Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Marriage Builder - by Crabb part 1

So, I have a confession. I've never read this book before! I've heard so many good things from so many good people; but I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

A friend and I are reading it together and we're only a third of the way through - so, I'll have to give the rest of the review later. But, I'm very pleased with the book - and it's been very inspiring to me personally too. When I read the book, it makes me think about becoming a better wife and having more goals that have to do with marriage.

The intro and even chapter 1 are kind of introductory and shallow, in my opinion, the real book starts in chapters 2 and 3.

Chapter 2 discusses the dilemma of needs. He uses the graphic metaphor of 2 ticks sucking from each other - and makes a good case that a marriage can't function well that way. He then goes through different ways we may choose to deal with our emotional needs; such as:
1. Ignore our needs (creates depression and boredom)
2. Find satisfaction in achievement (instead of relationships)
3. Attempt to meet our needs in each other (2 ticks, no dog)
4. Depend on the Lord to meet our needs (in this section he discussed beginning from a platform of truth, and putting our faith in those truths we've learned)

He also discussed self-protective "layers" that insulate us from being truly close to each other.

Chapter 3 is called "Manipulation or Ministry?"

In this chapter he really speaks my language! He talks about goals.

He begins discussing what marriage is; and how we should understand marriage. "Too often, couples have not actively thought through the radical implications of the concepts for the marital relationship. And because they do not translate them from theory into experience, these truths never become vital. The only truths that eventually grip Christians at the core of their being are the truths by which they consistently live." (p.49)

Then he gets into talking about goals.

"Everything we do has a goal. We are not conditioned animals that act automatically and unthinkingly in a programmed response. Neither are we the hapless victims of internal, psychological forces that drive us relentlessly in unwanted directions. Although it may often FEEL as though we do things we don't want to do, the truth is that everything we do represents an effort to reach a goal that somehow, perhaps at an unconscious level, makes good sense to us...And a belief about what I need implies a goal I should pursue. If I BELIEVE I need food to live, I will make it my GOAL to get to the grocery store. Beliefs determine goals." (p.50)

So then, if our goal with our spouse is = win every argument/ avoid pain/ defend self, we would approach an argument in one way; whereas if our goal is = understand my spouse better and love them better; we'd be willing to approach it in a completely different way.

Then he discusses manipulation vs. ministry. Under the "manipulation" category, he describes the many ways that people manipulate - whether it be controlling, retreating, being forceful, guilt-tripping, or even certain positive qualities used in a manipulative way (i.e. being romantic or helpful - but in order to get something). He says that if we manipulate, we may get our way - but we will not necessarily be developing the longed-for sense of intimate closeness we could be developing.

He suggests instead that we view our spouse as someone to minister to. We should make it our goal to show love to them, and help them see God. Instead of looking for a quick-fix (What should I do to make my marriage better?) we should look to make some godly goals (What is my goal in this marriage?)

"Christians are called upon to believe that in spite of our confusion and incompetence, our sovereign God has made no mistake in assigning us the ministry of touching our spouses' deepest needs." (p.63)

...more to come on this book later...

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