Marriage is delightful. It is also difficult, however. While the divorce rate may not be the oft-quoted 50 percent, it is still significant. The relevant question, then, for Christians getting married or already wed is this: What can a couple do to make sure their marriage thrives?
Craig and Amy Groeschel offer an answer to this question in their new book, From This Day Forward. Craig is the founding senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv, an innovative multisite church best known for its Bible app, YouVersion. Amy leads LifeChurch.tv’s women’s ministry and homeschools the Groeschel children. Craig wrote most of the book, but Amy adds her unique “angle” at the end of each chapter.
Drawing on the Bible and their own twenty-plus years of marriage, the Groeschels identify five practices that contribute to marital wellbeing:
- Seek God.
- Fight fair.
- Have fun.
- Stay pure.
- Never give up.
Can marital wellbeing really be that simple? Based on my nearly 10 years of marriage, I would say both yes and no. Or better, I would say that marital wellbeing is easy to analyze but difficult to practice. A couple which strove to put these five practices to work in their marriage would significantly improve both the quality and durability of their union.
From This Day Forward is written in an easy, conversational tone that makes for a quick read. It doesn’t—thankfully!—get bogged down in exegetically driven discussions of gender roles (i.e., male headship, female submission), though it occasionally it reflects gender stereotypes (e.g., men prefer physical intimacy, women prefer emotional intimacy). I would have liked to see more discussion of topics such as finance, childrearing, and traumatic stressors (e.g., illness or death in the family), though the Groeschel’s five practices probably cover those concerns, at least in principle.
Who, then, should read this book? Those about to get married, for sure, and those already married (especially if they’re in their early years together). Zondervan has produced a DVD-based small group curriculum based on the book, making the book and/or the curriculum ideal for use in a church’s engaged couples seminar, small groups, or Sunday school classes.
P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.
 Unfortunately, the Groeschels cite the 50 percent figure throughout the book. For a thorough debunking of and other marriage myths, see Shuanti Feldhahn and Tally Whitehead, The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2014).