Thursday, June 2, 2011

Let's Get Real by Dale & Jena Forehand

I am very skeptical when it comes to marriage books, especially by authors I have never heard of. I usually avoid them altogether, but because this was my anniversary week, I thought I would give a newer book on marriage a chance. And I was quite surprised.

Let's Get Real by Dale & Jena Forehand is a helpful book for marriages that are in trouble, as they deal with issues that tend to find their way in and destroy the marriage. They begin by telling their story of their marriage, divorce, and eventual remarriage. They attributed their eventual remarriage to Christ and the gospel. At the very beginning of the book, they say what I have said to so many couples, "as long as we have Jesus, we have hope" (7).

It is a very unique book, for it is a book, but it is also a workbook. Every couple pages in the book, they pause and ask some very direct questions (and leave space for you to fill in your answers). There are many passages of Scripture they ask you to look up and write down thoughts. I do not know if I have ever read a book like this. It is not just a study guide, for much of it reads like a book. But it is not really only a book either. Being different made it really work. I think it probably would be best if accompanied with the Let's Get Real DVD (although I did not go through the book with it, I am assuming it would be helpful as there are spaces to take notes for each lesson).

Who Should Read This Book?

That's a good question. I could probably direct many people to some better marriage books. But after reading this book, I would certainly direct those whose marriage is "in trouble" to read it. The process of Scripture and answering questions as you read will be helpful for you. The book is very gospel-centered.  For instance, they make statements or ask questions like these:

  • Just as Christ is available to us, we must also be available for one another! Unfortunately, many couples today are simply too busy to be available. (23)
  • Is it more important to you that your spouse look like you or that he look like Jesus? (32)
  • How do imperfect people strive for a perfect marriage? They follow a perfect Savior who supernaturally transforms them through His workmanship toward perfection. (48)
  • Women, God hand-carved the need for intimacy and security in your life so you would see your need for Him. Praise God, He sent Jesus to fill your void. (57)
  • If you're a child of the King, Satan will do whatever he can to steal your joy, kill your passion, and destroy your marriage. (70)
  • We believe that God does His deepest transforming work in the marriage relationship. We also believe God does His deepest work in the midst of trials, stress, struggles, and conflicts. No wonder marriage is so hard. No wonder conflict in marriage is so critical. No wonder we need to see our conflicts the way Christ sees them. (128-9)
  • Instead of divorcing from each other, what if a couple decided to divorce themselves from the sin that resided in their relationship? What would happen to their marriage? (140)

Anything To Watch Our For?

There are two issues that I will not go into detail during this blog review. One issue is their view of generational characterizations. I certainly do not disagree that we are who we are because of our families or heritage. But they seemed to take it to a level of we sin because of our heritage (they don't actually say that, but it feels like it). We are responsible for our own sin.

The larger issue is this whole thing of "forgiving ourselves." I don't know what it is with this issue, but I have heard it three times this week. They say things like this: "If it was your sin that caused your shame, you must forgive yourself and allow Christ to forgive you" (103). I just never see this concept anywhere in Scripture.

Overall, though, a decent book that I would not hesitate recommending to someone who's marriage is on the rocks.

I received a copy of Let's Get Real by Dale & Jena Forehand from NavPress for review.

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