- Book: Marriage Matters
- Author: Cheri Swalwell
- Genre: Non-fiction/Christian Biblical Marriage
- Release Date: November 22, 2019
Marriage joins two imperfect people who pledge to love, honor, and commit to each other for life. Eleven couples graciously chose to share their stories within the pages of this book because they believe in the sanctity of marriage. None of the couples are perfect, but they come alongside you and your spouse with experience and encouragement as you pray about how to live out your own marriage. Some of the couples work in full-time ministry, others have chosen the military as their career. Some couples have faced the issue of infertility while others have had to deal with sickness or death. Some couples have been remarried, others married later in life, and others have dealt with seemingly more than any one couple should have to face in a lifetime. All of the couples have one thing in common – their love for God and their commitment to marriage God’s way. Grab your favorite beverage in a comfy chair and get ready to be encouraged. Buy your own copy today, and one for a friend, because Marriage Matters!
This review will be a little different. As this book is about couples and this May we will celebrate our twenty-third wedding anniversary, I asked my husband Clint to share his thoughts on Marriage Matters too! (Here is a short story from before we married.) The selected chapter mini reviews and conclusion are my thoughts.
Reading about ideal and imperfect relationships can help us see how to improve our own. I know God helps us in our marriages when we ask. All of the husbands and wives in this book have had issues to work through together in their marriages. They fight or disagree like any couple but have learned how to work things out. Prayer has been key for them and in my marriage too. They share additional insights for creating a fulfilling marriage.
Clint likes to buy marriage books and other helpful nonfiction to read. I was more into fiction at first. Now I like to read fiction and self-improvement books. I have learned a lot from our discussions. Making a marriage great is a matter of commitment.
I scanned this book rather quickly, noting the highlights and keywords, and stopping at parts that caught my attention. I actually think that is the way this book should be read.
Where I stopped to read are probably the places God is saying I have things that I still need to work on.
The whole book read like all the encouraging advice I ever received about marriage from parents, friends, and church leaders. I enjoyed reading about couples who stuck with marriage the longest. It felt like they had been there and knew what they were talking about.
Putting God in your relationship is a fundamental theme. Seeking His hand in your relationship and your life is indispensable. Intentionally or mindfully planning time to spend together and consciously trying to develop your relationship with your spouse are key. Along with that, deliberately planning time for a physical relationship, despite children, work, or other obstacles, is advice our Stake Patriarch has frequently given us.
Other essential advice in this book:
*Making your marriage your first ministry.
*Prayer and study of the words of God as key to good relationships.
*Holding on to Christ and His promises through trials as in the woman who related her trials seeking to have children.
*The sorrow of broken relationships yet finding wholeness again in Christ Jesus.
James and Aileen – Couple in the Ministry
Both this husband and wife are committed partners in this relationship. It’s balanced. I felt more confident after reading this section. I liked reading about how James and Aileen work together to resolve conflicts and show consideration for each other.
James and Aileen made a commitment to each other that divorce would never be an option. Unity in purpose and faith is important. Your spouse is “the right one” for you. This understanding is the level of commitment necessary to make a marriage work.
Each spouse in this chapter discusses aspects of commitment essential to creating a successful marriage. There are four areas they recommend focusing on, five priorities that are essential, and three levels of intimacy.
Adding God into the marriage relationship naturally increases our ability to receive and give love while overcoming conflicts. Making time for each other, listening, being open, praying together, and never calling each other names (i.e. labeling them) establishes a safe place, trust, and respect. Always treat each other with the kindness we would like to receive ourselves.
Curt and Kara – Couple in the Military
Kara very briefly shares the traumatic experiences she experienced before meeting and marrying her husband. PTSD created trust issues in her that dramatically affected her marriage.
“I’m so glad I didn’t tell him to get lost. Because what we ended up finding together helped put the memories of my past pain to rest.”
We naturally have a lot to resolve. Different ways of seeing things and even traditional culture can affect our perspective. There are trials throughout life. Our response to these can drive a wedge between us and our loved ones unless we are careful. Kara shares advice to encourage our spouse through personal challenges without enabling harmful habits.
