When I first started reading Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne Mack, I was not interested in what he had to say because I am not married or engaged. My views began to change, however, because of the way that Mack presented each issue. Every point that he made he backed up with multiple Scripture passages. Several points that Mack stated really opened my eyes to a new perspective of marriage.
First, I really liked how Mack took a whole chapter to discuss the wife’s responsibilities in the home. Throughout history, people have held skewed views of a woman’s role in the house whether it was the view that a woman is her husband’s property or whether it was the view that a woman is not under her husband at all but is free to do whatever she chooses (the 20th century view). Mack biblically analyzed the wife’s role and then clearly defined what the Bible teaches about submission. Although I have seen this correctly displayed in my own home through the life of my mother, it was very encouraging to read a detailed description of what a Christian wife should be. Even though the wife’s submission is mandatory and not a choice (which goes against the grain of 21st century thinking), Mack declared that submission should be a joy which flows from a heart of love. Instead of feeling oppressed, the wife should delight in the protection that her husband gives her and show her support of him through her submission.
Second, the chapter on good communication was enlightening. I have read other books on the different ways that men and women think and have often been frustrated when I have been misunderstood my brother or one of my friends. The idea of never going to bed angry should be a keystone for every marriage, but even more so than that should be the idea of being open and honest. If something bothers me that someone else does, I tend to just claim that it can be covered with love, and then I do not ever tell them that what they did has bothered me. While Christians should cover things in love, Mack made the statement that all communication in a relationship should remain open and honest so that feelings are not hurt and misunderstandings are avoided. This idea is practical for every relationship, not just between husband and wife.
Third, I really enjoyed learning about personal finances, because as I prepare to leave my father’s house and start making my own way in the world, I need to have money smarts. Although Mack applied his financial chapter to married couples, the same principles and ideas can easily be transferred to a single person. By saving money now and paying off any educational debts that I have, I can save myself a great deal of stress later on in life if I do get married.
– Hannah S. Bowers
Mack, Wayne. Strengthening Your Marriage. New York: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1999.