My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Though I am not a bride--new or old--I wanted to read this book and have it in my collection. As I was hoping, it has many helpful thoughts for me at this stage of life, when I am preparing for the possibility of someday getting married.
The books is separated into two large parts, five smaller parts, and 40 short chapters. I was glad for the small chapters and sections within chapters, making it easy to digest. Each chapter ends with a "prayer prompt" and "a wife's call to action." The whole book is chock full of Scripture, but especially the prayers. They are not always word-for-word quotes from Scripture, but the ideas are probably at least loosely found in the passages referenced. I was disappointed by one or two that I looked up and didn't find very helpful or fitting. I think most of them fit, however.
I liked the practical assignments ("a wife's call to action"), which included interviewing others who have years of experience in marriage, listing reasons why your husband is fun to love, memorizing Scripture, etc. Some of these will be more helpful to a married woman, but a few of them are possible to employ before marriage.
Here are a few quotes I like from the book:
"Your heart and mind toward your spouse and your marriage will be as healthy as the information you put into your mind and speak from your mouth."
"Your fight for your marriage is not something you can put on hold while you pursue some other honorable mission. Sitting down on this job is not an option."
"Remember, God is not sitting on the throne evaluating your ability to stand in hopes that you make it this time. He is actively involved in helping you stand. He has an unlimited supply of time, wisdom, strength, and love for you. He empowers you to stand."
"You cannot walk away from the job of holding up the mirror to your husband. Your thoughts about him, good or bad, are obvious to him and others. And they are contagious. Think about it. What you've communicated to your parents and friends about him is the foundation where their thoughts of him originate. Are you painting a picture that looks like God's image of this man?"
"There is no problem in you, your spouse, or your marriage that God cannot resolve. Nothing that comes against your marriage is stronger than God."
"She explained that talking negatively about your husband was a slap in the face to yourself because the two of you are one."
"Jesus pursues a present-tense love relationship with His Church. You said "I do" to the very same lifestyle of enduring, pursuing love and oneness."
I'm not sure if I quite agree with the interpretation of 1 Peter 3:1, something I've thought about quite a bit. If a husband is unsaved, is this passage saying that the wife should be totally silent? The verse says "they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives," but it doesn't say she can't say anything about the Lord to their husbands. I'm sure that's not what the verse means, as we are supposed to be evangelists. However, the book may be saying that in general Christian women are to be meek and not badgering their husband all the time regarding the faith, mostly just living it out, which is what I believe the verse means. It's hard to tell, but it seemed to be taken almost literally, since the book states "no more preaching."
There are a couple of other doctrinal fallacies, or so it seems, implying that God will always work marriages out if we follow Him, etc., but it was subtle, and I think with all the battle involved in marriage, the positives of God's victory and strength are needed encouragement. There may have been some Arminian doctrine, as well, but I tend to filter that out unless it's constant.
There are a couple of chapters that offer more to read online, extra stories of encouragement, that I want to look up.
There is a chapter focusing on physical intimacy, which is written tastefully.
The book ends with a brief addressing of abuse in marriage. I think she handles it well, speaking of separation if needed, yet believing that God can work things out.
My top takeaways from this book:
Marriage is hard, self-sacrificing work, more-so than I imagined (it goes far beyond the basics of cleaning and cooking), yet God is there to uphold and empower when we seek Him and obey Him.
We as women need to be confident in God's love, not seeking man's love to hold us up--God's love is perfect.
Spilling troubles and complaints about husbands with others is most often disastrous. We should lovingly work out differences one on one with our spouses.
~I received this book from CrossFocusedReviews.com for my review; I was not required to give a positive review.