I was excited to receive and read Sheila Gregoire’s latest marriage book, 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage. If you don’t know Sheila, then you need to get to know her!
She blogs at To Love, Honor and Vacuum and in her characteristic transparent and witty style, she used 9 pat answers as a springboard to the 9 wise thoughts that she challenged the reader to integrate into her thinking.
Here are a couple of examples of how she worked this out:
Pat Answer – “Don’t take offense! If someone is insensitive or hurtful, overlook it and keep your focus on God.”
Thought – “My husband can’t make me mad.”
Pat Answer – “Fighting is poison to a marriage. Aim to live in peace instead. Avoid conflicts at all costs.”
Thought – “I’m called to be a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper.”
I have to admit that I found myself feeling a bit defensive when Sheila approached her book this way, because I know I’ve given some of those “pat answers” to people over the years.
However, as I read more, I realized that she wasn’t saying that pat answers are completely false. It’s just that they only give part of the picture and can often be misleading when left as a way to pacify hurting spouses. I totally agree that we really need to cut through the clutter to the heart of the matter on most marriage issues. I appreciated that she stretched my thinking on this issue and approach.
I think the chapter that I appreciated and needed the most was, “I’m Not in Competition with My Husband.” Although I agreed with Sheila on several key issues related to submission and headship in marriage and how those are interpreted from Scripture, she brought out some key aspects that I have missed over the years.
She also reminded me of several biblical examples where following God’s “truth and will” trumped following my husband when he is making a wrong choice.
For example, Ananias and Sapphira were each held accountable by Peter and ultimately God when they deceptively kept a portion of the money they gave to the church (See Acts 5:9). I think this is a great example of how we must answer to God for our individual choices. We should never compromise in the name of submission whenever our husband leads us towards a sinful choice.
Although I’ve functioned with this approach in my marriage, I’ve often done so with less clarity on exactly why I should do that. Thankfully, my husband isn’t encouraging me to be deceptive or to withhold from God! But if he ever encouraged any type of sin, I would recall and use Sheila’s biblical stance on this—making a wise choice to follow God versus following my husband toward a sin.
Overall, I felt like this was an excellent book that presents practical, proactive and valuable insights into how to make our marriages healthier, stronger and more spiritually grounded. I would highly recommend that you get Sheila’s book! And as a way to help you along in that process, I’m doing a giveaway of one free Kindle version of this book!
To enter: All you have to do is comment on this post between now and Saturday, Sept. 19th at midnight (CST). I’ll be randomly selecting a winner and announcing who that person is back here on Sunday, Sept. 20th!
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What are some pat answers to marriage problems that you’ve heard over the years?
What are some false beliefs you’ve held about marriage and what did you discover was the truth?
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