Best Marriage Book in Years

front cover 8Just got this email from a pastor in Colorado . . .

Read the book. Loved it. I like the personal touch with personal examples of failures and successes. Every marriage would be better if couples would follow the lead of this book. This is the best marriage book I’ve read in years as it is easy to read and every page is helpful. Marriage challenges are over come with love and commitment. What a joy to know there is help just a few pages away. Thank you Dr. Paul Linzey for your service to the country and to the kingdom of God.

Dr. Lafe Murray, Pastor, Author of Wisdom and Beyond

Five Out of Five Stars!

I just discovered this review of WisdomBuilt Biblical Principles of Marriage on Amazon.

divider-2461548 (2)

Based on sound biblical teaching, each turn of the page presents a new building block of understanding on which we can base a lifetime of marriage and companionship. Where was this book forty years ago? WisdomBuilt Biblical Principles of Marriage just became my default wedding gift for every couple about to join their lives together. I learned many lessons the hard way. I found myself nodding in agreement and stating “wish I’d known this back then… ” so many times while reading this book. Am married 21 years now, and found things I can apply to make our marriage even better.

Every marriage should start with this foundation.  Christian Author, J.D. Wininger

JD Wininger Photo Round

Struggle and Triumph

Rick Hendricks 1In plain, storytelling fashion, Paul provides a simple, but not simplistic, application of timeless Biblical principles to apply in your relationship. He shares his own experiences of struggle and triumph, letting you know none of this is easy, but it is accessible. Paul’s style is enjoyable, easy to read, and digest. I really appreciate his Discussion Starters at the end of each chapter to guide a couple’s deeper dive. As a Christian couple’s therapist, I highly recommend this to those who are contemplating marriage, are early in their marriage, or may be looking for ways to grow in their marriage.

Rick Hendricks, LMFC, Deputy District Director, North Atlantic District 1, Veterans Health Administration

Head of the House

Phone 2The phone rang on a Saturday afternoon.

“Hello,” I answered.

“Hello, I’d like to speak to the man of the house.”

“We don’t have one,” I stated matter-of-factly.

The caller didn’t know what to say, so after a few seconds, I hung up.

gender-1990154_1920Please understand. I am a man. The only man who lives in our house, by the way. Our three sons are grown and have homes of their own, so technically, I am “the” man of “the” house. But that’s not what the caller meant.

He wanted to talk to the person who had authority to make decisions, the person who didn’t have to check with someone else before spending a lot of money, the person who was in charge. And he assumed, as many do, that a woman can’t make decisions, can’t spend without permission, and can’t be in charge.

That’s what I objected to, and that is the kind of skewed gender-role relationship that we don’t have in our home. What a demeaning, unbiblical view of women and marriage!

dollar-660223_1920.pngI spoke with another caller, and what he was selling actually sounded like a good deal. But when he got to the point where he wanted to close the sale, I mentioned that I wasn’t going to make a decision on the spot, because I wanted to discuss it with my wife. I couldn’t believe his sarcastic response. “What’s the matter? Aren’t you the man of the house? Can’t you make a decision?”

I’m not sure what he thought when I said, “My wife and I respect each other enough to talk about major expenses, and we make shared decisions. So, go ahead and call someone else, someone who doesn’t understand how to build a good marriage, and try to bully him instead.”

The fact is, my wife and I both make decisions; we’re pretty good at it, too. We trust each other and support each other. We’re not perfect by any means, but our usual practice is to take time to talk together before making major decisions. It’s one of the ways we’ve been able to maintain unity. We value one another and what each other thinks and feels. It’s also a matter of courtesy. 

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, very few decisions have to be made today. Unity is more important than haste. In other words, a good decision at the expense of unity is a bad decision.

