marriage, children and the rest of their future, The power of place: choosing stability in a time without roots (Nelson, Oct.), Teaching Pastor Daniel Grothe, takes a critical look at the âhypermobility and uncommitted wanderingâ associated with modern life, according to the editor. In the book, Grothe argues that settling down and building a stable home is the key not only to a rich family life, but also friendships, community, and purpose.
âIn a world of increasing mobility – now both amplified and restricted by the pandemic – Grothe speaks about the old and often overlooked spiritual discipline of staying put,â says Tim Paulson, vice president and editor of Nelson. “This is the spiritual medicine we all need.”
A version of this article appeared in the 10/25/2021 issue of Editors Weekly under the title: A better future, together