5 Stars Out Of 5
Presents a Biblical View of Marriage
March 21, 2014
In Your Marriage by God's Design, authors Scott and Julie Stiegemeyer boldly go where not many dare to go, addressing and upholding the countercultural and biblical ideal of marriage. Basically, the authors encourage readers to "let God's Word shape your perspectives on love and family" rather than giving in to cultural influences.
Your Marriage by God's Design includes four chapters: Build, Love, Protect, and Teach. The authors go back to the beginning account in Genesis and build a foundation for biblical marriage, encouraging readers to return to their roots. They also exhort readers to return to a biblical definition of love, including a look at what love is and isn't. The authors deal with all sorts of issues, including homosexuality, cohabitation, protecting a marriage by setting boundaries, divorce, sexuality, and family planning. The Stiegemeyers say, "The purpose of marriage is twofold: for husband and wife to be gifts of self to each other, thereby reflecting the love of God; and for marriage to expand God's family."
Overall, I think this bold and biblically-based book provides an accurate picture of God's design for marriage. The Stiegemeyer's follow Jesus' example of raising the bar when it comes to God's expectations for marriage: one man, one woman for life. Additionally, I appreciate that the authors work to breakdown some stereotypes of Christians and Christian marriages. For example, they remind readers that God designed sex and that the book of "Song of Solomon describes the relationship between a husband and wife in intimate and erotic detail, without flinching."
Perhaps the best part of the book, for me, was the section at the end of each chapter which included a relationship pitfall, a key to successful marriage, and then a prayer for the husband to pray and a prayer for the wife to pray. These features made the book much more practical and useful.
I highly recommend this book to couples who want to recapture a biblical view of marriage, for those who conduct pre-marital counseling and even for couples who plan to marry. While I am not from a reformed tradition myself, I appreciate the differences in our expressions of faith. At the same time, there are a few references to practices, catachisms, and sacraments with which readers of a different Christian tradition may not be familiar. Still, those things don't detract from the overall meaning or biblical accuracy of the book.
Learn more Your Marriage by God's Design at the publisher's website: www.cph.org. You can also order a copy from most Christian bookstores and other book retailers.
* Note: I received a copy of the book from NetGalley for this review. However, the opinions expressed in the review are my own.
About the Authors
Scott Stiegemeyer is pastor of Redeemer Luthern Church in Elmhurst, Illinois. He is the author of numerous articlesÃ¢â¬âmany on the intersection of culture and theology and practice in the church, and of the book United in Christ: Preparation for Christian Marriage. Julie Stiegemeyer is a regular author for Concordia Publishing House, having written several children's books, Sunday School and curriculum pieces, and regularly returning as a contributor to Portals of Prayer. Since their wedding day over 20 years ago, Ecclesiastes 4:12 has served as a reminder that the Lord is the "third cord" binding them together in Christian love and forgiveness.