New Growth Press
Marriage is not always easy. In fact, at times, it can be downright difficult and painful. What we often forget is that marriage can also be a very effective tool for spiritual transformation and for Christian witness. Winston T. Smith, in his book Marriage Matters, reminds us of this very important truth.
Smith’s primary thesis is that God can use the ordinary moments of our marriages to grow us spiritually, to draw us closer to God, and to help us to heal the more profound problems that become stumbling blocks in our marriage relationships. Instead of waiting for our marriages to be healed by dramatic turning points, or with some instant insight, we need to be honest and reflective enough to allow God to slowly make our marriages better through baby steps toward love born in the routines of our everyday lives. Smith states it this way,
The path to change in your marriage is built on this truth: God is involved in every moment of your marriage. In that sense, there are no ordinary moments, only moments of God’s activity, of which you may or may not be aware, and in which you may or may not chose to participate. (p.8)
Marriage Matters goes on to say that problems in our own marriages can often be helped, as we look at ourselves and see our side of the conflicts as failures to love. Then we need to take steps to make our actions and attitudes more loving. This is a profoundly a spiritual issue, says Smith, because loving God and others is basic to Christian discipleship. When we place ourselves or other things as a priority over loving God and loving others we are sinning, and perhaps even worshiping and idol. It is at these moments, Smith argues, that we need to come back to our spiritual center for the sake of our marriage.
The rest of the book flows out of this foundation. Smith asserts that living in this truth will improve a couple’s communication and sex lives, and grow their openness, honesty, and happiness with one another. I think I agree with him.
This is a book that will be especially helpful for folks feeling stuck in their marriages and looking for a way to move forward instead of repeating the same unhappy cycles. It will also be a wonderful vehicle for growth, as readers discover that their marriage is an opportunity for God to transform our souls more and more in His image. – Clint Walker, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Can Ordinary Marriages Become Extraordinary?
He snapped at her during breakfast. She brought up a past mistake. He walked out angry. She left without saying good-bye. An ordinary day in an ordinary marriage. But what if things could be different? What if the moments that seem the most ordinary moments of annoyance, conflict, pain, or cold indifference could become moments in which you're able to understand God's incredible agenda for love and begin to do something new?
Winston T. Smith, drawing on his extensive experience as a marriage counselor, offers a simple yet powerful prescription for changing your marriage. He shows how examining the everyday disappointments and irritations in your marriage will help you understand yourself, your spouse, and your need for God's love. Change begins with seeing day-to-day interactions from a different perspective, taking simple steps to love one another more effectively, and then learning how to take those steps over and over again. Interactions that used to devolve into pointless annoyances and fights can become an opportunity for God's activity and love to become increasingly evident and powerful. The principles in this book will take your marriage to extraordinary places and lead you into a deeper relationship with an extraordinary God. Don't settle for an ordinary marriage, learn to live out God's extraordinary love in your most intimate relationship.