Book review by Daniel Forster
I loved Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young. When I heard that they were writing another book, this time on marriage, I knew it would be good. They were kind enough to give us a preview copy of My Beloved and My Friend, and since the book comes out soon (on Valentine’s Day), I wanted to share my review here.
Just like their first book, this one is right in line with their goal of “Making biblical family life practical.” Hal and Melanie’s points are backed up by Scripture and illustrated with many interesting stories from their own marriage and family life. I enjoyed getting to know them a bit more as I read this book.
I especially appreciated the chapter in which they talk about times of sickness and family upheaval (which they’ve experienced quite a few times.) Trials like dealing with cancer or a rough pregnancy can be a great strain on family life and on your marriage. The Youngs have been through hardships like these, and they share practical strategies for supporting one another through it all.
A section on spiritual leadership covers many aspects, including personal devotions, family worship, church involvement, and dealing with doctrinal differences.
Other chapters cover submission, division of labor, loyalty, sexuality, family size, leaving and cleaving, how to become best friends, and “how to fight so you both win.”
What’s unique about this Christian marriage book is that it talks about biblical marriage, but it’s often in the context of family. Hal and Melanie are homeschool parents of eight children, and they don’t hide the fact that, in real life, marriage and parenting are thoroughly intertwined.
For me and my wife right now, our time and energy is in high demand. When we’re together at home, our four little children need love, attention, and training. Dishes and laundry need washing. Meals must be made, served, and cleaned up. We spend so much time as dad and mom, it’s helpful to have books like this to remind us that we’re first husband and wife, and that investing regular time and energy in our marriage is not only in our best interest, but also in the best interest of our children.
Here are some quotes I enjoyed from My Beloved and My Friend:
“If we want to strengthen the spiritual side of our marriage, we need to start with our individual spiritual health.”
“Having a large family makes nearly everything (except laundry) more entertaining.”
“Neither of us are fond of yardwork or washing dishes, but we’d rather do both of them together than separately in “our” traditional roles. And there’s nothing wrong with that!”
“We can choose to enjoy one another. Choose to see each other as our best friends. This is really, seriously, one of the most satisfying things you will ever do.”
“A burden shared is a burden divided.”
You can pre-order My Beloved and My Friend in print or as an audiobook from Great Waters Press, and they will mail it to you by February 14.