Book Review: Catching Foxes by John Henderson

I have read a lot of good, helpful books on marriage. I've read Keller, I've read Tripp, and while I like all the books I review (or else why would I recommend them), I don't think I've ever said this is "the best" book on the subject ... until today. I think Catching Foxes by John Henderson is the best book on marriage. It wasn't too heady or wasn't overly repetitive. It was extremely biblical while easy to read, understand, and apply. It covered all the bases, both before and after the wedding ceremony. I liked it so much, my outline of the book covered seven typed pages that I'm adopting into a marriage seminar for our church for early 2016. You may think I'm pumping up this book too much. Maybe I am, but 1) it's that good, and 2) it's not without it's flaws. The editing of the book could have used a read through or 2. I found grammatical errors (wrong word, missing punctuation, etc) throughout the book. If you've read my blog long enough, you know I'm not a grammatical genius ... so if I say them, they must be pretty big. But that is my biggest critique of the book, and this critique won't stop me from using it with couples during pre-martial counseling. Ok, maybe the title is bad too (but at least it gets explained). But that's it, the rest of the book is gold.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"The most vital preparation for marriage is internal. Our hearts must be awakened, matured, and strengthened in Jesus Christ." (pg. 12)

"Marriage comes from God. He designed it in His own mind." (pg. 14)

"No matter what your experiences have been throughout your life, they are important. They do not determine you, nor do those experiences compose who you are, but they have influenced the way you think, feel, and live. They have not caused your view of marriage, family, and life, but they have impacted your view. (pg. 23 - 24)

"Most of us, I would guess, don't begin dreaming of marriage as a way to sacrifice our desires and wants, but as a way to fulfill them." (pg. 36)

"If you are not seeking God above all else, then your marriage will bring frustration, bitterness, and disappointment." (pg. 44)

"... one of the sweeter qualities you can ever bring into your marriage is a deep grasp of grace." (pg. 54)

"Be honest about who you are in Christ. Know who you are in Christ. Get ready to trust Him in every corner of your marriage. He will accept nothing less. He will be infinitely patient with you, but He insists on changing you." (pg. 59 - 60)

"At the very inception of marriage, the mystery-union of Christ and the church was being showcased." (pg. 65)

"Marriage is the visible, physical, temporal covenant that pictures, embodies, and points to the eternal covenant between Christ and the Church." (pg. 69)

"The sacredness and awesomeness of the marriage covenant, first and foremost, should humble our hearts and drive us to God for His merciful aid." (pg. 78)

"... whenever we grasp the compassion of God toward us in Jesus Christ, we will automatically put on compassion for others. When we comprehend the kindness of our Lord toward us, then kindness toward others becomes more instinctive and unavoidable." (pg. 84 - 85)

"Christian marriage should be distinguished from other kinds of marriage, not by the absence of sin, but by the presence of redeeming and reconciling grace." (pg. 87)

"A husband's love for his wife means joyful self-sacrifice empowered by the Holy Spirit that has as its aim the eternal good of his bride for the glory of God." (pg. 99)

"No husband and wife are perfect, but by God's sovereign design, they can be a perfect fit for one another." (pg. 104)

"A wife being subject to her husband means joyful honoring of her husband’s will and position, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that has as its aim the eternal fruitfulness of her husband for the glory of God." (pg. 116)

"Headship and submission do not begin on earth, but in heaven." (pg. 116)

"Selfish desires are those desires so strong and self-interested that we are willing to sin in order to achieve or preserve them, or sin in attitude or action when our efforts to achieve or preserve them fail." (pg. 133)

"The kind of desiring that would provoke quarreling and fighting among the people of God is the kind of desiring that involves a deep love for the world and its things. It is therefore, spiritual adultery. Being bitter and angry when our personal goals are thwarted is "hatred toward God." It is choosing friendship with the world. It is choosing to be an enemy of God. (pg. 134)

"If you want to resolve conflict fruitfully in your marriage, then you will need to learn how to forgive your spouse the way Christ has forgiven you." (pg. 153)

"The real and difficult task in resolving our marital disputes biblically involves seeing through the many topics of dispute in order to deal with the issues of the hearts beneath." (pg. 163)

"Sexual union in marriage is worship. It celebrates our union to the Lord by serving and enjoying union with our spouse." (pg. 167)

"No human being needs sex so deeply that sin becomes necessary. It is a gift from God, not a need." (pg. 169)

"Fighting over money does not arise, firstly, from poor techniques with money or better ideas for using money. They arise from hearts using money based on sinful craving and fears. (pg. 188)

"Faithful giving in our lives begins by purposing in our hearts to give ..." (pg. 196)

"All our wants and expectations in marriage have to be examined carefully under the lens of Scripture." (pg. 209)

"Our expectations lead us to where we have placed our hope. Our hope will tell us where to put our expectation. Both of these belong firmly fixed on Christ. If your expectations and hopes are set on Him, then you will probably expect to sacrifice in marriage." (pg. 218)

"Jesus Christ provides the surest, sweetest, and most powerful resources to put your marriage on solid ground and help it grow. Namely, He provides Himself. And He provides Himself to us through His Spirit, His Word, and His Church." (pg. 228)

"The Word of God is the raw material His Spirit uses to bring hope, healing, and transformation to our souls." (pg. 230)

"The genuineness of our faith is proven and grown inside the furnace of daily life. Marriage often provides a great deal of heat and fuel for the furnace." (pg. 244)

"The deadliest feature to our sin is our blindness to its existence." (pg. 253)

"Whenever we humble ourselves before the Lord and His words, our hearts transform and bear fruit. The Spirit takes the raw material of God’s word and uses it to free and and grow our souls." (pg. 259)

"... whenever we humble ourselves before God’s people, our heart’s grow and bear fruit. The Spirit takes the raw material of Christian fellowship and uses it to expose, teach, and refine us." (pg. 260)

"We cannot bear His image well without living in fellowship to others." (pg. 263)

All quotes taken from Catching Foxes by John Henderson ©2011 by John Henderson (in association with the Association of Biblical Counselors).

I know I say this in every book review, but ... GET THIS BOOK! If you're married (or soon will be ... or even are hoping to be some day), if you are a pastor, if you're a counselor you will want this book in your library. It's a wonderful resource for the church.

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