Egalitarian Books and Resources on Marriage

One of my readers who is getting engaged asked me this question the other day: “Is there a good egalitarian pre-marital counseling course we can take or a book we should read?”  I couldn’t answer this question myself so I asked around.  Ten resources were recommended to me by fellow Christian egalitarians, and I’ve posted them below.

I’ve been told that these resources encourage mutuality and equality between husband and wife rather than a gender hierarchy.  I can’t vouch for these resources myself, so if you have any experience with them, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Prepare Enrich logo
“PREPARE/ENRICH is the leading relationship inventory and skill-building program used nationally and internationally.  Built on a solid research foundation and proven to significantly improve a couple’s relationship, PREPARE/ENRICH is custom tailored to a couple’s relationship and provides couple exercises to build their relationship skills.”

“PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised couple assessment completed online that identifies a couple’s strength and growth areas. It is one of the most widely used programs for premarital counselling and premarital education and is also used for marriage counselling, marriage enrichment, and dating couples considering engagement. Based on a couple’s assessment results, a trained facilitator provides 3 or more feedback sessions in which the facilitator helps the couple discuss and understand their results as they are taught proven relationship skills.” (Source: PREPARE/ENRICH Australian website)  Their American website is here.

 


 
marriage before the ring

Before the Ring: Questions Worth Asking:  “How many times have you heard someone say, ‘I wish someone would have made me think about that before we got married’? Now you can help.   With wisdom, compassion, and a healthy dose of humor, William Coleman helps the person who is considering marriage to ask some of those important questions before the ‘big day.’ Before the Ring may be one of the most helpful gifts you can give a man or woman who is considering marriage. This revised and expanded edition brings you new chapters and 21 humorous and thought-provoking cartoons.” (Source: Amazon)

You can support Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) by buying Before the Ring through a link on this page.

 


 

Preparing Couples for Love and Marriage Preparing Couples for Love and Marriage: A Pastor’s Resource:    “Good preparation enables couples to take a first step together in facing their future challenges. While no one can smooth away all the rough spots in the marital road ahead, couples can be coached to pay attention to warning signs, see the bumps before they hit them, and deal more skillfully with inevitable conflicts. This book provides pastors with a framework and tools for this ministry. The good news is that you don’t need any formal background in counseling, because the kind of work we’re talking about isn’t counseling—it’s coaching—a coach who can help couples to respond positively to the differences between them. It’s not about having the answers; but is it about helping couples manage difficulties before they become serious threats to the marriage.” (Source: Amazon)

This book is written for pre-marriage counselors, coaches and pastors.  But it may be suitable for couples also.  Cameron and James have a website that a goes with their book here.

 


 

Together, Tim and Anne EvansTogether: Reclaiming Co-Leadership in Marriage: “God has different plans for marriage than you ever imagined. Join tim+anne evans as they explore a revolutionary perspective of what marriage can be-by going back to the beginning. In Eden, a married couple was created to reflect and reveal the oneness and plurality in God’s Trinitarian nature. A man and woman, both made in the image of God, and both given the procreation and dominion mandates. Together, naked and without shame, they enjoyed co-leadership.” (Source: Amazon)

The authors of Together were guest bloggers on The Junia Project in June 2014 where they discussed headship, submission, and authority.  You can read their blog posts here, here and here.

Together is available through the CBE Bookstore here, and through the REAL LIFE (Together) website here.  A companion journal will be published soon.

 


 

Marriage made in Eden 2010Marriage Made in Eden: A Pre-Modern Perspective for a Post-Christian World: “Why does marriage today seem to be such a far cry from Paradise? Let’s face it. Our culture’s version of marriage is not as God designed it to be. With a lot more emphasis on individualism and consumerism, today’s married couples tend to lose sight of God’s original purpose for marriage-a call for his people to take Jesus’ message to the heart of everyday life. Marriage Made in Eden provides a radical alternative to today’s view of marriage, giving a glimpse into the historical and cultural aspects that have shaped marriage in America. With this insightful analysis you’ll learn how marriage has come to be in the state we now find it and about God’s model and purpose for a sacred Christian union.

