Soon after we started blogging, our friend and fellow book nerd Julie suggested that we begin to recommend book pairings.
It would be super cool if my knowledge of wine was extensive enough to recommend a special drink to accompany the books we review. Unfortunately, even when Leslie and I put our heads together, we couldn’t come up with anything beyond a sincere but somewhat general conviction that every book is better with a cup of coffee (unless, of course, you’re reading at the beach).
So we’re sticking with what we know: books on books. Julie’s actual suggestion was for fiction/nonfiction pairings, which we’ll do as often we have good ideas. But this idea of pairing books might just turn out to be so much fun that we may not want to restrict ourselves to any kind of formula, so stay tuned, and see how this category develops!
The past three books I’ve reviewed have had strong themes related to marriage.
Pilgrim’s Inn addressed the following questions: What do you do if you are in love with someone who is not your spouse? Can an unhappy couple become happy? What is a good reason to get married?
Light of the World was a lovely memoir of a marriage that can lead you to think: What makes a happy marriage? How do differences between spouses actually strengthen a marriage? How is a marriage enhanced by being part of a larger community of friends and family?
Morningside Heights portrayed characters in various marital statuses. You might ponder: What made the existing marriages strong (or weak)? How did poor communication undermine marriage relationships? Why do the unmarried people desire marriage (or not)? What makes two people compatible? Is there such a thing as a good match made for bad reasons?
Alongside these many portraits of marriage, I recommend one or both of these excellent books, both theological but accessible to non theologians:
The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller. I read this book most recently with a group of ladies from church, and we found it insightful and challenging. Rooted in the text of Ephesians 5, this book addresses the purpose of marriage, gender roles within marriage (spoiler alert: complementarian), and casts a vision of marriage as a means to sanctification.
Living in a Godly Marriage by Joel R. Beeke and James A. LaBelle. These men have read everything that the Puritans ever wrote about marriage, and they’ve distilled all that wisdom into one readable volume. I’m just a few chapters into this one, but so far I have found it to be singular among all the other marriage books I’ve encountered. It is exceptionally thought-provoking, and is both challenging and inspiring in its lofty portrayal of God’s design for marriage. (Spoiler alert: complementarian AND assumes covenant theology, but there’s plenty of content to appreciate even if you don’t totally subscribe to either of these camps.)