Christian, marriage, relationships

Love Lock

Authors: Rich Rollins and Marty Trammell
Publisher: Crosslink Publishing
Genre: Marriage / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-63357-158-7
Pages: 159
Price: $11.95

Authors’ website
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Marriage needs good communication to thrive, but we’re all flawed human beings, incapable of perfect behavior all the time. Love Lock helps couples correct some of the wrong patterns they’ve fallen into, as they navigate life together.

Eighteen chapters touch on specific problems in the categories of: I need to feel understood, I need to feel valued, I need to feel a part of you, I need to feel appreciated and cherished, I need to trust you, and I need more resolution, less conflict. Each short chapter addresses a problem and ends with an exercise to be completed together. The authors write from a Christian perspective, and Bible verses are provided to support their viewpoints on creating a happy marriage.

Maybe you’ve noticed the locks couples leave on bridges, declaring their unending devotion to each other, and you want a marriage like that for yourself. If so, Love Lock would be a great guide for both you and your spouse to follow.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Jewish, marriage, relationships, romance, spirituality

The Joy of Intimacy

Author: Manis Friedman with Ricardo Adler
Publisher: It’s Good to Know Publishing
Genre: Relationships / Spirituality
ISBN: 978-0-9862770-0-9
Pages: 216
Price: $14.00

Author’s website
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Today’s marriages are failing at an alarming rate. But what if we discovered the way to experience true intimacy with our life partner? In The Joy of Intimacy, Manis Friedman shares timeless Jewish wisdom in creating a meaningful and lasting relationship with our spouse.

Much of Friedman’s advice is based on orthodox Jewish teaching on marriage. These include proper modesty, relations only at certain times of the month, and an emphasis on creating a baby as a result of the marriage act. But Christians (and especially Catholics) would also relate to many of these concepts. God gifted the married couple with these pleasures, and He wants our marriage to be alive, fresh, and fulfilling. Following this advice would be the perfect start in growing closer to each other.

The Joy of Intimacy would be a great resource for all couples starting out in their marriages, as well as those who may have hit some snags along the way. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, marriage

Created for Connection: The “Hold Me Tight” Guide for Christian Couples

Authors: Dr. Sue Johnson with Kenneth Sanderfer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Christian / Marriage
ISBN: 978-0-316-30741-3
Pages: 336
Price: $26.00

Author’s website
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Couples in thriving marriages have learned how to communicate in ways that are loving and constructive. Rather than tearing each other down in arguments, they know how to address issues without attacking the other person. But for many of us, this skill isn’t something we know intuitively – we need to learn how to communicate with our partner.

In Created for Connection, Dr. Sue Johnson explores the conversations a couple can have that are designed to bring them closer together, rather than pulling them apart. When troubled times arrive – and they always do – these conversations will guide the couple through them in a way that will not only leave their relationship intact, but also strengthen it. In recognizing old communication patterns that aren’t working, they can then move to sharing their old hurts and expressing forgiveness, bringing them closer. Physical intimacy is also a key form of communication in keeping marriages healthy and vibrant.

Johnson provides numerous examples of couples’ conversations that take place over a variety of difficulties, and the reader gets a good sense of how to apply these ideas to his or her own situation. Even if your marriage is not struggling, this book can help you make it even better. I highly recommend Created for Connection.

marriage, memoir

The Natural Laws of Good Luck

Author: Ellen Graf
Publisher: Trumpeter Books
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 978-1-59030-833-2
Pages: 272
Price: $15.95

Author’s website
Zhong-hua’s brush paintings
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Ellen is forty-six, divorced and lonely, so she doesn’t resist when her Chinese friend suggests maybe Ellen and her brother, Zhong-hua, might like each other. But first Ellen must travel to China to meet him – a man who speaks almost no English. Surprisingly, Ellen and Zhong-hua get along and agree to marry. After processing his immigration paperwork, he finally arrives in upstate New York, where they live in Ellen’s house. Now the fun begins, as Ellen realizes Zhong-hua operates by a whole different cultural standard than she’s used to.

Zhong-hua believes that a man doesn’t need to let his wife know where he is going, and disappears frequently. This might not be such a bad thing, ordinarily, except Zhong-hua gets lost easily, and still doesn’t speak much English. He also doesn’t think it’s necessary to apologize, offer greetings, or do any of the other niceties Ellen expects from a husband. In fact, bumping into her is considered a form of affection.

The house falls into disrepair, several cars and various pieces of machinery meet their ends, and both of their old dogs grow feeble. But when Zhong-hua’s health takes a scary turn, these two mismatched lovers pull together to try to make the best of things.

Although this memoir is touted as being humorous, I found The Natural Laws of Good Luck incredibly touching. Ellen shows remarkable patience with her culturally inept husband, and gives in to his many demands with good grace. Living in a foreign country is hard on Zhong-hua, and Ellen allows for his comfort, even if at times it conflicts with her own. Both strive to be loving and make their marriage work, and it’s encouraging to see them look past their shortcomings to see the good in each other. I highly recommend this wonderfully sweet love story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, marriage

Discovering Your Amazing Marriage

Authors: Jason & Debby Coleman
Publisher: Seraphina Press
Genre: Marriage / Christian
ISBN: 978-0984196531
Pages: 186
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
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Do you have an amazing marriage? If you don’t, would you like to have one? After twenty years together, Jason and Debby Coleman have discovered how to keep their marriage going strong, and they want to share their ideas with us.

Discovering Your Amazing Marriage is written from a Christian perspective with a Biblical view of every topic. These include communication, forgiveness, resolving conflict, protecting against infidelity, and agreeing in advance that no matter what, you’ll stay married.

Jason and Debby share some of their struggles and how they learned how to handle them while making their marriage even better. And they share how God views marriage, and what He expects from us once we take our vows.

The advice the Colemans share is sound, and for the most part, healthy for a marriage. But in the area of infidelity, I felt some of their advice was fear-based, as a result of their own infidelity issues, and a strong marriage didn’t need such safeguards.

Even if you’re not a Christian, the Colemans believe you can benefit from this book. Just skip over the Biblical perspective sections if they don’t pertain to you. But don’t just read it – put these ideas into practice, and you can’t help but have an amazing marriage, too.

Reviewer: Alice Berger