Alice P. Mathews is Lois W. Bennett Distinguished Associate Professor of Educational Ministries and Women’s Ministries at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. M. Gay Hubbard has more than thirty years of experience as a Christian counselor. She currently is in private practice with Christian Counseling Associates in Osbourne, Kansas.”

[Endorsements]
‘Alice Mathews and Gay Hubbard bring together decades of experience in this thoughtful, interdisciplinary volume.’ ~ Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, professor of psychology and philosophy, Eastern University.
‘At last a profoundly biblical book on Christian marriage.’ ~ Gordon Fee, professor emeritus, Regent College.
‘Must-reading for all Christians concerned with promoting an understanding of marriage that is in accordance with God’s intentions.’ ~ Stanley J. Grenz, Pioneer McDonald Professor, Carey Theological College.   (Source: Amazon)
This book is available through the CBE Bookstore here.

 


 

Marriage book Families GraceFamilies Where Grace Is in Place: Building a Home Free of Manipulation, Legalism and Shame “continues to minister to couples and parents nearly twenty years after it was first published. Using his professional and personal experience, VanVonderen shows readers how to nurture God-honoring relationships free of manipulation, legalism, and shame. This book is a practical and insightful discussion on living a graceful life and building a strong and happy home using God’s tools.” (Source: Amazon)

Here are a four more books that encourage healthy Egalitarian Christian marriages:

Heirs Together: Applying the Biblical Principles of Mutual Submission in Your Marriage by Patricia Gundry.
Bound and Determined: Christian Men and Women in Partnership by Jeanene Reese.
As for Me and My House: Crafting Your Marriage to Last by Walter Wangerin Jr.
Marriage Minutes: Thoughts for the Egalitarian (Collaborative) Marriage by my friend Gerald Ford.

There are even more books on Egalitarian marriage – as well as magazines and CDs – in the CBE Bookstore here.  You might want to check out this blog post too.

Are there any other marriage books, courses, and resources that should be added to this post?

Postscript:  Here is a small book (which I think is only available electronically outside of Australia) that has been written by Rev. Dr. Kevin Giles.  The book, entitled Better Together: Equality in Christ contains eight studies and has been written with group discussions in mind.  It covers more than marriage.  There are two studies on Genesis, two on Jesus and women, two on Paul and women, and one each on liberation and justice.   Plus, there is an appendix on “The Trinity Argument”.  Kevin Giles is well known for his books, papers, and lectures addressing the Trinity argument in discussions on gender.


Related Articles

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Advice to Newlyweds
Leading Together in the Home
God wants Women to be Happy in Marriage
Mutuality in Marriage – 1 Corinthians 7
A Suitable Helper
Articles related to Submission in Marriage

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Posted July 14th, 2014 . Categories/Tags: Equality in Marriage, , ,

18 comments on “Egalitarian Books and Resources on Marriage

  1. Daniel Hill says:

    This is so incredibly helpful – thank you!!!! I have been doing premarital counseling sessions for years, and have never been able to find something I liked. I am so happy to have some new ideas. Thank you – thank you!

  2. Erik says:

    Wonderful!! Thanks so much for putting this together, as I’ve often had similar predicaments. :)

  3. Gail says:

    Great job, Marg! Just would add that Tim and Anne Evans are coming out with a workbook of sorts to go with the book that will have some discussion materials. The title will be “TOGETHER: Reclaiming Co-Leadership in Marriage COMPANION JOURNAL”

  4. Marg says:

    Thanks Daniel, Erik and Gail.

    It was easy to put this post together. All I did was ask about Egalitarian marriage books on the CBE facebook page, and people responded with links. Then I copied and pasted info about these books from Amazon and elsewhere.

    Gail, I’ll add that extra information about Together.

  5. Erica Tate says:

    Can anyone suggest some good marriage counselling books for a Christian couple who are on the verge of divorce after 22 years of marriage? (There’s no adultery, or any Scripturally legitimate reason for divorce; she just can’t stand him anymore, and he’s getting that way towards her as well. He’s definitely not a good communicator, which doesn’t help, but she’s also full of unforgiveness and bitterness towards him, and neither of them seem to be seeking the Lord in any of this, even though they both were once lovely, dedicated followers of Christ.) All the books I can find are pre-marital, and I hesitate to recommend any personal marriage counselling for this particular couple because I don’t trust a non-Christian counsellor to see marriage as ’till death us do part’, but I also don’t know of any Christian marriage crisis counselling book that is not roles-based. Sorry for the long post! Hope it makes sense, and that someone can give me some ideas.

