About This Blog

Friday, February 17, 2017

"Making Marriage Beautiful" (Dorothy Littell Greco & Christopher Greco)

TITLE: Making Marriage Beautiful: Lifelong Love, Joy, and Intimacy Start with You
AUTHOR: Dorothy Littell Greco & Christopher Greco
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Publishers, 2017, (256 pages).

Many people marry so that they could be happy. That is something that is furthest from the truth about marriage. While happiness is an important need, it should not be the key focus of a marriage. For author Dorothy and Christopher Greco, the higher reason is Christlikeness. The problem with many modern expectations about marriage is the presence of perfect expectations and the reality of imperfect people. In spite of these, there is hope. There is a chance to make difficult marriages not only bearable but beautiful. It begins by asking what kind of change we want. How are two persons who are so different going to live together? Are they willing to acknowledge their own weaknesses and brokenness? Do we need Christ only during times of crises?

We are urged to look back at our individual's family cultures to understand how our histories form our worldview and expectations of people. We need to avoid buying into cultural stereotypes surrounding male and female genders, and to shape our worldviews toward a Christlike one. See conflict as a struggle for growth. Reframe disappointment and anger as holy invitations to understand and to grow the relationship. By addressing anger appropriately, we can also avoid making five different responses to anger. Practice listening as a core skill in being a better spouse. Beware of unconscious addictions creeping into our lives. Learning to confess and to forgive are key relationship savers. Suffering despite all its negative connotations can have an upside. We can choose joy and we can move toward making marriage beautiful.

The authors had previously broken off their engagement, only to marry two years later amid a flurry of warnings of repercussions. Their differences could not have been more stark. They felt that the marriage had humbled them, exposed their own pride, and forced them to look straight into the challenge of looking more to Christ. At the end of each chapter, Greco asks herself two questions:
  1. Were these concepts actually helping me love Christopher today?
  2. Historically speaking, have they helped us and our marriage grow stronger and healthier? 

Each chapter begins with a personal story or illustration and ends with stories of how other couples had successfully overcome their difficulties. At the end of each chapter, there are valuable discussion questions that can be used by couples or discussion groups. As a reader, I find the questions a helpful reminder of the concepts shared earlier in the chapter. It also makes one pause and reflect on one's own marriage. Overall, there is a hopeful disposition throughout the book that marriage is good, and that there are more reasons for hope in any marriage. The last chapter of the book really drives home what marriage entails: Sacrificial love. This is perhaps the most distinctive Christlike attitude that any marriage could be. After all, Jesus had said that there is no greater love than one who would willingly lay down his life for his friends. What more our spouses?

I know that there are many marriage books already written out there in the market. Knowing that marriage is sacred and deserves to be protected, while there is no lack of resources, there is also no such thing as too much of a good thing. Perhaps, the bigger struggle is not about how much material are there out in the market, but how much have we put into practice whatever we have read or learned. If you are able to practice at least some of the principles in this book, you would have made your marriage a few steps more beautiful. Try it!

Dorothy Littell Greco is a photographer, author, speaker, and pastor. Her website is dorothygreco.com and she lives outside Boston with her husband.

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of David C. Cook Publishers and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment