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Now You're Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage
B & H Publishing Group / 2007 / Paperback
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Now You're Speaking My Language encourages husbands and wives to offer steadfast loyalty, forgiveness, empathy, and commitment to resolving conflict, thus encouraging each other in spiritual growth. Chapman shows how communication and intimacy are key points in developing a successful marriage by focusing on these principles:
This especially popular book from the multimillion-selling author encourages husbands and wives to offer steadfast loyalty, forgiveness, empathy, and commitment to resolving conflict, thus encouraging each other in spiritual growth.
"As Christians, we know that life's ultimate meaning is to be found in relationships: first, a relationship with God, and, second, with people. On the human level, the marriage relationship is designed by God to be the most intimate....Yet some of us are pursuing activities that have little to do with building marriage and family relationships" (p. 120).
Building the marriage relationship is the main purpose of Gary Chapman's Now You're Speaking my Language, the paperback edition of the 2004 Gold Medallion winning Covenant Marriage.
In his introduction Chapman, the author of the Five Love Languages series, lists seven goals for this book. He wants to meet needs:
"for clear, biblically-based principles for building a Christian marriage" (p. 4)
"for individuality within the marriage" (p. 4) "to understand that life is more than having a good marriage" (p. 4)
"to discover biblical principles for handling conflict, anger, and misunderstandings, and to learn skills in applying these principles" (p. 5)
"to understand the positive, biblical view of human sexuality" (p. 5)
"for a definition of love that is biblical rather than secular" (p. 5)
"to develop patterns of communication that can build intimacy and lead to ministry" (p. 5)
He succeeds admirably in meeting most of his goals through discussing communication, servanthood in a Covenant marriage, self-awareness, self-revelation, establishing goals and priorities as a couple, dealing with differences, defensiveness, and intimacy. He breaks intimacy into chapters covering emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and sexual intimacy.
Using anecdotes from his life and ministry, he writes a helpful and practical guide which goes to the heart of the problems in marriage. Most of the chapters are useful and encouraging. However, I found his discussion on covenant marriage under the point of unconditional promises an exercise in verbal gymnastics. Chapman opens sentences in this section with such phrases as "At first sight, some... (p. 47) and "It may appear..." (p. 48).
His chapters on intimacy are excellent. Many writers leave out the importance of intellectual intimacy, but Chapman handles it well. He has a great explanation of sexual intimacy, needs, and arousal patterns, and the disastrous problems of lust. He also explains how a couple can be spiritually intimate even when at different stages in their Christian growth.
A few of his suggestions did not seem that practical. He suggests in his chapter on emotional intimacy that, if a person becomes upset, he say something like, "If I had a negative emotion, is this a good time to share it?" (p. 195). Though I know a few people who could do this, most of us in the heat of "negative emotions" are too emotional to be intellectual enough to say this.
Also, I have some problems with his brief discussion on lifestyle, respect, and choice. Some lifestyles are much greater problems than others. If my husband chooses a lifestyle that includes drugs, adultery, or pornography, I'm not going to calmly say, "It hurts me to see you go against the teachings of Scripture. I know you will suffer the consequences of your choices, and that hurts me deeply because I love you so much. But I want you to know that I respect your right to make your own decisions" (p. 200). When we marry, we sign on for the consequences of our spouse's choices, and they sign on for ours. Those choices also bring consequences to the children, and some choices cannot be tolerated. Perhaps I'm overreaching in my understanding of the types of choices that Dr. Chapman means here, but we cannot respect choices that will injure the souls of our children, such as child abuse, or ourselves, such as wife swapping. Some choices break the covenant.
Overall, this is one of the best books I've read on marriage. I could recommend it to a couple considering marriage, a couple experiencing problems, or a pastor involved in marital counseling. My problems with the book are from small pieces of the book. On the whole, I consider the book very good. Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
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