For Better or for Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House
Stock No: WW342663
For Better or for Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House  -     By: Patrick Schwenk, Ruth Schwenk
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Zondervan / 2016 / Paperback

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For Better or for Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House

Zondervan / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

It's one thing to make promises when you're standing at the altar. It's quite another to honor those commitments when you're in the trenches raising kids! In For Better - OR - For Kids, Patrick & Ruth Schwenk offer practical advice on how not to be defeated by busy schedules, financial demands, limited time, and sleep deprivation. Learn to keep your romance strong!

Product Information

Title: For Better or for Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House
By: Patrick Schwenk, Ruth Schwenk
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 7.17 X 4.71 X 1.04 (inches)
Weight: 7 ounces
ISBN: 031034266X
ISBN-13: 9780310342663
Stock No: WW342663

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Publisher's Description

The transition from "married" to "married with children" can be tough. Before they know it, a once youthful and energetic married couple finds themselves in a minivan loaded with noisy kids and littered with Cheerios, crusty Sippy cups, banana peels, and missing library books. As much as you love your children and work hard to nurture and train them for the future, the challenges that come with parenthood can make the "for better or for worse" promise a hard one to honor.

For Better or For Kids will enable couples to:

  • Build a God-centered marriage instead of a Child-centered or Me-centered marriage
  • Avoid the dangers of spouse-neglect and self-neglect
  • Effectively communicate in the chaos
  • Explore ways to parent together as one team
  • Find balance in the busyness

For Better or For Kids is about remembering that even when you feel worn out, over-extended, and neglected, you promised to be a team. Marriage with kids may not always be what we expected, but it is good. We need to make a vow to love our spouse with kids in the house.

Author Bio

Patrick and Ruth Schwenk have dedicated their lives to local church ministry, as well as online ministry, founding the popular blogs, and, and also the brand-new podcast Rootlike Faith. Patrick Schwenk is a pastor of nearly twenty years and the coauthor of For Better or For Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House. Ruth Schwenk is a well-known blogger and author of The Better Mom, The Better Mom Devotional, and coauthor (with Karen Ehman) of Pressing Pause and Settle My Soul. Patrick and Ruth have been married for over twenty years and live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with their four children, two hamsters, and a loyal Labrador retriever. 

Editorial Reviews

If you have children at home, discussing marriage without examining the way kids impact your relationship is like trying to explain skiing without mentioning snow. Patrick and Ruth Schwenk address this often-overlooked aspect of marriage head-on in their fine book For Better or for Kids. I wish Lisa and I could have read this thoughtful look at how a married couple can grow closer as their kids grow older when our kids were young. -- Gary Thomas, Author of Sacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting

In a countercultural move, For Better or for Kids addresses an increasing epidemic in modern American homes---child-centered marriages. With both humor and vulnerability, Ruth and Patrick share how having children changed their marriage---and how learning to focus on each other first not only made them better spouses but also better parents. -- Erin Odom, creator of and upcoming author with HarperCollins Christian Publishing

Marriage vows can feel lyrical and distant when held up against the grit of real life. But in their practical and yet vision-inspiring book, For Better or for Kids, Patrick and Ruth Schwenk bridge the gap between what we once said that can feel “way back when” and what we’re living now. It’s a hope-giving book that offers strength within the pages. -- Sara Hagerty, author of Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

It’s refreshing to see a real couple dealing with real issues and provide real, “hands-on” advice! Their personal stories provide hope and direction for any weary parent! Patrick and Ruth Schwenk have done a great job encouraging the hearts and minds of parents everywhere, at any phase of life in “for better or for kids.” -- Clare Smith, writer/speaker/blogger at

For Better or for Kids will inspire---and prod---you to be a real team with your spouse! With humility and humor, Ruth and Patrick share the mistakes they made and the lessons they’ve learned while “loving your spouse with four kids in the house!” In their stories of busyness, unexpected tragedy, and the mundane of everyday parenting, they always come back to one thing: now that you’re parents, your marriage matters more, not less, because other people are counting on you. So cling to each other and get ready for the most exciting ride of your life! -- Sheila Wray Gregoire, blogger at and award-winning author of The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex

For Better or for Kids is a must-read for parents everywhere. Through highly relatable and compelling discussion, Ruth and Patrick Schwenk have created a valuable resource that is sure to encourage and equip the heart of every reader. -- Becky Thompson, author of Hope Unfolding and Love Unending, creator of Scissortail SILK

