Book Review: Valentine’s Day Library Reviews

love is a wayBook: Love as a Way of Life Devotional

Author: Dr. Gary Chapman

Summary: In his book Love As a Way of Life, best-selling author Gary Chapman shows readers how to cultivate a new lifestyle built around the seven characteristics of authentic love. Now in a companion devotional, he provides ninety inspirational readings to help Christians consistently live out the characteristics of love in every relationship. Each devotional entry showcases biblical truths that guide a life of love, offering fresh insight and practical guidance in how to make love a lasting habit. Over the course of three months, readers will learn to follow God’s lead as they practice the characteristics of a loving person: kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generosity, and honesty.  The Love As a Way of Life Devotional makes an ideal gift for the holidays or for any special occasion. Couples, parents, new graduates, and anyone celebrating a milestone in life will welcome this inspiring daily guide to richer, more satisfying relationships.

Review: The Love As A Way of Life Devotional by Gary Chapman and Elisa Stanford (Review by Laurie Borden)

When I picked up this book, I mistakenly thought that it was a “marriage” devotional.  Although it is not specifically intended for marriage, its principles are certainly true in marriage as well as in any other relationship.  Based on seven distinguishing characteristics of a loving person, the authors focus on each characteristic for a total of twelve daily devotionals.  With each devotional being only 2-4 paragraphs in length, their brevity makes them easily readable in our busy lifestyles.  Although they are short, each devotional closes with a prayer, a thought, or a suggested action step, which help the reader take the next step to apply the devotional in their lives.  I particularly liked that the authors began the book with devotionals emphasizing that true love is only found in a relationship with Christ and ended the book with devotionals emphasizing that only His grace enables us to extend these characteristics of true love to others.

Book: I Do AgainI do Again

Author: Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs

Summary: With their professional success and adorable twin daughters, Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs looked like the perfect couple. But their polished facade concealed a widening chasm between two people unable to connect on an intimate, soul-deep level.  After years of frustration, Cheryl’s desire for emotional fulfillment led to an affair and, finally, divorce. Yet, incredibly, seven years later, Jeff and Cheryl once again stood at the altar, promising to “love, honor, and cherish” one another. A new and vibrant love had risen out of the ashes of this family’s pain. I Do Again details the fascinating real-life story of a couple whose relationship seemed shattered beyond all hope until a spiritual awakening led them to reconsider their definitions of “happily ever after.” A riveting account of the power of prayer and redemption, this remarkable book offers renewed hope for even the most troubled marriages-and reveals why the rewards of restoration are well worth the wait.

Review: I Do Again by Cheryl & Jeff Scruggs (Review by Laurie Borden)

I enjoyed this couple’s hope-filled story of the restoration of their marriage.  An interesting aspect of the book is the way it allows each spouse to alternately share their perspective of the journey.  Hearing both sides of the story is an effective way to get a complete picture of the odds against them and of the power of God at work on their behalf.

The story begins in a place that many married people can identify with. One of the partners is dissatisfied with their marriage relationship.  In this case, the wife is feeling unfulfilled, while her husband has no idea there is a problem.  As often happens, the dissatisfied spouse finds herself involved in an emotional affair with someone who she believes does satisfy her emotional needs.  In a vain attempt to satisfy her emotional needs, the wife divorces her husband in order to pursue a relationship with this “soul mate”.  It is during the seven years following the divorce that their story changes from the expected outcome.  During this time, the wife encounters a powerful relationship with Jesus Christ.  As she spends time with him daily, she realizes that He alone can satisfy her emotional needs.  The book relates her journey towards wholeness in Christ and her complete surrender of her future to His care.  A few years after the divorce, she comes to realize that God intends to restore her marriage.

Unfortunately, her husband, who also has come to a renewed relationship with God, is afraid to trust her again.  The book records their separate journeys of faith and the miraculous power of God to not only restore their marriage but to allow them to enjoy an incredibly fulfilling, God-honoring marriage relationship.

My favorite line in the book was in answer to the question of why their marriage works the second time when it didn’t work the first.  The answer is that the husband and wife each learned to take the focus off themselves.  I found the book to be a very interesting and fast read.  It is not a marriage how-to book, but simply one couple’s story of hope and faith, which would likely be encouraging to anyone who finds themselves in a position of a struggling marriage, a broken marriage, or even a divorced marriage.  The message of truth is that as long as neither spouse is remarried, it is never too late for God to work a miracle and restore a marriage.

Men & Women OnlyBook: For Couples Only Box Set

Author: Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

Summary: Since their debut, these revolutionary guides have sold well over a million copies, been translated into fifteen languages, and sparked much fascinating water-cooler conversation around the country. Now together in the For Couples Only boxed set, these books provide the perfect resource to help you understand what you never knew about the woman or man in your life. Each volume is based on input from more than a thousand members of the opposite sex-including an unprecedented nationwide survey and hundreds of personal interviews. This innovative approach yields candid and surprising answers about everything you don’t “get” about your significant other-even what that person deeply wishes you knew. It also produces simple but groundbreaking awareness of how you can best love and support the one who is most important to you. [Part of me wanted to make this paragraph past tense-yielded and produced-because of the first paragraph, but that took away some of the immediacy of what the books offer. I’ll leave that up to you.] So whether you are newly dating or have been married fifty years, get ready to know each other in a whole new way. The adventure is just beginning!

Review: For Men Only & For Women Only by Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn (Review by Jeff Borden)

Several months ago I had the opportunity to review the book For Young Men Only (see here). These volumes are the “adult” versions of that small book. I think, as adults, we often assume we have ourselves figured out. Sometimes these assumptions extend to our opposite gender counterparts and our spouses. Popular culture indicates a more realistic approach to this way of thinking is that we don’t really know as much as we think or would like to know. We are inundated with polls, surveys, and misdirection from the media and marketing at every turn. The end result of this sensory onslaught perpetuated by our consumer driven society is false perceptions and in many cases, just wrong data. What comes from these false perceptions and erroneous data is wrong responses and reactionary behavior. What if we had unbiased information? What if we really knew what the opposite sex thought instead of what society and marketing firms tell us?

While the information provided in the pages of For Men Only and For Women Only is only a microcosm of our society at large, I think it reveals a different perspective than what we are used to. I think the surveys are helpful in breaking us free from false ideologies about our opposite sex. The first steps toward healing and understanding is accurate information. For an eye-opening look at what our “opposites” are thinking, be sure to check out these offerings from the Feldhahns. You might be surprised at the conversation starters you’ll find in these books.

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