The following is a quick review I’m writing for Waterbrook Multnomah on Living in Love by James and Betty Robison. I was provided a review copy to read and comment on. So, here’s my honest take.
There are 17,549 search results for paperback books on “Christian Marriage” on Amazon.com. Add to that 4,714 hardback books (presumably some overlap). I’d call that a glut of books. How do you know which ones to read? It’s important to be selective. So to the end of serving by helping to be selective, I’ll be blunt: pass on this one.
It’s a fine book. Better than some I’ve read. It’s nice. It’s encouraging. It’s uplifting. The authors seem to have a wonderful marriage and sound like fine marriage counselors. I might even recommend them to a young couple if they were in my church. But this book does not have the ballast needed for a strong marriage book.
They allude to the importance of convenant keeping, but they don’t give the reasons why covenant keeping is critical, they simply say it is. They allude to the enabling grace of God in forgiveness, but don’t explain how it works. Both of these concepts are foundational necessities in teaching on marriage. We must answer the question: “why?”
I don’t see much of an answer to “why?” in the book beyond “So you can have a successful and fulfilling marriage, which is what God wants you to have.” (my summary of their major theme. Apologies to the authors if I missed the point). This is critical because there is more at stake in Christian marriage. We are reflecting the Gospel, God’s unilateral covenant with His people.
The practical sections of the book are good. Again, I think the couple would make wise counselors for individuals in the church. But with marriage books, you should be careful to read foundational ones, then in light of that, apply principles to your specific situation. This book is lacking in foundation.
Pass on this one. Instead read these books. They are the kind you need.