Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson
My Personal Review ~ 4 stars ~
Reforming Marriage was a very interesting and thought-provoking book. I must say, I’ve not read many books on this subject that are as straightforward, non-apologetic, and radical in its views. Some of the points that Douglas Wilson presents in this book (and some his other books) seem a little rigid and maybe even coming from an unconsciously legalistic heart? But I’ve learned that Douglas Wilson is a writer for John Piper’s ministry (https://www.desiringgod.org/authors/d…) which makes me more comfortable reading his work because I really respect John Piper and his theology (all that I’ve heard so far). And these books were written quite awhile ago – in the 1990s.
So, while I don’t strictly agree with everything in this book, it was rather relieving and refreshing to hear a firm Christian voice on the topics of MARRIAGE // HEADSHIP // SUBMISSION // RESPECTING A HUSBAND // CHERISHING A WIFE // MASCULINITY // LEADERSHIP // MEN & WOMEN’S ROLES // BEING A HOMEMAKER // CHILDREN // BIRTH CONTROL // DIVORCE // and so forth.
I mentioned above that Douglas Wilson almost appeared to have a legalistic view in certain areas. But I also noticed, in more areas than not probably, that he expounded on grace, forgiveness, and new beginnings.
“But what about those who, by the time they read this book, have already done everything wrong? They are now on their third marriage and are troubled by guilt. The good news is that God picks us up where we are, not where we should have been. There is always forgiveness in Christ. Those in such a situation should confess the sin, accept God’s forgiveness by faith, and begin to live in submission to the Word of God.” [Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson]
Some things he said about the woman’s role and such made me squirm a little inside. But in the same breath, his overall presentation of marriage is much more attractive than the modern marriages I see all around me! Small errors in judgement or not, Douglas Wilson’s view of marriage seems to be much more Biblical than most of the views on marriage in the general church today. All in all, Reforming Marriage made the passion for God’s design burn brighter in me! Let’s start really digging into the Word and seeing and living out God’s original design for womanhood, manhood, marriage, sexuality, parenting, and life in general!
The home is such a central part of life. We can see in our world today that with the tearing down of the family comes the eventual destruction of everything good, peaceful, and pure. And, from God’s original design, man was created as the head of the household. So he is responsible for the home, and for the beauty or for the darkness that comes from it.
Reforming Marriage really hit hard on the man’s responsibility as head of the home and spiritual leader. And it was very intriguing and eye-opening. The husband has a massive responsibility, and so I wouldn’t take marriage lightly! Whether he likes it or not, he is the head. And whether women want to admit it or not, we want our men to lead! Women don’t generally respect a man who doesn’t lead, protect, and provide … because that is what he was designed for! And she was designed to respond and to support.
“A woman should marry a man she respects, and a man should marry a woman he is willing to love and lead with a servant’s heart.” [Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson]
I really love the idea of God giving man a task, and then bringing a woman to him to help him complete that task (Genesis 2). I pray that I can be a supporting, encouraging, joyfully Biblical wife someday! What a unique and beautiful design! The idea of a godly man who joyfully and firmly leads, protects, and provides for his wife … who regularly studies Scripture and pursues God individually and with his wife … who answers her theology questions and points her to Christ … who cherishes her and takes his job of raising their children seriously … That is incredible! We need men to rise up and be masculine, hard-working, gentle, godly, assertive, kind, strong, Christ-like men.
“The husband must make a conscious decision to utilize his strength for her protection and benefit, and not for his own. He can only do that in imitation of Christ. In the Christian family, the way to an understanding of true authority is through service.” [Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson]
To wrap it up, on a whole, I really enjoyed reading Reforming Marriage. Some parts were definitely better than others, and I have my questions and doubts concerning some of the views. But still, I gleaned a lot of helpful information and incredible insight, and like the idea of reading this book with my husband should I marry someday.
I recommend you read with an open mind, and always lining up what’s said against what the Bible says! As with all Christian Living books, don’t take everything as gospel-truth. The Bible alone is the Holy Word of God. But we can definitely gain some wisdom from books from fellow believers.