The Uncommon Marriage Adventure: A Daily Journey To Draw You Closer To God And Each Other, by Tony & Lauren Dungy with Nathan Whitaker
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
I must admit that before this book I was not familiar with either Tony or Lauren Dungy as authors, although from what I could tell both of them have written quite a bit, including children’s literature. I am, however, familiar with Tony Dungy’s career from his Super Bowl winning time with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a player to his coaching career  that started in Pittsburgh as an assistant and then wound its way through Kansas City and Minnesota before he had a Hall-of-Fame worthy career as a head coach in Tampa Bay and Indianapolis (where he won a Super Bowl). Unsurprisingly, this book is colored with a great deal of discussion about what it means to be a husband and father while being a football coach, and what it is like being the wife of a football coach, and this book benefits from the fact that both authors are real about what is meant and appreciative of each other.
This book is structured as a devotional with sixteen weeks worth of lessons, with short chapters directed specifically at either men or women which largely alternate between the two, those written by Lauren for wives and those written by Tony for husbands. The Sabbath day of every week is devoted to a practical application of one of the six lessons discussed during the week, and the lessons as a whole tend to be straightforward. The book is clearly designed for those who are already married or considering marriage, advocating premarital counseling (as well as mentoring from an older successful couple), but some aspects of it, including the advice to be patient in God’s timing as well as use the time one is waiting to prepare your heart and mind for success, is definitely wise advice. The book does not offer advice that is novel–it is biblical in its approach and focuses on the need for commitment, encouragement, good communication, compassion, respect, often expressed in different contexts and different ways. In fact, the book is very clear about its eight fundamental principles: look to the Bible as your guidebook and to Christ as your living example, stay in sync spiritually, manage expectations and appreciate your differences, work as a team, practice committed love, communicate well and often, don’t run away from conflict, support each other in serving others. These are all sound principles.
Among the many qualities that make this book excellent is the fact that it is real. It is clear from this book that both authors care deeply for each other, respect each other highly, and are committed to each other’s well being. They do not pretend to have life harder or easier than they really have–they talk about adopting children as a way of encouraging birth mothers to avoid murdering their unborn as a commitment to pro-life principles, talk openly about their Christianity, about their mistakes, about vacations and second homes and skyping their grown-up offspring to keep in touch. The book is direct, well-written, and very clear, and filled with short and easily digestible principles told with honesty and humility. Among its gems is the following quote form page 227: “I think there are times when God welcomes the circus into our lives to give us an opportunity to show that there’s another way to live and respond to things.” Indeed there is, and this book definitely provides it.
 See, for example: