Marriage is difficult. There I said it. I won’t sugarcoat the truth and say marriage is all unicorns and rainbows, because it’s not. As a husband who’s been married for about 4 years, my wife and I have argued, fought, and went through some very difficult times in our marriage. When you bring two people, who are often very different from one another, together in marriage, conflict inevitably will rear its ugly face.
The Bible first mentions marriage in the Book of Genesis. “The Lord God said, “ It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (2:19). Well God brough to Adam all the wild animals and birds of the sky, and various other living creatures, and he named them, but “no suitable helper was found” (2:20). So God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. “While he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united (or shall cleave unto) to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (2: 21-24). Both the husband and the wife are called to “leave and cleave”, leaving behind the family they were born into, to form their own family as husband and wife. Cleaving is further described as “becoming one flesh”. Cleaving and becoming one flesh is the intimate act of sexual intercourse, the joining of two souls, that God intended to be within a committed marriage.
This joining of two souls in marriage and becoming one flesh can be difficult and bring conflict. But marriage is the most rewarding, fulfilling (both emotionally and physically), and even fun, to be with someone for a lifetime. Here are 5 books that every man should read to be a better husband.
1.Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage: How Healthy Conflict Can Take You to Deeper Levels of Intimacy, by Dr. Greg Smalley
This book was provided to me from Focus on the Family, but is available to purchase on Amazon. The author Dr. Greg Smalley, talks about the typical issues spouses fight about in marriage, such as money, sex, in-laws, and kids. He explains how the “reactive cycle” when conflict occurs when spouses push each other’s buttons and then we react. This cycle can make spouses feel stuck. He explains the best way to get out of the reactive cycle is to identify your buttons. His book explores how to move away and break the cycle of unhealthy conflict within marriage, that could lead to divorce, and to develop healthier ways to fight and resolve conflict amongst spouses.
2. Making Marriage Simple: Ten Relationship Saving Truths, by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt
This book was recommended by a friend. The authors of this book put forth 10 relationships truths. Rather than going through each of them, my favorite truth is number 3: Conflict is growth trying to happen. They explain that conflict in marriage is not only normal, but inevitable and even valuable. We should not avoid it, deny it or run away from it. I highly recommend this book.
3. A Lifelong Love: How to Have Lasting Intimacy, Friendship, and Purpose in Your Marriage, by Gary Thomas
Gary Thomas is a well-renowned writer. He’s the bestselling author of Sacred Marriage. Mr. Thomas discusses how marriage was designed by God to make us holy more than to make us happy. Oftentimes, spouses want to leave the marriage because they are no longer happy. But God designed marriage to bring us more than happiness. He talks about how couples often settle for too little when it comes to marriage. He helps the reader understand biblical love and why God designed marriage. He will surely challenge what you think marriage is about.
4. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, by Dr. Gary Chapman
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should have heard of this book at some point. This book was a #1 New York Times Bestseller for 8 years running. Currently ranks #15 on Amazon Charts for the past 50 weeks; selling over 11 million copies. Dr. Chapman pioneered the idea that we each speak a different love language. The five long languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Each of us has a love tank, and when it’s not filled, we feel unloved. This book helped my wife and I understand each of our love languages. My love language is Word of Affirmation, while hers is Receiving Gifts. Understanding how each of our love languages has improved our marriage for sure.
5. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, by Timothy Keller
This book by Timothy Keller is for both singles and married couples. This book shows the reader what marriage should be according to the Bible. He dispels many modern assumptions about love and marriage (i.e. soulmates, divorce is OK, etc.), showing why they are wrong. The Meaning of Marriage will provide instruction on how to have a successful marriage, according to the Bible.
I hope these five books helps every husband be a better spouse. Moreover, I pray these books can help each man understand what being a husband and what marriage is according to the Bible. God created marriage to be between one man and one woman. If you have any other book suggestions, please leave a comment.
Christian, Husband, Political junkie, Braves fan, Marvel Nerd, craft beer aficionado, and a sinner saved by grace. He has a passion for helping Christian men grow in their faith. He is the founder and editor of Joshua’s Outpost.
Great book recommendations! I’ve read 3 of the 5.
Great book recommendations! I’ve read 3 of the 5.