Bill and Cheri – Couples Next Door
I love the depiction of their continual efforts at showing each other love in small and large ways.
Bill and Cheri remind us that a relationship with God is priority and to always think the best of each other. I really loved reading how Bill’s loving reply to her helped her want to respond in kind.
Overall, it is our intentions, our whys for doing things that shape the quality of our life and marriage. This was a very good reminder. Cheri challenges us to understand and love our spouse better.
Trish and Jim – Remarriage
Trish blamed her husband(s) during her first two marriages for the marital troubles that ensued.
Her story of coming to God and helping her third husband, Jim, come to Christ too is inspiring. She gained a lot of self-respect, happiness, and fulfillment.
A heart inspired by sacrificial love, however, accomplishes the impossible!!!
She learned she had an important role in making her marriage work out. She especially needed to stop taking things personally, see her worth through Christ, and set personal boundaries.
Stop seeing yourself as the victim of your spouse’s sin. You aren’t.
Trish now sees her job as Jim’s spouse as encouraging him and giving space for him to grow through Christ.
I love how Trish prays daily expressing gratitude for her husband. Trish assures us:
There is nothing more intimate than praying together!
As a parent, I see the benefit of reading certain sections to select talking points for discussing with my teens the importance of godly relationships.
Any couple could benefit from applying the advice in this book. I believe it would especially help young married couples and those with troubles contemplating therapy.
There are thirteen additional chapters with more perspectives and advice. Marriage Matters is an enjoyable and often humorous read.
I received a free advanced reader copy of this book. All opinions are completely my own.
About the Author
Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, and writer, in that order. Cheri loves to encourage people through her Spoken from the Heart devotionals, Bible study Caring for the Caregiver and other compilation books dealing with the subjects of miscarriage and cancer. For a full list of books and where they are sold visit www.cheriswalwell.com. If you want to sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on all the latest news, you will also receive a full-length devotional free, as her way of saying thanks for joining!
More from Cheri
Back in 2007, long before writing was even on my radar, I had a conversation with God about writing a book that would offer hope to those who had lost a child. We had lost our baby the December prior, and I needed to know I would smile again someday. Little did I know that conversation 12 years ago would result in a series of compilation books encouraging others about various topics. The first one, Hope During Heartache was published in 2014, and it’s 13 different men and women’s stories about how they found hope after dealing with the death of a child.
In early 2015, I had another conversation with God and asked Him … “What’s next? Do You have any other compilation books you’d like me to share with others to bring encouragement?” In 2018, Peace During the Pain was published (a book about how to find peace after the diagnosis of cancer) which is 12 different men and women’s stories either about their own personal journey or the journey of a family member.
The goal for 2020 is to publish Joy During the Journey, a compilation of people who have found joy despite living with chronic illness.
During my 2015 conversation, I asked God if He would allow me to write a compilation book about a “happier” topic than death, cancer, and chronic illness. And in His goodness, He said yes! That is when He told me I could write about the topic of marriage, a topic I truly love because being married and having children has always been my heart’s desire. Not only do I get to share encouragement, support, and wisdom from 11 different couples with you in this book, an added bonus is that one of the couples is my parents, another is my youth pastor and his wife, whom I’ve admired for over 25+ years, and yet another is my present pastor and his wife. All three of these couples have significantly modeled biblical marriage for me throughout the years. But that’s not all. There are also military couples, couples who have suffered circumstances no couple should ever have to face, and new friends I’ve met through the writing of this book. I believe you will enjoy as much as I have the encouragement and wisdom from each and every couple who took the time to share a little about their life with you. I’m excited to share the stories between these pages … so sit back, grab your favorite beverage and be prepared to get encouraged!
For Him and My Family, May 2
Texas Book-aholic, May 3
Artistic Nobody, May 4 (Author Interview)
Bigreadersite, May 5
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 6
Simple Harvest Reads, May 8 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, May 8
deb’s Book Review, May 9
Inklings and notions, May 10
Book of Ruth Ann, May 11
Through the Fire Blogs, May 12 (Author Interview)
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, May 14
To celebrate her tour, Cheri is giving away the grand prize of a $15 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click this link to enter.