Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

Prayer + Marriage = Winning Formula

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First off, the legal stuff you can skip if you’re not a lawyer.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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I think I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I intentionally picked up the book Couples Who Pray: The Most Intimate Act Between a Man and a Woman by SQuire Rushnell and Louise DuArt specifically as a “love dare” kind of challenge for us before Valentine’s Day. I’ve felt that my prayer life is something that needs some exercise in 2011, and while Erika and I used to pray together before we had kids, we’ve been missing that for a while, and I was hoping that this book would be a good roadmap we could use to get back on track.

This review is going to get a little negative, so I want to first say that I think that praying together as a husband and wife is not only a fantastic way to keep close and strengthen your relationship, but it also seems to be a necessary component to a man’s role as spiritual leader in the household. If the husband takes an active role in ensuring that he prays with his wife regularly, then the kids will pick up on that and recognize the importance of prayer other than when dinner is served.

Unfortunately, this book never really delves into such issues. The first chapter basically sets the premise for the book: that couples who pray will have better sex (sorry, “lovemaking” p.12). Now, that’s not a bad reason to pray and you certainly could argue how it would promote marital fidelity, but that seems like such a base reason to lead off with. And honestly, I don’t need to hear about the sex lives of a bunch of complete strangers. I already have enough Every Man’s Battle issues, please.

The book itself is poorly written in the cheesiest language possible. When I looked him up on Amazon, I was honestly shocked to see how many books Rushnell has written. Maybe I am not the primary audience for this book (it seems like it speaks to women whose marriage is already in some state of decay), but I’m thinking that if you want the guys to buy into the plan, you need to write it in such a way that you’re not going to turn your stomach every 5 minutes reading it. I even read some of the passages out loud to Erika, and she agreed with me on the cheese factor. For example, they insinuate that Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford are close in their marriage because they share the same birthday.

The book says that it includes a 40 Day Prayer Challenge, but nothing practical is really offered. They give you tips on how to get started and some advice to start a journal for the process, but other than that, you’re on your own. Like I said before, the target audience seems to be women in failing marriages, and I would think they would need some better guidelines to get their husbands involved and engaged in the process. One appendix does provide Bible verses to frame your joint prayers around, and another has a couple of questionnaires to fill out and revisit after the 40 days is complete.

But, my primary reason for not liking this book is so simple that I can’t believe it was missed: there’s very little involvement of the Bible. 36 pages and almost 2 chapters in, we get our first Scripture (1 Cor 13:8), and from there a handful are sprinkled throughout the rest of the book. Again, I’m assuming that this is because the book is targeted at failed marriages or maybe even unequally-yoked couples where the man isn’t going to want to hear a lot of “Bible beating”. Personally, it made me feel like the book had very little authority other than it makes sense for couples to pray together, because look at the outcomes.

Part 3 of the book is a little bit more practical and less fluffy, but by then they had lost me as a reader. One of the treats of the book is that they interview celebrity couples who pray together, and it is neat to see how role models and people with great demands for their attention fit prayer into their lives. Pauletta Washington (wife of Denzel) was particularly inspiring to ready about, and I would much rather read her stories as opposed to many of the others in the book.

All in all, I’m disappointed, but I’m continuing to look for a good book on this topic for a belated Valentine’s Day read. Do you have any favorites or suggestions?

Never stop praying.—1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)


One thought on “Prayer + Marriage = Winning Formula

  1. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Great review yourself. For Valentine’s Day — I’m a big fan of the Love Languages and just about anything by Gary Chapman.

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