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Books that focus on singleness and sexuality , and family life are on separate pages.
Deciding to marry is one of life's most important
That's why parents are very concerned about keeping communication lines open with their children so that they may have an opportunity to help their children making the right marriage decision.
It's difficult to know sometimes which books are to
be read before marriage
and which afterwards. Parents should probably read them all to see which ones they
want to encourage their children to read,
but they will also discover truth that will give them more insight into the dynamics of their own marriage.
If you are considering marriage any time in the next few years, I hope you will read my article, Advice to Christian Brides to Be, as soon as possible, to prepare for a lasting marriage.
I have recently published What Happens When a Christian Marries a Non-Christian?
Elisabeth Elliot is one of the rare women who has experienced marriage and singleness from many perspectives. First there was her long friendship which turned into courtship and marriage with Jim Elliot. Both Elisabeth and Jim and been called to serve as missionaries to the Auca Indians in South America. Jim was killed by the Aucas, leaving Elisabeth a young widow with a one-year-old baby. She tells us about all this in Through Gates of Splendor.
After her husband's death, Elizabeth decided to remain with her daughter Valerie and continue working with the Quichua Indians in Ecuador, a work she and Jim had been involved in before they had contacted the Auca tribe. During the next two years, contacts continued with the Auca tribe, and when Valerie was four years old, in February, 1959, Rachel Saint (the widow of Nate Saint, who had died with Jim and three other missionaries), Elisabeth, and Valerie were able to move in with the tribe and live with the very family group which had killed the Nate and Jim. They were instrumental in bringing the men who had killed their husbands to Christ, and other members of the tribe were also converted.
In 1963 Elisabeth returned with Valerie to the United States, where she later married Addison H. Leitch, a professor of Philosophy and Religion at Tarkio College in Missouri. Later he became a professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. . Elisabeth was widowed once again when he died on September 18, 1973. She then became an Adjunct Professor at Gordon-Conwell and remained there until 1976. On December 21, 1977, she married Lars Gren, and she returned to Gordon-Conwell once again in 1979. She has written more books than I will be able to list on this page. More will be scattered throughout the rest of the web site in their proper categories. But I've chosen to put the biographical sketch here so that you will be assured that when this woman of God speaks on marriage and singleness, she's speaking from experience as a servant of God who's been there, done that. She has lived what she teaches. And that's why I think her books are valuable. She seeks to be faithful to the Bible's teaching in her life and in her books, and is a strong voice opposing those who try to confuse the roles of the sexes, blurring them together with no distinctions between the two. She counts it a privilege for women to be women and men, men.
For a lot more information on Elisabeth Elliot and a
chance to sample her writing on the Internet, please check out this link:
The Elisabeth Elliot Page
Let Me Be A Woman: Notes to My Daughter on the Meaning of Womanhood, by Elisabeth Elliot. Tyndale, mass market size paperback. Elisabeth Elliot wrote this book for her daughter Valerie a few weeks before Valerie's marriage.She wrote the book from her unique perspective as a woman married for the third time after losing two husbands through death. She breaks her book into 49 short chapters that can be read during a coffee break and pondered the rest of the day. She discusses the various aspects of being a Christian woman and a married Christian woman. She doesn't shy away from the controversial subjects such as the equality of women and submission to husbands, but she does portray the joy that can come in participating in God's plan for Christian marriage. What I like best is her portrayal of the realities of marriage. I am reminded that I am a sinner who is marrying a sinner, and sometimes we will both act like sinners. So, when a woman marries, she marries a sinner, a man, and a husband. Elliot puts flesh on each of these terms so that a woman considering marriage can get an idea of what's ahead in practice -- not just in theory. Elliot, who has been single for many periods of her life, also discussed the gift of singleness from the unique perspective of one who has been happily married. I think every woman who wants to please God by being all she was created to be, married or single, should read this book. $4.49-D
The Mark of a Man, Revell, trade paperback. A quote from page 13: "The world cries for men who are strong in conviction, strong to lead, to stand, to suffer." Elisabeth Elliot wrote this book about the qualities that mark such men, and challenges today's Christian young men to gladly "shoulder the burden of manliness in a time when to do so will often bring contempt." She examines the many characteristics of manhood that were exemplified in the life of Christ: responsibility, sacrifice, courage, obedience, initiative, forgiveness, and endurance. This is must reading for any young man, and makes a wonderful graduation gift. $8.91-D
Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control. Revell, trade paperback. In this book, Elisabeth Elliot emphasizes the need to commit daily to Christ all matters of the heart and to wait upon Him. She illustrates this discipline with the story of her own love for Jim Elliot to demonstrate that she is not asking others to do anything she was not willing and able, with God's grace, to do herself. Through Jim and Elisabeth's own letters, diaries, and recollections, she shares the temptations, difficulties, victories, and sacrifices of two young people whose commitment to Christ took priority over their love for each other.
