Book Review: Marriage On The Mend

Marriage On The Mend: Healing Your Relationship After Crisis, Separation, Or Divorce, by Clint and Penny A. Bragg [Note: This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.] When the authors of this book reconciled over a letter, they began a process of recovering from an eleven year divorce, leading to remarriage and an unlikely career as marriage ambassadors seeking to work against the epidemic of divorce. And let us make no mistake, divorce is an epidemic in the contemporary church, a scourge that has destroyed many families. The authors are candid about their own difficulties in their first marriage and in their second marriage, but that honesty allows the reader to understand as well what it was that changed in order to allow them to succeed the second time around. These lessons are not complicated, but they are difficult, and this explains why so few couples are able to recover from divorce or separation; the fact that some do, however, gives hope to others who wish to recover their marriages. The principles of this book are very straightforward. For a second attempt at a marriage to work, one needs the same sort of commitment that would make a first marriage work, theoretically. One needs a shared commitment to God’s ways, a firm commitment to mutual edification, a recognition of temptations and a commitment to avoiding them, honest and loving communication, mutual trust and respect, prayer, shared standards, and a recognition of difficulties and pitfalls faced by the couple. A commitment to forgiveness and not holding the repented sins of others against them is also discussed repeatedly. None of these matters are all that complicated, even if they are difficult to accomplish. Given the damage that divorce causes to the estranged spouses themselves, their relationship with God, and the well-being of their children, it is a shame that people are not more willing to humble themselves and seek restoration than to persist in mutual hostility. The authors do not seek to give people rules that will guarantee reconciliation, which is impossible. Nevertheless, their example, and the stories they tell, many of them coming from other similar cases to theirs (often resulting in the publishing of books), demonstrate that with a shared commitment to mutual forgiveness and personal and spiritual growth, restoration is possible. All too often the will is missing, either for growth or for forgiveness, which is lamentable. This book has some surprisingly deep insights and other surprises. One surprise is the way that this book is designed to be a multimedia effort, in that every chapter has at least one (if not more) bar codes that link to a Youtube channel that give videos from the authors about some aspect of restoring a broken marriage [1]. Readers without a smartphone will need to watch the videos manually in order to gain the full content of this book. Also of striking interest is the way that the authors point the readers (presumably a married couple in trouble) towards their common enemy in Satan so that they do not fight each other but rather realize the enemy that seeks the ruin and bitterness of both husband and wife, seeking to destroy lives by pitting people against each other rather than focus on their common enemy. This book, although about love and marriage, has a great deal to say about Satan’s strategies of divide and conquer and demonology as a whole. The other striking focus is the authors’ shared commitment to candor and biblical doctrine on marriage as well as graciously dealing with unpleasant truths and recognizing that many problems spring from a misguided approach to fulfilling the longing for love, as well as the fact that many broken marriages have problems that spring from the divorce of parents and child abuse and other horrors that lead to deep wounds that make marriage more difficult. This is a thoughtful book about a difficult subject, and hopefully it can provide the encouragement and tools necessary for couples with a shared commitment in overcoming relationship troubles to do what needs to be done. [1]

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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