Popular author and relationship expert Gary Chapman adds yet another valuable marriage volume to his portfolio with COVENANT MARRIAGE. Well known for his bestselling series of titles based on "The Five Love Languages," he strives in his latest work to move couples from a contract mentality toward covenant matrimony.
Decrying the growing divorce rate among Christians, Chapman calls readers to a closer commitment to the cause of Christ. In his estimation there isn't the social stigma attached to divorce that there once was, and this is largely a result of divorce becoming culturally acceptable in the church.
Chapman suggests that communication and intimacy are essential to maintaining the sacredness of the marriage relationship, and he outlines the means to achieving them with skill and sensitivity. Identifying the types of unhealthy communication patterns and the five levels of communication, he offers readers useful material in a meaningful manner.
As Chapman cleverly points out, "The word communication is found in the dictionary between the words commotion and community." Building on that thought, he suggests to couples that community is the result of good communication while commotion is created by poor communication.
He also addresses the need for a definition of love that is scriptural rather than secular, maintaining that too many couples today focus more on being happy than being holy. Chapman explains that the secular meaning of love is a feeling, while the scriptural meaning is a commitment.
According to Chapman, the mistake that many people make is that they place an emphasis on the fleeting emotion of happiness, which is dependent on what is happening temporarily instead of on the eternal value of holiness, which is reflective of a life wholly submitted to the Lord. After all, he states, the purpose of life is to do the will of God, not our own.
Paradoxically, Chapman reminds readers that life is more than having a good marriage. "The Christian's ultimate call is not the call to develop a good marriage; the Christian's call is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we must remember that marriage is not an end in itself," he writes.
One particularly helpful resource is a chart with the heading, "Personality Opposites," which treats readers to an instructive listing of a dozen stereotypical personality types and their polar opposites, offering an insightful lesson on how opposites attract.
Toward the close of the book, Chapman devotes several chapters to specific types of intimacy, including emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, sexual intimacy and spiritual intimacy, complete with helpful suggestions for achieving each type.
A welcome addition to the growing collection of marriage enrichment guides, COVENANT MARRIAGE is a must-read for anyone who desires a marriage modeled on covenant commitment rather than contract convenience.
--- Reviewed by Sean Fowlds