If you minister to people and listen to their stories for very long, you will discover there are many people whose lives were shattered by their parents’ divorce. For many, the pain is still so real you can almost touch it – even years later. The longer I live, the more I agree one of the most important gifts parents can give their children is for their own marriage to be strong.
Which is why I almost always jump at the chance to review a book on marriage. I want you to have every possible tool at your disposal to strengthen your marriage, not just for you and your spouse but also for your children. Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesn’t Happen by Accident by Sheila Wray Gregoire may just give you the help you need to change the dynamic in your marriage.
Gregoire suggests the reader adopt nine new ways about thinking about her spouse and her marriage that could strengthen almost any marriage. Written to women, it would be easy to dismiss this book as yet another Christian book counseling women to submit and smile to be a good Christian wife. To be fair, Gregoire does believe in submission but not in the way some Christian men have used the word to browbeat and even abuse their wives over the years.
The nine thoughts themselves are not particularly earth shattering in themselves. Instead it is the way they are presented and the actions Gregoire suggest wives take that make this book so special. I love that she inserts in many areas the “traditional” church-speak that is often given to wives when they are unhappy in their marriages. In a way that I believe honors God’s Words and is not disrespectful to those who think otherwise, the author makes a strong case for perhaps a more biblical view of the same scriptures.
I appreciate that although she makes a complete list of things to try at the end of each chapter, she also sprinkles each one throughout the chapter near its principle. It makes it easier to stop reading and try one new thing, rather than waiting until the end of a chapter and trying to attempt multiple new ideas simultaneously. When an action step (as she calls them) requires a little creativity, she often takes the time to stop and use some space to give multiple ideas to keep the reader from becoming stuck because a particular action item leaves them a little puzzled as to what exactly to do.
If you lean towards the more feminist side of Christianity, there may be a couple of times you feel yourself begin to get irritated. My advice is to continue reading. At times her conclusions don’t go where you might think they are headed. I would give the same advice to women who come from extremely conservative backgrounds. When she critiques something you have always been told, keep reading. You may find as I did that her scriptures and conclusions may be a lot more biblical than what you would think.
Honestly, I think every woman (and for most of these every man) should read and discuss her nine thoughts with their spouse or future spouse. From “I’m Not in Competition With My Spouse” to “My Husband Can’t Make Me Mad” there is a lot of great, biblical information for every person and every couple to think about, discuss and change. One nugget I particularly loved was her perspective on the problem of one spouse wanting to change the marriage and the other not being interested. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but the idea of a marriage achieving a sort of balance and when one party changes, the other must change in some way to regain the balance is pure genius. I think she is on to something and this book may just help you change a few things from your perspective that gives your marriage the shift it needs for your kids to live in a home with a happy marriage.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.