A debut booklet offers basic advice for a Christian marriage.
In his work, Bell, a graduate of the Memphis School of Preaching, semiseriously answers the famous Tina Turner lyric. Starting from a fundamental belief that God is love, he elaborates on how love is essential to a Christian marriage. Chapter 2 explains various types of love: agape (God’s unconditional love), phileo (brotherly love), and eros—differentiated from simple lust. Your spouse should be your best friend, the author argues—the most important, loyal, and committed relationship in your life. He then goes on to suggest one cannot have close friends of the opposite sex, characterizing these sexually threatening figures as “Mr. Cute Casanova” and “Ms. Fine Flirt.” Chapter 4, “Women—Don’t be Silly,” insists there can be no more girls’ nights out once a woman weds (“You could be setting your marriage up for failure. You must stop trying to prove to your friends that you can still ‘hang out’ and do whatever you please”). A short section giving the three components of a successful marriage (compatibility, commitment, and communication) could be expanded. Chapter 6 reveals simple ways of showing love, including a dinner date and compliments. A later chapter stresses the importance of training children in abstinence. The overall problem with this 16-page work is that it breaks no new ground. The text sometimes repeats Scripture almost verbatim without referencing it, as in these lines on Page 9: “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone, but also to her husband. Likewise, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone, but also to his wife.” A few other popular songs are alluded to, but one is given an incorrect title (“My Way” is called “I Did It My Way”). The frequent “(smile)” asides seem like a sign that the author hasn’t mastered the art of injecting sarcasm naturally. Words in boldface and all capitals are similarly unsubtle ways of showing emphasis. Presumably this pithy booklet is intended to be handed out to youth groups or in premarital counseling sessions; while it might be a useful jumping-off point in those contexts, its superficiality will likely frustrate keen readers.
A jokey pamphlet on love, faith, and marriage that lacks depth.