Hoffman, a leader of Men on the Edge Ministry, a support group that encourages spiritual leadership in troubled marriages, offers specific advice on how to mend a relationship on the rocks.
Putting God in the center of one’s life, applying his word (as read in the Bible) in daily life and bringing Christian marriage principles into one’s relationship are at the heart of this guide to knitting up the raveled sleeve of a marriage—and must be applied to any marriage, in Hoffman’s estimation, if it is to prosper. Though God remains the guiding force throughout—and there are biblical quotations aplenty to serve as guideposts if readers are to take that path—readers who don’t subscribe to any religion may still find lots to learn from the author’s insights. Much of what he says is deeply inclusive in nature, and the modes to deploy his words are many. Consider what Hoffman has to say about listening: “God gave us two ears and one mouth. Maybe he wants us to listen twice as much as we speak.” The author advises that when listening to one’s wife, one should face her squarely, lean in, relax his body language and make eye contact, and her partner should try to understand and value her feelings: “This is called empathy and women love it!” His delineation of bad behavior—manipulative, controlling, demanding and resentful behavior; conditional love and inappropriate anger; revenge and placing the blame on others—is raw, instructive and will likely hit plenty of familiar notes with readers. The discussions of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control all have spiritual tones, but even nonreligious readers will see the value in these qualities. Hoffman’s moral foundation finds all these behaviors to be necessary by any rubric, and the author’s understanding of pain and suffering also offers solace to imponderable grievances. He cuts no corners and tenders no easy answers, explaining that healing a marital rift will take courage, humility, forgiveness and understanding.
Hoffman has chosen a Christian path to mending marriages, but his toolbox is open to all comers.