    • Aurora says:

      Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend might be helpful.

    • Jennifer says:

      I am editing a book right now that should be published in September. It’s called The Phoenix Marriage by Kyle Gabhart. He and his wife faced the same predicament, and they are happier together now than ever before. He wrote this book because of the same reason you stated – they couldn’t find any resources for rebuilding a marriage.

      If you’d like to contact him directly for advice/counsel, his email is kylegabhart[at]gmail.com. You can also find him at Equip Your Marriage Ministries (www.EquipYourMarriage.com) – and on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.

      Best wishes!

      • Erica Tate says:

        Jennifer, thanks for this. I’ve just looked up the website and breathed a sigh of thanks to Jesus… Kyle’s story sounds very similar to that of the wife that I’m concerned about. I just pray that she’ll be willing to read it.

    • Karin says:

      “Reconcilable Differences” by Virginia Todd Holeman might also help. Not a counseling book per se, it has the story of five couples who managed to reconcile after serious hurts in their marriage. The book also contains material on the latest research on forgiveness and reconciliation.

  6. Mari says:

    I’ve used Prepare and Enrich with couples for years. It is a wonderful tool!!

  7. Diane Roth says:

    I have been using Prepare/Enrich for a long time. I have no idea what the connection with Australian might be, but the materials were developed by a professor at the University of Minnesota (that’s USA) named David Olson. The headquarters used to be in Roseville. Their materials are very good and egalitarian. When I began using their materials, they were not exclusively for Christian couples, but different enrichments can be added to make them specifically Christian.

    • Marg says:

      Hi Diane,

      I really don’t know much about this material so I may have misconstrued what I saw on the website. I’ve now removed the wrong information about it being an Australian based company and have included the American web address.

      Thanks for bringing the error to my attention and for providing the extra information.

  8. Scott says:

    I recommend Walter Wangerin’s “As For Me and My House”:

    http://www.amazon.com/As-Me-My-House-Crafting-ebook/dp/B008PWZ2O4/

  9. SL says:

    Thank you for these “new to me” resources and descriptions!

    I will also put a good word in for the Wangerin book, As For Me & My House. It is beautifully written and if I could only give or suggest one book, it would be the one. But since I like books here is another good one, Just How Married Do You Want To Be? by Jim & Sarah Sumner. It is theology and story about practicing oneness in marriage. It is excellent.

    Having just celebrated a 35th anniversary, being in a faithful and committed marriage but finally accepting that my marriage may never be what I had hoped, I will suggest that really loving someone as Christ loves them may mean living with a type of hopeful sadness for the sake of Christ. With that in mind, The Enneagram – A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr helped me really understand how my husband is wired and why he is unable to interact in marriage in certain ways. I wish we had known this from the beginning. And, Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage by brothers Michael and Chuck Misja. When your spouse is unwilling or unable to change, how do you continue on in marriage and not just exist but thrive? I am still working on this and trust God for the future.

    I hope the best for those working with couples and especially the couple ready to give up!
    SL

  10. Amy says:

    What a great list of resources.

    I was thrilled to see Tim & Anne Evans’ book TOGETHER on your list. Primarily, I was thrilled to see it because it is a fantastic book that is full of both great stories and practical application when it comes to walking out co-leadership in marriage. Also, I was thrilled to see it because the authors are actually my parents. :)

    As a woman, a wife and a lover of God and His design for marriage, I would say buy this book!

    As a daughter of Tim & Anne, I would say that I have had a front-row seat as they have lived out this message over decades of marriage. As a grown adult with children of my own, they continue to challenge and encourage me to wholeheartedly pursue God’s purpose and plan in my life and marriage. I couldn’t be prouder of them and their book, and I know that you will be equally blessed to hear the message that God has put on their hearts.

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