Marriage and Relationships

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Philippians 2:1-11

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God; did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

This is the best passage of scripture I have found to guide me in my relationships. Whether I’m working on my marriage, family relationships, friendships, or any other relationship, this short reading challenges me to be my best. Specifically, it challenges me to seek: unity, humility, service, obedience to God, and purpose. If you will regularly read these verses, and put them into practice, your relationships will be transformed!

“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

This classic inspirational short story shows marriage at its best – a husband and wife devoted to blessing each other with self-sacrificial love.  For both of them, their greatest joy comes not from receiving, but from giving joy to the other.  Read it, take it to heart, and let it change you as a spouse.

The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman

This is one of the most useful and practical books I have ever read on marriage and relationships. Find out the difference between your love language and your spouse’s love language. Discover how much better your relationship can be when you speak your spouse’s love language, and she/he does the same for you.

Every Man’s Battle” by Fred Stoeker and Stephen Arterburn

Every Christian man in America needs to read this one! These guys are extremely blunt and open in their very personal discussion about the problem of lust and pornography. The good news is, they are also very helpful and practical in how to win this battle and live according to God’s high standard: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5:3

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O” by Shel Silverstein

Don’t stop at the cover, thinking, “This is a children’s book!” Trust me, read it. It is a profound book about life, relationships, and the pursuit of fulfillment.

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last” and several other books by John Gottman

Based on the most in-depth, detailed, ongoing marriage research project ever undertaken (over 2,000 couples for over two decades). This author has earned the right to speak definitively on the topic. Not only is his work based on great research, but it is also very readable and practical. This book helps you recognize four attitude/behavior patterns that will doom a marriage, and includes numerous exercises, quizzes, tips, and techniques that will help you get your marriage on track and keep it growing in the right direction.

Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas

Thomas asks the powerful question, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” With a broad base of clear Biblical support, he answers this question in meaningful and practical ways that will likely transform and sanctify your whole approach to marriage. Read it with an open heart and a willingness to repent and grow. God will bless you for it!

Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Based on the key marriage passage from Ephesians 5 about wives and husbands, Dr. Eggerichs offers an excellent insight into the needs and expectations of men and women in marriage. He argues, rather effectively, that God’s command for men to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands is given because these are the primary needs of each spouse in marriage. It’s worth the price of the book just to see the contrast between “The Crazy Cycle,” “The Energizing Cycle,” and “The Rewarded Cycle.”

Sheet Music” by Kevin Leman

Best book I’ve ever read on sexuality! Solid Biblical foundation. Filled with great humor. Real language you can relate to. Both informative and challenging – so you can move to a greater level of sexual delight in your marriage. Read it and enjoy the results!

Christian Pleasure System” by Jacob & Carolyn Thomas

This Christian couple is committed to freeing other Christian married couples to enjoy the full extend of sexual bliss. Very informative and challenging book with tasteful graphic illustrations to help you understand the intricacies. My only disagreement with the book is their stance that anal sex is OK if both spouses are willing. (This is not a major emphasis of the book, by the way.) I believe it is inherently degrading. However, if you are looking to better educate yourself on sexual technique and mechanics, this is definitely the book for you.

Why You Do The Things You Do: The Secret To Healthy Relationships” by Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy

Based on the compelling priniciples of attachment theory, the authors offer tremendous insight into why so many people can stay so caught in unhealthy cycles in their marriages. They give very clear, practical guidance into how to establish a foundation of security in the relationship, so it can begin to thrive.

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