ID-100365439

Review by Author, Ken Murray

Ken Murray (2)Paul Linzey does a phenomenal job with “WisdomBuilt Biblical Principles of Marriage” by highlighting then discussing the most common and uncommon issues regarding marriage and relationships. I found myself thinking at times, “Hey, Paul is writing about ME!” I love his logic and reasoning he applies to marriage and relationship issues then applies Biblical passages, his wisdom gained over the years or a “been there done that” foundation to explain things. Paul takes the issues beyond just communication and throws you into real life situations and serves examples that you will undoubtedly feel you’re a part of in either your current relationship or recall those same situations from your previous failed relationships. I highly recommend you order your copy today. Open your eyes today, you cannot go wrong!

Foundation for Marriage

condo-2618421_1920In 2008, developers built some high-rise condos on the South Texas Coast. Ocean Tower was supposed to provide luxurious amenities and beautiful views, but it didn’t take long for the entire structure to begin to sink, and then tilt, with wide cracks in the concrete support system.

According to an old Turkish proverb, “A building without a foundation is soon demolished.” The foundation wasn’t prepared well enough, and the whole project had to be destroyed after more than seventy-five million dollars had been invested.

The famous, leaning bell tower in Pisa, Italy, on the other hand, stood straight for five years before the 14,500-ton structure began to sink. It managed to survive, but as we all know, there is a serious slant.

pisa-1247452_1920

In Matthew chapter seven, Jesus talks about the importance of a foundation for a home. But, just like in Proverbs 24:3-4, what he’s really talking about is people, and in this case, the need for an inner, spiritual foundation.

Couples who want their marriage to survive storms and shifting sands, need to make sure they have a foundation that will last a lifetime.

Several years ago, my wife and I did a short-term missions trip to Budapest, Hungary, teaching a three-week intensive class at the Hungarian Bible college, and preaching at churches in and around the city. Our hosts were a missionary family that allowed us to stay in an upstairs bedroom in their home.

Looking out a second-story window, we noticed the neighbors were building another home on their property, immediately behind the main house. The missionaries explained that it was customary for children to grow up and live on the same property as their parents. The new building was for their son, who was about to get married. The foundation was already in place, and every day, we came back to the house, looked out the window, and followed the progress. We watched the walls grow higher as new rows of bricks were added.

door-536461_1920

God’s plan for marriage is vastly different from the typical concept of marriage in the world today. Rather than a battle zone, marriage is designed to be peaceful. Rather than causing you pain, it can be a source of profound healing. Rather than a selfish coexistence, a good marriage is a loving couple coming together to help and encourage one another. Rather than a ball and chain, marriage liberates you to reach your goals and see your dreams come true. Rather than a hell, marriage can be a heaven on earth. And, rather than a temporary arrangement, marriage is best when it takes you through all phases of life . . . together.

For that to happen, however, the relationship has to be built on a solid foundation. It’s time to get started establishing a WisdomBuilt home that will last a lifetime.

Being Spiritual Together

Couple 3Early in our marriage, at a time when my wife and I were really busy, with three kids at home, finances that were really tight, and life was stressful, we didn’t know about the connection between spirituality and happiness in marriage. What we did know was that because of our circumstances, we got out of the habit of reading our Bibles, praying together, and taking time to worship together. We were totally unaware of the invisible toll it was taking.

We were snippy with each other, which isn’t usually the case. We didn’t have much patience. And, I was facing some strong sexual temptations. In the middle of this chapter of our lives, Linda said to me one day, “You know, we haven’t prayed together or done family devotions in several weeks. I wonder if that’s part of why we’re struggling.”

Bible2She was right. Almost as soon as we reinstated our spiritual disciplines, a sense of unity was restored, we got along better, and the other circumstances were much easier to handle.

Couples who are active in their spiritual life together have a much higher rate of marital success. The opposite is also true. Couples who don’t practice their faith together tend to fall apart when life gets tough or when there are sexual temptations. Pursuing faith together and maintaining a spiritual focus are crucial to growing a strong, close marriage.

For this reason, Kay Arthur teaches that your relationship with Christ is the glue that can bond a husband and wife together for life, the secret that can hold your marriage together.