For Better or for Kids is an honest and pure resource that addresses that familiar and complicated space in marriage between expectation and reality. Patrick and Ruth provide real-life examples and practical steps that not only help close the gap but ultimately align our perspectives with God’s purpose and his truth. -- Wynter Pitts, founder & author, For Girls Like You magazine and devotionals

For Better or for Kids is a must-read for any husband and wife with kids! This is a beautiful resource that encourages the heart of those who are in the throes of parenting. No matter how long you have been married, no matter how old your kids are, this book is for you. -- Jennifer Smith, author of The Unveiled Wife and founder of

Patrick and Ruth Schwenk have an important message to all of us who think we can put our marriage on the back burner once kids come into the family picture. They remind us a good marriage is the key to a healthy family. They know it is not easy but also know it is God’s design to put your marriage first. I recommend this book to all the parents who forget what a date night is, fantasize about the days before kids, and who just need to rekindle the fire and commitment to a vibrant marriage in a frenetic season of life. Read this book with your spouse and enjoy this season for all its worth. -- Dr. Garrett Higbee, Executive Director of Biblical Soul are Ministries at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago

For Better or for Kids hooked me as soon as I saw the title. After all, who hasn’t struggled with the balance of all it takes to build a strong marriage---at the same time you’re trying to raise good kids? But here Patrick and Ruth Schwenk offer us so much wisdom and practical advice for how we can love our spouse well and, yes, even with kids in the house. -- Lisa Jacobson,

For Better or for Kids addresses a huge problem for many modern parents. We have put our kids before our marriages and it’s costing us dearly. Parenting requires teamwork, but a husband and wife aren’t just co-laborers; they’re lovers. Patrick and Ruth will help you keep the promises you made to your beloved before children came along. -- Arlene Pellicane, author of 31 Days to a Happy Husband and Growing Up Social

For Better or for Kids gracefully tackles most of the common challenges married couples face once children enter onto the scene. With transparency, humor, and practical wisdom, Pat and Ruth share a vital message throughout this book: marriages can still thrive with children in the house. This book is a must-read for any married couple with kids! -- Mike & Carlie Kercheval, cofounders of, coauthors of Learning to Speak Life Family Bible Study Guide.

After working with couples for over ten years now, I realize the vital need for good resources when a husband and wife welcome kids into their family. For Better or for Kids is the book I have been waiting for to recommend to couples as they transition from kidless married adults to mom and dad. In this book, the Schwenks provide biblical truth as they encourage parents to push through in the middle of the challenges (and blessings) of life with children. -- Scott Kedersha, Director of Premarital and Newly Married Ministries, Watermark Community Church,

Every marriage needs this important parenting book! Children can change things between a husband and wife---for better or worse! This book is a practical and spiritual guide for your marriage as you travel the parenting road. I highly recommend it! -- Kristen Welch, author of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

The pastoral wisdom of Pat and the visionary mothering heart of Ruth come together in these much-needed pages for all of us who find ourselves seeking to build our marriages while growing our families. The Schwenks lovingly show us, from within the trenches themselves, that one doesn’t have to happen to the detriment of the other. The practical wisdom in this book will meet marriages in the throes of parenting and encourage them to keep their eyes on the prize and press on. -- Ruth Chou Simons, mom of six boys, artist, writer, founder of

If you’re married with children, yet struggling to be a united team, I highly recommend For Better or for Kids. Patrick and Ruth do a fantastic job of offering biblical encouragement and practical tools that will help strengthen your “team us”! -- Ashleigh Slater, author of Team Us: Marriage Together

In a day when parenting can become just another task-list entry for young couples, Patrick and Ruth Schwenk offer a needed reality check in For Better or for Kids. Theirs is life-learned advice for making the life-changing transition from living like “married singles” to actually being “married with children.” With a been-there, learned- that, humorous and conversational style, they remind couples like them who are wondering, “What just happened?” that this is real life---marriage is unavoidably changed by good parenting, parenting is necessarily dependent on a good marriage, and it is all good by God’s design. -- Clay & Sally Clarkson, authors and speakers on Christian home and parenting, Whole Heart Ministries, Mom Heart Ministry,

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