Sunday, April 22, 2012

Love & WAR!

For the record, Blogger and an iPad do not mix! This is the second time i am writing this post! 

So, here we go! Today I am gonna review a study guide that we finished in the Life Group that my husband and i co-lead for young married couples. We read Love and War by John and Stasi Edredge. 
Let me begin with what I did not like!

The bad:
Let me begin by saying that this study guide was maybe meant for couples that had been married longer. Our group is made up of couples that have been married less than 5 years. Just out of easiness, I will be using bullets for this portion of my review.

  • Many of the questions were worded oddly and had to be reworded in order to be applicable to a younger crowd. The wording was even awkward, i think, for an older crowd. 
  • I feel that the themes presented were not as clear cut as they should have been. The titles did not really give a quick give away on what the theme of the chapter would be. 
  • The topics were not always relevant to younger couples. This was frustrating at times for my husband and I as well as our co-leaders. We had to grasp at what to talk about!
  • The study was not as Biblically based as I would have liked. Rather it was based on the authors' perspective of a Christian marriage. I would have liked more Biblical relevance overall. 
  • The DVD - it was often corny! There were two segments to each session. The first segment was always the authors talking and repeating whatever had been read in the study guide. Certain key points were highlighted and reviewed. The authors were also in a number of scenarios - in a canoe, in the dining room, in the bedroom, etc. The second segment was like listening in on a small group of couples. I felt this is where they could have made it more applicable to younger couples by having a younger couple be a part of the group. But alas, they did not. 

So while there was so much to say on the bad side, there is still a little bit to say on the good side of things! Have i mentioned that i did not like this study much? Maybe I am being overly critical, but i think a book that is geared towards married couples should span a larger group of people. 

The Good:
One thing i liked was that i did learn a couple things:

  1. I learned that so often when our spouse does something that we perceive as uncaring, we can come to quick conclusions that are not usually positive. For example my husband may do something that is careless, but in my head i might think "if he really cared about me he wouldn't do that." These negative thoughts are called "agreements" by the authors. I think having an awareness of these "agreements" is truly half the battle. It has changed some of the ways i think about how i treat my husband and how i perceive how he is treating me. 
  2. I feel that this book has helped me as a leader of a Life Group. It really challenged me and my husband to come up with relevant topics for younger couples. We had to think outside the box a bit and this challenged us to even pull together and work as a team. Though thsi was not always easy, i think it helped both of us to be better leaders. We also learned about one another quite a bit. 

 I think that covers most of it! Though i feel that this study guide was not the greatest for our group, it may be better for other groups! If you are a part of a married couples group and wish to do a study on marriage I recommend that you wait a while to do this one. However, whatever study you do in a married couples group I HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing a couple activities in conjunction with your study! The first activity would be to make a Newlywed Game! this was a ton of fun and it truly brought us together! It was a blast! The other activity that left us all feeling blessed was to have a panel of couples that we could ask questions of at our church. I think that we had something like 90 years of marital experience between all our panelists and boy was it WONDERFUL! I left having learned many things! 

While i do not recommend this study guide, I do recommend John Eldredge's other books. Wild at Heart and Captivating (written by both John and Stasi Eldredge) are both great books that deal with gender roles in relationships and in the church. These are both books that i enjoyed and learned from! 

Are any of you a part of a small group, life group, prayer group or otherwise? What have you studied? What would you recommend?