01-Nov-2015 10:38

Dating books reviews a joeuser article

Online dating services provide a similar context." Likely Stanley does not intend to convey to his readers that it is unnecessary to finding someone who shares your faith so long as you prepare for marriage well by paying off your debt, breaking bad habits, and addressing past experiences.

If marriage is the end goal for love, sex, and dating—and presumably Stanley would agree that it is—then a helpful launching pad would be to examine the purpose and parameters of this covenant before moving forward.As I stumble through the awkward limbo of single, yet soon-to-be-married, I've tried to read every resource tagged within the "marriage," "love," and "relationships" genre.This, and the fact that I was desperate to escape the zillions of online articles dissecting from every possible angle (though I'm grateful for their messages), prompted me to download a copy of Pastor Andy Stanley's new book on romantic relationships to my Kindle. Geared towards the young, unwed, and culturally savvy, Stanley explains in the introduction that his purpose for writing (Zondervan, January 2015) is to "increase your relational satisfaction quota." What does that mean? Still I pressed onward with hopes of encountering helpful gems of wisdom and Christian counsel over the next 200 pages.After all, the author is the Evangelical pastor of the largest church in America. The book's strength lies in providing clarity on the idea that love is an action, not an emotion.While presenting I Corinthians 13:4-8, Stanley moves slowly through each of the Apostle Paul's love descriptors careful to paint a clear picture of what love looks like when it is "not easily angered" or "rejoices with truth." By using Scripture—an overall rare occurrence in this book—Stanley creates an easily digestible to-do and not-to-do list with practical, contemporary examples that squash the fairytale "love" narratives inundating our culture. I was disappointed with Stanley's book for a couple reasons, the first being its lack of depth.I'm grateful that Stanley tackles other tough issues like sexual purity before marriage and how to explain biblical submission to our friends.

But if readers don't have a foundational understanding of the moral implications of the marriage covenant, then the rest of the discussion is pointless.

This is the most troublesome part of Stanley's book.

Undoubtedly, he has provided Bible-based premarital and martial counseling to thousands of struggling couples.

But instead of pastoral counseling, readers are offered endless clichés like, "the right person doesn't always act right," "your relationship will never be healthier than you," and "fix your pet, not your partner."Stanley does expound on his amusing sound bites, but prefers to draw from clever anecdotes and humorous stories rather than Scripture.

For example, in the second chapter he explains that "preparation is more important than commitment" when it comes to marriage. When it comes to relationships, commitment is way overrated." An odd statement, especially since Stanley nodes towards America's high divorce rates in the previous chapter."Don't get nervous.

I don't believe church people are the only ones preparing to commit." He continues, "Church happens to be my context.

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