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Letters to a Romantic: On Engagement
Sean Perron & Spencer Harmon
In short, conversational chapters, Biblical counselor Sean Perron and Pastor Spencer Harmon offer advice to engaged couples. Chapters cover practical matters such as how much to spend on a ring and deciding which church to attend. The authors write with warmth and wisdom, following the same format as their previous book, Letters to a Romantic: On Dating. They are quick to share from their own experiences but just as quick to distinguish between personal advice and Scriptural wisdom. This book would make a great gift to a newly engaged couple.
Ready or Knot? 12 Conversations Every Couple Needs to Have Before Marriage
Many couples could avoid future divorce by taking time to discuss their differences before marriage, writes Kedersha, the director of marriage ministry at Watermark Community Church in Dallas. Chapters include stories of couples and how particular decisions affected their marriages. Kedersha also gives big-picture tips and discussion questions. The book covers important topics—money, communication, and sexual purity—in a general way and could be helpful for a couple thinking through these things for the first time. But those who’ve grown up in church will find little new or challenging in its pages.
Catching Foxes: A Gospel-Guided Journey to Marriage
Henderson, a Biblical counselor and pastor, helps couples manage their expectations as they prepare for marriage. He begins with the Biblical picture of marriage, then moves to how that looks in real life. Topics include the roles of husbands and wives, conflict, communication, sex, and finances. He builds these upon a careful foundation of the glory of God, the centrality of the gospel, and inner workings of the heart. The emphasis is more on concepts and theology rather than the practical side of marriage, and while it can be redundant, the content is solid. Discussion questions for couples included.
Defending Your Marriage: The Reality of Spiritual Battle
Muehlhoff reminds us that the devil targets marriages for spiritual warfare. He uses interesting examples and applications but doesn’t always back up his statements with Scripture, leaving room for some disagreement with his assertions. In Chapter 3, “How Can I Tell if This Is Spiritual Warfare?,” his answers include “no longer believing the best about God” alongside “violent dreams.” As sources, Muehlhoff cites friends and psychologists as well as Scripture. This book can help a couple realize the presence of spiritual warfare in marriage, but they should discern experiential advice from Biblical counsel.
Counsel for Couples: A Biblical and Practical Guide for Marriage Counseling is written for pastors counseling married couples, but couples who read and apply it could improve their marriage before issues arise. Starting in the first chapter, author Jonathan Holmes reminds pastors that they are counselors and the Bible contains all they need to do faithful marriage counseling. Holmes discusses practical questions, such as how much time a pastor should spend on counseling versus other duties, then goes into a theological foundation. Next he moves to the basics of counseling (how to begin, when to end, what to do when stuck). Finally, he goes through some common marriage issues and a Biblical response to each. Holmes gets wordy and each chapter gives lots of information, but the format is readable and he includes plenty of illustrative stories. This book is a great resource for new pastors or for veteran counselors who want a refresher on the basics and a good reference guide. —C.K.