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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Marriage 101

Book Description:

The most important subject that the Bible speaks about is Christ and the Church. The Bible teaches that God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to be crucified for us, that we might be reconciled unto Him. It teaches that Christ loved us so much that He was willing to die on the cross and pay the expensive dowry, that we could be His bride. Therefore, if Christ and the Church is not only the main theme of the Bible but the most important truth in the Bible, then where does this place marriage? God patterned marriage after Christ and the Church. Therefore, Christ’s relationship to His Church shows us how important marriage is in the eyes of God.

My Review:

Ward, drawing from Ephesians 5, attempts to present some Biblical advice for successful marriages.  While I agree with most of his scriptural points, it was difficult to complete the 57 pages of this book due to the poor writing of the materials.

It is obvious that Ward has a deep love for God, and it should be obvious from the opening of chapter 1 (a long passage from Ephesians) that this is a book with a Christian perspective.  And if that doesn't give it away the introduction should. "This book must be read through the lens of two married Christians..."  That being said, Ward seems determined to remind you at every step.  For example variations of the phrase, "God blesses/blessed" occur 22 times in this short book, 11 of them in the first two chapters.

I found that his writing made me feel as if he had some serious issues with women - He states that husbands are, "less likely to be deceived by the devil" than their wives, quoting 1 Timothy 2:12-14 which simply states that Adam was not the one deceived in the Garden by the serpent, rather Eve was.  I am not sure how one situation can become ALL men are less like to be deceived but Ward jumps to that conclusion.  His primary point, that the husband is the head of the family, is absolutely, Biblically true.  However, his supporting example comes across as offensive.   In a later chapter discussing Moses' reluctance to circumcise his son, Ward seems to beat the reader over the head with his opinion that Moses wife was the reason he did not do so because she objected to the practice.  Although Ward does admit that "he (Moses) may have simply neglected doing what he knew to be right...:"  The point that he harps on the most (at one point  in 4 our of 5 consecutive sentences!)  is that Zipporah didn't like circumcision and Moses chose the wrong path as a result.  Again, his point in this chapter was valid (husbands can make wrong choices in an effort to appease/please their wives even when it goes against God), Ward instead seems to focus on how the wife did the leading and not the husbands responsibility as the head of the family should take precedence.

I also found Ward's writing style difficult to read.  He switches repeatedly (often in the same chapter) from first person to third person. For example, "The author also knows that.....Therefore this situation between Kenny and me...." At first I was unsure if Ward, when using "the author", was talking about himself or the author of the Bible passages he was discussing.  In some places I am still unsure.  But after several instances I came to the conclusion that he was indeed talking about himself.  Highly distracting.

The final two chapters are less Biblical advice about marriage.  Instead they are more about Wards successes and failures as a step-parent and as the husband of a previously married woman.  While there were a few good points (love your step-children and spend time with them, be patient with your spouse as he/she works through issues from a previous marriage) I again found the delivery to be tedious.

My final complaint, and it is really just a pet peeve, is the use of "done" in this book.  "...but you done a wonderful job," "And when we done certain things".  Wards Kentucky upbringing shines through despite his use of "unto" throughout the book.  (Does anyone still say 'unto"?)

The book has it's good points.  It is, in my opinion, biblically accurate, and the principles included will help your marriage if you implement them, but there are better ways to discover them than this book.  I wanted to like it, I really did - I just couldn't make myself do it.

The Berenstain Bears-God Bless Our Country

Book Description:

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”  Matthew 5:14

In the newest Berenstain Bear Living Lights 8x8 title, the glorious fourth has arrived and the Bear family is busy decorating with flags and bunting. Brother, Sister and Honey are anticipating the big parade and all the fireworks but aren’t really thinking about the true meaning of the day.

But Mama and Papa make sure the cubs know just how much Bear Country is blessed with a quick lesson about the first Fourth of July.

My Review:

What a great way to introduce the reason we celebrate the founding of our country! We have always been a fan of the Berenstain Bears and this only confirms that love. The gentle introduction to history, the fun activities listed at the end of the book and especially the discussion questions make this a book that will remain on our bookshelf for some time. This would be a wonderful addition to a preschool and elementary school classroom library.