By Bennard R. Wiese and Urban G. Steinmetz.
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census in 1967 one marriage in four is broken up by divorce. There are other marital troubles where the marriage may be legally intact but internally wrecked. The problem of marriage is really a problem of staying married. This book is presented by its authors as a manual to accomplish just that and to “like it.”
We live in a “high tension” society that is tuned to high living, fast ways and so-called “personal freedoms.” We are gorging ourselves to the gagging point on fun and frivolity. The laws of neither God nor Washington amount to very much for so many people in our land. All of this adds to a frantic problem of trying to keep the base of our society solid, viz., keeping the home what it should be.
As I read through this book I observed at least two very good features it has. First, the authors present the real problems that plague so many marriages. It can be ground down basically to the unhappiness that exists in far too many marriages that, although not in legal battles yet, are fraught with constant domestic fights, quarrels and arguments. The authors analyze why such things go on between two human beings who once promised God they would love each other till death and accept one another “for better or for worse.” Second, the book offers many constructive answers that serve to remedy such ugly situations. There is a constant effort throughout this book to make the reader aware of the fact that marriage is real-it is not the Hollywood type of fantasy or a mere physical arrangement. Marriage is presented in this book in Biblical terms where two human beings become “one flesh” with all that implies.
Quite well is there an analysis of the various “stages” through which the average marriage passes. From the “dream world state” to the “time of disillusionment” to the “time of misery” to the “time of awakening” to the “time of love” stage is a long way for two people, and many marriages never make it all the way through these precarious stages. Some marriages, of course, never encounter all of the problems and dangers the authors discuss, but for those that do, there are many things worth considering presented in this manual.
How do you build love in a home? Is there any way that it can be done? The formula that is offered by the authors of this book is “Communicate-Work-Pray which is to equal Mature Love.” Each of these elements is elaborated upon in a very readable and intelligent manner. It is amazing to realize after considering what these men have to say that it is quite possible that married people may have lived together for a long, long time without really knowing one another.
The treatment given to the problems surrounding the sexual relationship in marriage are done frankly and with good taste. The authors point out very clearly that in this “sex oriented” society where the movies and books are drenched in the sordid, perverted and licentious display of sex that real life is not at all that way. The place of sex in the marriage relationship is put into its Biblical connotation and shown to be something beautiful and normal between two married people.
There may be a point or two where the reader will disagree with the view of the authors on such things as birth control. I suppose I am mentioning this for self preservation, but while I agree with them in a married couple’s privilege to use birth control methods, others may consider this heretical. However, to those who agree with the authors you will find their discussion one that is done in good taste and yet very practical.
I recommend the book to every elder or preacher who has to deal with marriage problems from time to time. It also is a good book to use in the family. I rate it a good solid “G”. At the end of each chapter are several points for discussion based on what has been presented in the text. Of course, like any book, it should be taken only insofar as it is right and proper and to that extent I recommend it to you.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 21, pp. 5-6
March 29, 1973