Marriage that Works: God’s Way of Becoming Spiritual Soul Mates, Best Friends, and Passionate Lovers
By Chip Ingram
Nearly 12 years ago I was gifted with the ultimate do-over.
On June 30, 2007, I was joined together in marriage with my soul mate. I had given my life over to Christ just a few months prior to my nuptials and 2 days immediately following our wedding day I relocated from my hometown of Grand Rapids, MI to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to begin a new life with my new husband.
Like I said, it was the ultimate do-over – a fresh start with a new identity in Christ (which I had yet to fully grasp or discover), a new last name, and a new place of residency. It was as if I was a completely new person with a completely new life. My life was like a blank slate, if you will, and it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Most people either don’t know that or don’t piece that information together. I think about it quite often and while it was a beautiful gift to unwrap, it also came with a lot of hidden baggage that has slowly been opened, sorted, packed away to safe keeping, or tossed in the garbage can for good.
Almost 12 years later and I would say my marriage is both healthy and in a much better place than I had ever imagined it being. It hasn’t been easy and it didn’t happen overnight. It’s been more of a long, uphill, and adventurous climb that eventually evened out to a nice and pleasant stroll of eternal companionship. It has taken a lot of [mutual] hard work, commitment, dedication and intention. But the one thing that has made the biggest impact and has provided the most fruit and fulfillment for my marriage today has been prioritizing my personal relationship with God. Growing closer to God has certainly brought me closer to my spouse.
“The greatest thing you can ever do for your marriage is to live as a committed, passionate follower of Jesus.” ~ Chip Ingram, Marriage that Works (pg. 25)
So much of what I have learned in my marriage has been practically written out in the latest book I read, Marriage that Works: God’s Way of Becoming Spiritual Soul Mates, Best Friends, and Passionate Lovers by Chip Ingram.
This wasn’t my first experience reading Chip Ingram’s work so I knew what to expect from his writing style, personality, and biblical honesty. Chip is the real deal – a pastor for over 30 years who is both authentic and passionate about his personal walk with the Lord. He is not afraid to dive deep into scripture and tackle some of life’s difficult topics commended by current culture. As someone who has studied apologetics and considers himself a skeptic, his perspective is fresh, candid, and sincere.
Marriage that Works is geared towards married couples of all ages and in all seasons of life. I would definitely recommend this book for engaged couples as well as a supplement for discussion at premarital counseling. One negative in regards to the reader audience is that most of the content addresses a husband and wife along with their roles as a father and mother. So if you do not have children or if you have grown children, there is a sufficient amount of content that will not pertain directly to you but will still benefit you spiritually and relationally.
Some of the topics covered in Marriage that Works include:
- The biblical role of a man and a woman as designed by God (ref. Ephesians 5)
- The Marriage “Dance”: the roles of give and take, lead and follow between a husband and a wife as they partner together in the dance of life
- Love & Respect: each other’s insecurity & weakness is the other’s strength
- Submission: God tells wives to submit “not because the husband is inherently better or more important, and not because he is more capable or qualified, but because her submission to him builds him up and empowers him to lead.” (pg. 84)
- Biblical Manhood & Biblical Femininity: cultured has distorted and abused God’s original design for both men and women
Besides the negative review geared at the specific marital audience of couples with children, another concern I want to disclose is the whole idea of submission. While submission is rooted in God’s design and echoed in His Word, submission, femininity and the role of women in today’s culture is viewed quite differently than from how God intended. Chip is very productive, instructive, understanding and sensitive when covering the concept of submission. However, he does not tip-toe over the lines that blur Truth with what culture deems is true. The content in the submission sections may make you feel uncomfortable and the author is well aware of that.
I really enjoyed this book because of the diversity of topics and issues addressed. Likewise, I found even the most challenging, controversial and difficult chapters to be filled with so much grace, love and Truth. I’m not going to lie, as a woman who has been married for almost 12 years and who has 3 daughters, some of the women’s issues were hard to read but after allowing the information to marinate it all made sense. In fact, so much of the book made sense to me when related to my own marriage experience. I truly believe that applying the principles in this book will lead a married couple towards a marriage that not only works in this world, but thrives for the Kingdom.
We live in a culture that is anti-love and anti-marriage. When we actually apply and live out the Truth God provides to us we can completely live as He initially intended. Our roles and our purposes will be fulfilled and our relationships will experience a level of deepness and intimacy that is other-worldly. It’s everlasting and eternal. It’s passionate. It mingles our spiritual souls with the hearts of those we love. I don’t know about you but this is the type of love I live for as I seek to live a life that glorifies the Lord.
* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review