My boyfriend is Christian and I know nothing about religion save from what I learn from him. I bought this book to gain a better understanding of his views on relationships and love and I absolutely loved it. To picture a pastor saying some of the things the author does about sex made me laugh and it was a really enjoyable read that I will return to again and again. I feel like it really opened my eyes to a lot of aspects of my own relationship and actually encouraged my interest in attending church and learning more about the Bible.
I LOVED THIS BOOK. I am a college female who has a hard time holding purity. I am not a virgin, but have repented and moving into a pure until marriage. It is very hard to stay strong when you have already had sex. This book has really helped me to have a better understanding of God's thoughts of sex are. I also loved this book because as I get older I get trapped in the thought of marriage and it freaks me out actually, like the book mentioned there is always this thought in the back of my head with my current boyfriend "am I sure he might be the one" there are billions of people on this earth, how can I know he is the one. I love this book with that. Lastly, this book helped to understand marriage. I had a really difficult time understanding that marriage is not going to be daises and flowers, there are going to be lows, and maybe not little lows but deep deep ones. I love the honesty and the truth in this book. The author Matt has some examples of his imperfection and I love that! I think so many times married couples in church put on the happy face and never discuss to college or high school age students that marriage isn't perfect. I also loved the certain sentence that said "brother, you are going to fight with someone for the rest of your life. Do you want it to be with Lauren?" I always think that marriage is finding that someone who you rarely fight with, who you click and everything is perfect, and he makes it so clear that's not it at all. When he puts it into that perspective. Yes, I do want to be in fights for the rest of my life with the person I am with now. But I would have always said no if I had the process of "we fight a lot, I should find someone who I get a long better with". I greatly recommend this book to young couples before marriage & for couples who have been married for a long time!! Please read, it will really help to rekindle what has been lost and put God on the front page.
The Mingling of Souls: God's Design for Love, Marriage, Sex & Redemption - Matt Chandler with Jared C. Wilson
The scope of this book runs from the beginning to the end of a relationship. Starting with attraction, Chandler works his way through each phase of romantic relationships: attraction, dating, courtship, wedding, sex, fighting, romance, and commitment. It is a holistic look at what a Godly relationship looks like as conveyed through the Song of Solomon. Overall Chandler gives a balanced, Biblical, and practical take on dating, marriage, and beyond.
I think one of the most helpful and needed discussions in the book was on the idea of the "one." In the chapter on marriage ("Wedding Bells") Chandler says this:
"I just see no reason to agree with the worldly romantic notion that every person has just one 'soul mate' out there waiting for him or her. In fact, I find that idea to be anticovenantal, contrary to grace... It turns the search for a godly spouse into an audition to be the one who 'completes' you... No spouse can complete you. Don't look for a spouse to do what only Jesus can." (pg 106-107)
He goes on to say that whomever you marry is the "one" for you. This is such a refreshing take on the popular romantic ideal that is so prevalent in our culture, even Christian culture. Chandler doesn't deny the sovereignty of God working in our lives, but denies the pagan idea that someone "completes us." And he emphases the covenantal relationship of marriage by illustrating that the "one" is the one you chose to marry.
Chandler's distinction between dating and courtship is also extremely helpful. The cynicism in me runs deep when it comes to the idea of courtship because of works like "I Kissed Dating Goodbye." The way Chandler deals with it however is quite refreshing. He spells it out this way: dating is the "get to know you" phase of the relationship, and courtship is the "let's head toward marriage" phase of the relationship. Essentially the difference in dating and courting is the intention behind it, not necessarily certain actions. This is helpful because it removes the pressure from dating and the awkwardness from courtship.
Another strong point of the book is the dealing with marriage being a representation of Christ and the Church. I think this so often gets lost in the "romantic love" part of marriage. Christ's commitment to the Church is the same commitment that spouses are to have to one another. The way Christ gave himself up for the Church is the same way a husband is to give himself for his wife, sacrificially. The love that spouses are to have for one another is the love that Christ has for His Church; committed, delighting, faithful love.
Chandler also does a good job of not leave things in the theoretical sphere, but also offers practical advice throughout the book. The strongest section of practical advice is on conflict, or "Fighting Fair" to use his language. He borrows a good portion of it from other authors but it is very practical and Biblical. Honestly the majority of advice he offers could be used in any relationship, not just marriage.
The one critique that I can offer is on the chapter about sex. As a whole the chapter was very good. He had great things to say about healthy sex within marriage, but if felt somewhat one sided. It's typical in dealing with sex for authors to focus primarily on males and I was hopeful that Chandler would address both genders equally. While he does address women, the main emphases seems to be directed at men. While he did a better job than most, it still felt a little one sided.
As a whole I really enjoyed the book, especially the final chapter, which I found to be the most inspirational. While I am yet to be married, the thought of finishing well in marriage is something that is very appealing. It is something that I know I want to strive to achieve. Chandler gave a great call for all to do so and practical advice for how to do so. I pray that I one day have the opportunity to finish well and am faithful to the end.
My girlfriend and I read through this book together and discussed it page by page. It was a very helpful book and has super-charged the progress in our relationship. I definitely recommend this as a pre-marital counseling resource. For best results, I recommend that BOTH people read AND discuss this book. Underline the sentences you want to discuss, then get some coffee and talk through it-- maybe a chapter a week. You'll be surprised at how many interesting conversations unfold from doing this.
Wonderful book! My girlfriend/fiance/wife read this together throughout our relationship and it helped us communicate what we wanted from each other. One of the big things it did was get us on the same page. Knowing what we wanted from each other and how to keep God part of the relationship was so crucial. I had never given this level of commitment to a woman before and once I did it revolutionized our relationship. Having this level of talk allowed me to focus on my faith instead of completely focusing on her, which actually helped out so much.