I can’t believe it! My blog is about marriage advice? Actually, yes. Well, a book review about marriage advice: “Four Secrets to a Forever Marriage (Marriage Tips From a Not So Perfect Husband)” by Michael Letney with Karen Hardin.
Wow! This is not your average marriage advice book, folks! I was dubious at first when I agreed to review this book. For so many reasons that I cannot or will not go into right here, basically I am turned off by marriage advice books of any kind. To give you sort of a quick background-catch-up, I am happily married to a perfect husband but (big but) I have been divorced twice. At the time of my second round, I was convinced that people who do not know the circumstances would pretty much think that I am high risk and wouldn’t approach me for fear that it was catching. Even though my dad said that he had been praying for me a mate, and I trust my dad’s fervent prayers, this one was a no-brainer. It wouldn’t reach the heavens. I didn’t want it to reach the heavens. I wasn’t putting myself through that again. But God heard and God answered. It was pretty funny actually. If I had of been praying myself for a husband, he met all the criteria that I would have asked for, had I been asking, which I wasn’t. But I digress…My parents are 60 plus years married. I grew up spoiled, seeing first-hand how two people can completely love one another through thick and thin. I knew it was hard work, and I knew it wasn’t always as easy as it seemed, but I also believed that was what I would have. I didn’t! Twice, I didn’t.
I’ve been to numerous marriage seminars, counseling sessions – couple’s and single (that would be me) counseling groups, recovery groups, and even facilitated and led a few. Needless to say, I’ve been able to categorize what I hear coming across the podium into categories. My categories would be “You’ve got to be kidding”, “You haven’t lived long enough to know”, “I wonder if your wife agrees”, “Wow, where did this couple come from?”…etc. From one who has been through the gambit of marriage problems and back (somber note here: from physical abuse to drug abuse), there’s just something about hearing some things that leave you wondering where people got their credentials. It’s just not real world!
Having said that, I’ve often wondered who would be the perfect person to give marriage advice? The so-called marriage experts who have studied and classified and psychologized? (I’ve read a few of their books.) The “perfect couple” like my parents who are working on 65 years of it? OR…. Me? Why are you laughing? I mean, get real, I’ve been through 2 lifetimes as married with kids, single mom raising kids-twice, and now, happily married with kids and step kids and 14 grandkids! What you are going through, chances are, I’ve been there already! I know what definitely not to do, should do, shouldn’t do, could do, and ideal in a perfect world to do. Ok, so I’m joking, but seriously I have given it some thought. Do we listen to perfect advice from a perfect couple having a perfect marriage experience? Because, that’s just not your average couple! (We go away saying something like, “Well, that might work for THEM, but my mate would NEVER….” Or possibly: “They’ve never lived with my Harry (or my Sally)!”) Right?
Then, I lay my hands on this book. It’s small but packed full of interesting stuff! It’s real. It’s you and it’s me. It’s our sister, or our brother or the neighbors. It’s about transparency, truth, trust and unity. It’s about stuff that has gone through the thrashing and taken a beating and comes out on top. It’s painful and real but amazing and great. It’s healing, powerful and…well, it’s just plain honest. It’s something you can believe in about relationships, commitment and love, even if you need a miracle to get there. I promise! And I ought to know.