In the spring my husband and I will be married a quarter century! While anticipating this milestone, I also want to focus on making our marriage even better for the next 25 years.
As you probably know, every long-term relationship develops blind spots. To discover and eliminate new blind spots that have popped up, I read a marriage book every few years. Many of these books are a disappointment although they do help in a small way.
However, My Beloved and My Friend by Hal and Melanie Young is a refreshing change from standard marriage books. No psychobabble. Honest and transparent stories from a couple that has been married for 26 years and friends for even longer. Cheerful but realistic encouragement. And, above all, careful Biblical explanations.
In fact, the title, My Beloved and My Friend, is a quotation from the Song of Solomon.
The goal of Hal and Melanie’s book is to tell us How to be Married to your Best Friend without Changing Spouses. I have learned that unfriendly or careless attitudes can very easily sneak into my life, especially during times of stress, and especially in my marriage. Before long, we wonder what’s wrong, and often the simple fact is that we no longer treat each other with ‘the same tolerance, grace, forgiveness and trust’ that we show to our other friends. And that is the problem this book seeks to address.
The Youngs discuss all the standard marriage topics and more, grouping them under headings chosen from Genesis 1 and 2:
- It is not good for the man to be alone (leaving parents, cleaving to each other, being friends)
- A helper suitable for him (sickness, submission, fidelity and loyalty)
- Fill the earth and subdue it (the physical aspect, number of children)
- Have dominion (money, the division of labor)
- In the image of God he created them (the spiritual aspect, being of one mind, fighting win-win)
In each thoughtful chapter, we learn more about Hal and Melanie. Even in their writing, their respect and love for each other is clear. Despite cancer, 8 bed-rest pregnancies, and the busy-ness of raising and homeschooling those 8 kids, they are still friends—and all of us can learn from them as they share hints, dispel myths, and turn the reader to the Bible.
As I look forward to the next 25 years of marriage, I am so thankful to have read My Beloved and My Friend. Not only has it already added that extra bit of spark to our marriage, but it also has given me hope for the looming empty nest years which I dreaded. With my best friend at my side, they might even be good.
My Beloved and My Friend is currently available to pre-order for Christmas delivery – two months before its official release date of Valentine’s Day, 2014. While you’re waiting for Christmas, remember: he’s your friend as well as your husband.
Another book written by Hal and Melanie, Raising Real Men (link to my review) was the Christian Small Publishers Association 2011 Book of the Year. I would not be surprised if this book won a similar prize.
Not sure if it’s for you? Read more reviews.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Hal and Melanie Young in order to review it. No other compensation was received.