Monday, June 16, 2014

Romantic Conflict: Embracing Desires That Bless Not Bruise by Brad C Hambrick

Romantic Conflict: Embracing Desires That Bless Not Bruise by Brad C Hambrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There can never be enough good resources on marriage, marital conflict, and marital romance.  And by “good” I mean Gospel-soaked and explicitly biblical.  There is a shocking abundance of pragmatic, self-help, self-centered marital works masquerading as biblical and labeled as Christian but there is a serious lack of works that meet the qualification of “good” that I gave above.  This new work in The Gospel for Real Life series is most definitely “good”.

Hambrick takes the reader through one passage, Luke 9:23-24, from three different perspectives.  He gives a basic and clear general exposition of the passage and then proceeds to apply it to two key marital stressors: romance and conflict.

I was initially skeptical when reading the section on conflict.  I felt, and still feel, that the example he gives of dealing with conflict (and similarly romance) is silly.  But I think I felt/feel that way because of how counter-intuitive his approach is.  Hambrick seeks to take the visible word aspect of the sacraments and apply them practically in the areas of conflict and romance by helping spouses demonstrate the truth of the Gospel to each other.  I am excited to try it and offer it as an option in the pre-marital counseling my wife and I are doing.

Hambrick does well to base his counsel in the Gospel.  He gives much practical advice but is clear that trying to accomplish any of this apart from the residing presence of the Spirit of God is a fool’s errand and destined to end poorly.  He encourages accountability, honesty, and a resting in the Gospel of God’s immeasurable grace found in Jesus Christ.  This is a work worth reading and implementing.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

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