Michael Farris and L. Reed Elam's chief concern is for homeschool parents to maintain God-honoring and successful marriages, but the insight and advice they offer in A Sacred Foundation is applicable to any Christian marriage. In fact, homeschooling isn't even referenced much throughout the text, except at the beginning when they describe the growing rate of divorces and failed marriages within the community, even among its leadership.
The greatest cause of this trend, they argue, is that men and women have basic needs within the marital union that often go unmet; when either party searches outside the bounds of that relationship for fulfillment, chaos ensues. Because men are to be the leaders of their households, the first and longest chapter deals with a wife's need for her husband's leadership, decisiveness and wisdom.
Chapters alternate between what a woman needs from her husband and what a man needs from his wife. Topics include allegiance, gentleness and compassion, and companionship—both Farris and Elam are able to illustrate main points with examples from their own marriages, though Scripture remains the final authority throughout.
While the title makes it sound as though it primarily offers a doctrine of marriage, A Sacred Foundation is intensely practical, with real life suggestions for implementing everything the authors discuss. They don't hesitate to call sin by its true name, and even a cursory reading is likely to produce conviction is men and women alike. Because both men have had long-lasting successful marriages, however, their wisdom is difficult to reject.
This is a book for married readers. Sex is discussed openly and often, and while the authors are never crass or gratuitous, the content isn't appropriate for most unmarried individuals, particularly young ones. If you or your spouse has even a hint of discontent, however, read it together as soon as possible. Engaging and forthright, it is far more importantly an excellent guide to the biblical teaching concerning healthy husband-wife relationships.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Marriages at Risk
- Gentleness and Compassion
- Affection and Beauty
- Protection and Provision
- Companionship and Mature Love
- Praise and Support
Conclusion: The Secret to a Great Marriage
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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