Marriage has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s not just that I’m celebrating fifteen years with my Hubby this year. It’s also that my oldest child turned eleven in March. I suddenly realize that he’s half grown, and he’s not far away from having feelings for girls, and I realize that in a few short years, he (and my other three) will be at the age to begin contemplating marriage. I wonder how I will counsel them and what I will do as they being to choose their marriage partners. So, when I received the opportunity to review Marry Wisely, Marry Well, I thought it could be a great resource to me in helping to prepare my children (and the children I teach) for marriage.
Ernie Baker has a testimony of a long and fruitful marriage, and he desires to help others do the same by helping them to prepare for marriage and to build their marriages on the right foundation. In this spirit, he divides his book into three sections.
In the first section, he begins by discussing wisdom and Christ as our foundation of wisdom. He discusses growing wiser about attraction by considering our idols along with our attractions. He explains that many marriages fail or do not flourish because they’re not built on the right foundation. He explains God’s design for marriage using the foundational scriptures in Genesis 1 & 2.
In the second section, he explains the first floor of marital preparation. The chapters deal with wise living during your single years. (Love this chapter because of the new insight I took into I Corinthians 7!) He also discusses the relationship skills and character traits required in the marital relationship. He writes about how to know when you’re ready for marriage using six qualities for women from Proverbs 31 and a composite view of scripture for the Biblical man. These are to be used for self-evaluation as well as spousal evaluation. He discusses one of the ultimate questions of marrying people. “How will I know the right person?” He also discusses different methods of finding a spouse and evaluates each of them in light of scripture.
The final section of the book is a simple chapter devoted to the result of building wisely and explains what it means to have a marriage that glorifies God.
I truly thought that this was an excellent book to help you or your child evaluate where they are in the spectrum of being prepared for relationships. There are many questions at the end of the chapter, including questions for evaluating a future spouse by. I also liked that this was a book about working on yourself, on your own readiness, and that the ultimate message of the book is that, if your satisfaction is not in Christ, you won’t find the satisfaction that you’re looking for in the marital relationship. That is a big message that I think young people need to hear over and over again. So many people are just waiting for the right person to “complete” them, and I think hearing that this is an unrealistic expectation is the best thing they can hear.
I love the evaluation of dating, courtship, online dating, and other spouse finding methods in relation to scripture. As a parent, it can be difficult to find the right Biblical mix for your teenagers without being overly legalistic. I like that Baker cuts through some of the arguments for and against each method by evaluating where it is adding to or taking away from scripture. I found this section very helpful.
All in all, I found this book to be a very helpful addition to our library, and it is one that I will refer to often as we continue into the years in which my children will begin to evaluate marriage and the relationships that they wish to have in the romantic sphere of life.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.