In response to many questions she has received because of her previous books and at seminars, Elliot offers direction in such areas as whether singleness or marriage is best; putting God's desires ahead of personal desires; what men look for in a woman; virginity and chastity; the man's and woman's role in relationships; and dating.
I firmly believe every Christian young person of dating
age should get hold of this book and read it prayerfully.
Dating vs. Courtship by Paul Jehle. Heritage Institute Ministries, Plymouth Rock Foundation. Trade paper. 118 pages. This is a study manual for teenagers and their parents, in which the author documents the failure of today's dating game and models its replacement on Biblical analysis and principles. This book provides vision for Christian young people who want to build a new foundation of purity and love which will influence generations to come. Cat.#09425-16141. $10.95*
I Kissed Dating Goodbye, by Joshua Harris. Written by someone who used to play the dating game himself, this examines the 'seven habits of highly defective dating," and five new attitudes to help young people avoid it. Mr. Harris then discusses love and purity and how to get back on the right track if you've already messed up in this area. He also discusses what to tell people who don't understand why you don't' play the dating game and some principles to help guide couples from friendship to matrimony. $9.89-D
The Mystery of Marriage: As Iron Sharpens Iron, by Mike Mason. Forward by J.I. Packer. Multnomah, trade paper. If there were one book I'd advise anyone to read before (long before) taking marriage vows, this would be it. I was introduced to it by the wife of a husband/wife team who travel around the West counseling pastors and their wives in our denomination. There is no book I can think of, and I've read a lot of them, that gives a more accurate picture of the changes that take place when one marries. It discusses in depth the kind of adjustments the other books don't even mention. This book is especially relevant if you are a person who thrives on solitude or a fairly private person. Here's a sample from page 14 in the Prologue:
"...the conflict marriage uncovers is always...some version of this tension between the needs for dependence and for independence, between the urge toward loving cooperation and the opposite urge toward detachment, privacy, self-sufficiency. Even to people who have dreamed for years about getting married and who think of themselves as hating to be alone, marriage still cannot help but come as an invasion of privacy."
Mr. Mason not only tells us what marriage is really like, but also tells us how God uses those things in marriage that are hard to adjust to: otherness, submission, death. And he also discusses the topics we usually associate with marriage: love, intimacy, sex, vows. Whatever he's examining, he does it in a totally unique way that will have married people saying ,"Yes, marriage is like that." and unmarried people thinking, "Is that what marriage really is like?" To close, one more quote from p. 49:
"...when we get married, love itself comes to live with us. That thing we have been chasing ...has taken off all its clothes and stretched itself out on our very bed and announced that it is here to stay. ...That which was unapproachable becomes that which cannot be gotten rid of. What was glamorous and exciting seems to insist, now, on being the most ordinary thing in the world....Marriage faces us squarely with the problem of what to do with love once we have finally caught it."
There is no other book on marriage quite like this one. The edition I have in stock is out of print and I'm selling if for $11.69-D. When I sell out, the price will go up to that of the hardcover edition which is still in print: 15.29-D
The Myth of Romance: Marriage Choices that Last a Lifetime, by Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt. Bethany House, trade paper. The honest advice of these authors has helped thousands of couples get ready for marriage, and the failure rate among couples who have used their materials is very low. To build a successful marriage on God's foundations means rejecting some popular myths:
Romantic feelings are the best test in choosing a mate.
Physical and emotional attraction can measure a relationship's intimacy.
Living together is a good compatibility check.
God will protect you from painful consequences of bad choices.
This book is meant to help young people prepare for Christian marriage when they aren't even seeing someone special yet. It focuses on helping people build the relational skills that make marriage work. So, even if you're already married, the book has value. I recommend this to anyone old enough to be thinking of marriage --even if marriage is a long way off in time. It helps people stop trying to find the right person and instead helps them become the right person.) Now out of print. We have one copy available for $15.00*
Should I Get Married? by M. Blaine Smith. This is one of the most helpful and balanced books I've read on how to know whether to get married at all and whether to marry a specific person. It discusses many preconceived ideas prevalent in evangelical Christian churches about how one should find a partner or know if a person is God's chosen mate. Mr. Smith helps couples think through the following questions:
Are the two of you compatible?
Are your expectations realistic?
Should dating be part of the courtship process?
What if one of you has been divorced?
How can you deal with the fear of commitment in yourself or your partner?
How can you find God's will in the area of marriage?
I highly recommend that people who are thinking of marriage someday should read this book before they start the courtship or dating process. This is a newly revised and updated edition from InterVarsity Press, 2000. Trade paper, 202 pages. Cat. #IV-22712. $10.79-D
What if I Married the Wrong Person? Help and Hope on the Question Nearly Every Couple Asks by Dr. Richard Matteson and Janis Harris. This book is for any couple who fears they made a big mistake on their wedding day. Read it, practice the exercises suggested, and you will change how you see yourself, your spouse, and your marriage. There is hope. Your marriage can be redeemed. This book will help you see how. Bethany House, trade paper. 250 pages. Cat. #BH-6643. $8.99-D
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