Waterbook Press - Christian Living/Love & Marriage
I received this book along with three others as part of a Valentine's Day promotion. I'll have a sneak peek post up, tomorrow, and it will include chapters from three other books, as well: For Men Only, For Women Only and The Love As a Way of Life Devotional. I've seriously enjoyed this little pile of books.
I Do Againis what I guess you could call a couple's memoir that is specifically for people facing divorce (I'm not, but it was still interesting reading). Cheryl & Jeff Scruggs were married for 10 years, made a great deal of money, lived in a beach house and eventually had cute twins. Externally, their life appeared perfect. But, Cheryl was unhappy and didn't know how to express her needs to Jeff. She was a natural flirt and attracted a lot of attention from male co-workers. Eventually, her flirtation with one man turned into an affair. She found someone who listened to her and communicated in a way that she and Jeff had never managed; she thought this new man was her "soul mate".
Eventually, Cheryl divorced Jeff, in spite of his attempts to dissuade her. But, the divorce didn't make her any happier and it was only through prayer and study of God's word that Cheryl eventually realized she wanted to reconcile with Jeff. By that point, Jeff couldn't even look her in the eye. It took a great deal of immersion in the Bible, prayer and effort but seven years after their divorce, Cheryl & Jeff remarried. The book alternates between Jeff's & Cheryl's viewpoints and it leaps around in time quite a bit, but not in a way that ever lost this reader.
As a book designed to give hope for restoration to Christian couples on the verge of calling the whole thing off, I think I Do Again is a very good book. Neither Jeff nor Cheryl attended church when they met, although both grew up in Christian households. They had no spiritual basis to their marriage and their marriage had pretty much been dashed against a brick wall by the time they began to attend church. As much as I found myself wanting to slap Cheryl upside the head, I think most of her problems are pretty common. In this case, the wife didn't really try to communicate. She just cried a lot and shoved her husband away.
What can this book do for a couple on the verge of divorce? I think it could very well help them to slow down and reevaluate options. Cheryl & Jeff's focus is spirituality. They believe that a Christ-centered marriage, in which God is first and the couple second, is most important.
The one thing I really disliked about I Do Again was the repeated references to how perfect their life was (lots of money, great jobs, huge home, etc.), how beautiful Cheryl was and Jeff's handsomeness. That just gets a little tiresome. Okay, so you're pretty and he's good-looking and you had a cushy life. Great. I always find that kind of "Gosh, darn it, I'm so freaking wonderful" focus irritating, regardless of who narrates.
Fortunately, I didn't stop to consider the irritations as I was reading. It's a quick read with good flow and the authors admit up front that you may find Cheryl's past behavior shocking. Since their reconciliation, Cheryl & Jeff have begun a ministry to help other couples focus on spirituality in their marriages and prevent divorce.
I recommend the book specifically for couples who are dealing with similar marital issues that appear unresolvable and who are in need of a little hope and advice from someone who has been there.
Next up will be the sneak peek chapters and reviews of For Men Only and For Women Only.
It's very possible this marathon training thing will kill me before I get around to posting, though. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I'm trying, but I am feeling very old and creaky. Hubby is limping and whining, too. We're such a fun couple.
Two weeks old, but this is what it looked like in Vicksburg, today:
Yeah! Love that cool (but not cold) and dry (but not such that you have to keep lotion in your purse) weather.