by James Rudy Gray
Recently, I completed a book entitled, Marriage That Works Is Work. It is the culmination of over 20 years of counseling ministry and over 30 years of pastoral service. My wife and I have led marriage retreats and seminars for the past 20+ years and picked up many insights from the couples we were fortunate enough to meet and serve. In addition, I have continued to read and research the subject of marriage. To make a long story short, the result is this short book of nine chapters.
What I wanted to do with the book was to create something that was not in the marketplace. The idea was to develop a tool that pastors and counselors could give to married and engaged couples that would be biblically accurate and personally practical for couples. I felt it needed to be brief and easy to read. I also was convinced that it needed to cover the things that can make marriage really succeed. Along the way, I developed a personality questionnaire and explanation which are included in the book.
Identifying our personalities and those of whom we married is important. Accepting who we are and whom we married is imperative. Learning to appreciate the differences that exist between husband and wife is a major key to building a good, godly, and healthy marriage. Two chapters were devoted to identifying and understanding personality type.
Birth order influences us in ways we sometimes do not even imagine. So, a chapter was included dealing with the traits and dynamics of birth order and how our birth order affects how we relate.
The Bible declares that God made us male and female. Marriage is between a man and a woman. The unique complimentary roles of maleness and femaleness in marriage demonstrate the design of God. When a couple follows that design, marriage can be good. A chapter on male/female differences was included.
John Gottman, a great researcher from the University of Washington, has noted that friendship is one of the top factors in determining longevity in marriage. I devoted a chapter to friendship in the book.
Human sexuality is such a powerful force for good or evil. God intended it for good: pleasure and procreation. However, our world has distorted, perverted, and corrupted God's good gift. A chapter in the book deals with human sexuality. I try to show that sex may be defined as what we do and sexuality as who we are.
Good communication cannot be achieved without some understanding of the process. Listening is the key to good communication. A chapter is devoted to this subject.
Money has become the number one problem for couples today. Having a healthy lifestyle which recognizes that whatever we have is a stewardship from God is an important key to building a healthy relationship.
The first chapter of the book introduces the concept of intimacy, which is defined as oneness with a healthy separateness. The principle for the definition is based on Genesis 2:24.
Like any project, it is not perfect. It did, however, accomplish the purpose for which it was created. I wanted to get one small, easy to read, book into the hands of people who could benefit from its contents. Instead of buying a stack of books, my strategy was to give a person the benefit of a stack of books dealing with various topics all in one book. It is my prayer that this project will accomplish that purpose and that God will be honored through it.
If any of the readers of Pulpit Helps would like a copy of the book, I would be glad to send it to you. It retails for $11.95 but will be discounted for readers of this publication to $10.00, which includes shipping and handling. The address is 4056 Wells Highway, Seneca, S.C. 29678. You can also order the book through my Web page: jrgray.org. Volume discounts for 60 or more copies are available.
I have a daughter getting married in December. The things I wrote in the book are the same truths I have attempted to share with her and her future husband. Marriage is God's creation and without a reliance on the truth and power of God, we will miss the best for our relationship. Even then, marriage that works takes work!
James Rudy Gray is certified as a professional counselor by the
National Board for Certified Counselors, and is a member of the
American Association of Christian Counselors. He pastors
Utica Baptist Church in Seneca, S.C.