How many books out there on improving your marriage, making your marriage work, understanding your spouse, etc? Innumerable right? I agree. Not that I’m an expert or anything, but IMHO, this one is the best that I’ve read. And I’ve read a lot.
Gary and Betsy Ricucci have been married around 30 years and have written an authentically transparent book (Crossway, 2006) to show you how to apply grace to your marriage in every area (from conflict to romance to sex) and how to make it work at every stage.
How did we use this book? E and I love going on road trips. Even before we were married we would go on day road trips together and just enjoy the conversation, adventuring to new places, and trying out the camera. Then we took our honeymoon – and we started reading this book on the 2500+ mile road trip. It started impacting our marriage then. This past weekend, as we ventured through VA for a belated birthday trip, we finished the last two chapters: romance and sex.
This book is written from both Gary and Betsy’s point of view which makes it a great couples book. It is conversational and made me laugh and cry many times. It was usually my job to read it aloud as E does most of the driving for us (what a blessing). At the end of each chapter there are 5-10 questions that you can use to highlight some discussion starters. We didn’t have much trouble finding topics that we needed to discuss from the chapter, but these questions were helpful and might be helpful for the less inquisitive/conversational type.
This book is based on grace: that is what I love. It is sound in its theology, but it is more practical than theological. I like both. There are fabulous books out there on marriage that give a theological firm foundation for it which are needed. But, at every stage of marriage you need practical advice. Gary and Betsy would be ones that I would want to have a wknd retreat with…to learn from their wisdom.
“We have to be not only perfectly willing to acknowledge we may be wrong but eager to have it lovingly pointed out to us when we are.” (pg 38). I am growing in this area. Even yesterday I was sure a song was written by Margaret Becker and it was indeed written by Margaret Clarkson. My husband lovingly looked at me with a confused look and I was adament…but he was right. He didn’t gloat or boast or put me down because I was wrong. I apologized and we laughed about it.
“What goes on inside her mind and heart? What are her fears? Her dreams?” (pg 37) Husbands, it is important for you to learn this about your wives. Please.
“It is imperative that your spouse know that no other person or image enters your mind when romantic feelings flood your heart.” (pg 118) This even goes to thinking about television shows or movies that you’ve seen. Focus on your spouse. To paraphrase Mark Driscoll: your spouse is your definition of _____(beauty, intelligence, handsomeness, sexy, etc).
“True peace is far more than the absence of conflict.” (pg 106)
Use this book in quiet times together, a weekend retreat away to work on your marriage, date night each week (reach a chapter a week and it will take two months). What a great gift to Christian couples.
Photography by the talented Erica Soley Cooper in Old Salem, NC August 2011