Genesis 2:24 says when a man and a woman marry, they become one flesh. The emphasis is on physical intimacy or oneness. However, the unity the Lord wants couples to experience extends far beyond the physical dimension of the relationship. It includes intellectual and spiritual unity as well.

venn-diagram-41219_1280Humans are three-fold beings. We are physical, intellectual, and spiritual, and the Lord designed us to remain active in all three ways throughout our lives. To omit any one of these dimensions is to neglect a third of what life is all about. Some couples leave out two aspects of humanness in their marriage, focusing only on sex, disregarding the importance of the mind and the spirit. When they do this, they’re ignoring two-thirds of their potential for intimacy, meaning, and happiness together. They’re simply too shallow as a couple, and their marriage is headed for troubled waters, certain to crash against the rocks or run aground.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

The wisdom found in this proverb encourages you to acknowledge the Lord in every part of your life. This would include your career, your health, your finances, your lifestyle choices, and your relationships. It encompasses your education, the books you read, and the movies and shows you watch. And, it involves your marriage and family. In other words, if you want to know how to make your marriage work, it’s important to start with making sure you are being spiritual together.

Spirituality, is a gift from God, designed to help us succeed in marriage, which is the most important human relationship. The Bible says every perfect gift is from above. Spirituality is a gift designed by God to help us, to bring happiness and fulfillment, to draw us closer to him, and to one another as husband and wife. It’s one of the ways God empowers us, helps us make sense of the world, and make sense of our lives.

Having Fun Together as a Couple

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

Elegant Divider

Courtauld CafeThey liked each other as soon as they met, so they started dating. They did all kinds of fun things. They saw movies and went to concerts. They both liked to ski, loved the same music, and enjoyed talking about the Bible. They had fun together. They laughed often. They made life feel good for anyone who was around. It was obvious to them and their friends that they were meant to be together, so they got married. They were best friends.

After the wedding, they settled into their new life together, and the dating gradually stopped. Life got serious, and they forgot the importance of having fun together.

Almost every time I ask an engaged couple what drew them together and what they like about each other, invariably their answer is that they are best friends. They have fun together, they laugh together, and they want to be together all the time.

People are wired for fun, to enjoy life. We love to laugh, experience new things, and have adventures. We tend to gravitate toward people who are fun to be with, who want to do things we like to do. When a couple keeps on having fun together, their marriage tends to stay fresh, they continue to like each other, and they don’t have to look elsewhere for satisfaction. But when a couple stops having fun together, their marriage is headed for trouble.

Why is this the case? Simply because having fun is one of the top three major areas of fulfillment in human experience. People everywhere need spiritual fulfillment. There is a strong, almost universal desire for sexual fulfillment. And everyone needs to have fun in order to enjoy life. When you combine spirituality, sexuality, and fun, you create a life that is deeply satisfying and meaningful. When you do that in your marriage, the result is an amazing marriage and home life.

popcorn-1433326_1920Think back to the time just before you got married. Can you remember the things you did together? Who planned the dates? Where did you go? Did you have fun together?

While My wife and I were dating, we would go to a movie, spend an afternoon at a park, or go to the beach. We played miniature golf, hung out with friends, and played tennis. We played cards with her family, spent a lot of time talking, and went to church. One time, we had a midnight picnic with another couple. The event was planned by the ladies, and was a lot of fun.

After marriage, things begin to change. You finish school, look for jobs, have a few kids, get into debt, and life gets serious and heavy. It seems there’s no time or energy or interest in having fun anymore. Some couples just don’t have enough money.

It’s important, however, that you build fun into your lifestyle. You have to balance the seriousness and responsibility with lightheartedness and fun. You have to make time to play, and you need to do it together, not just with other people.

Kayak 4

This Book Is a Winner!

I highly recommend WisdomBuilt Biblical Principles of Marriage. This practical and readable volume will enrich and strengthen marriage relationships. What makes this such a relevant book is the way Paul integrates insights from current research and the best of psychological studies—underscoring the reality that “all truth is God’s truth.” This will be valuable for any couple to read and study together as they strive for a healthy relationship. And, for church leaders wanting a great small group resource to enhance the marriages in their congregations, this book is a winner!

RIch Guerra

Rich Guerra, Superintendent, SoCal Network, Assemblies of God