I recently finished Matt Chandler's book The Mingling of Souls. This is a great relationship book. I say relationship book because it's not just another book on marriage. It covers more ground than that. Chandler does a great job walking the reader through the entire book of Song of Solomon; a highly poetic and often misunderstood book. It's a relationship book because it deals with the entire relationship between as man and a woman well before and well after the marriage ceremony.
Why this book is needed
The biggest reason this book is needed is precisely because it covers the breadth of the entire relationship from beginning to end. This is observed right in the table of contents. The first 3 chapter titles gives the reader a clue that what happens before and after the marriage ceremony carries a lot of weight in the marriage. Chapter 1 deals with attraction, while chapter 2 deals with dating, and chapter 3 deals with courtship. The final 3 chapters deal with what happens after the ceremony. Chapter 6 deals with fighting fair, chapter 7 with the need to keep pursuing each other, and the book concludes with chapter 8 entitled, "I'm not going anywhere"
This holistic view of the relationship between a man and a woman is needed in our churches and in our culture. Most people in church only consult the pastor after they are engaged in order for him to perform the ceremony (if then) or when they have problems within the marriage. Most people in our culture probably don't even do that and when problems arise, they usually just bail out. If both groups viewed it more holistically there would be much less hardship in marriage and much less divorce; both inside and outside the church.
Who needs this book
Four groups immediately come to mind.
- Pastors - To better prepare their people for the realities and complexities of relationships.
- Young people - To help them better understand relationship dynamics with the opposite sex.
- Those who are already married - To deal with bumps in the road that happen in every marriage.
- Those who are contemplating divorce - To remind them of the importance of the holy covenant they've entered into.
"... there is no avoiding the stress and fallenness of the world, especially in the covenant commitment of marriage!"
"... where there is no thoughtful concern and care for each other, the relationship is already dying."
"In courtship you see each other's wounds, and you also see how each respond to woundedness."
"If the gospel of Jesus Christ is not at the center of a wedding ceremony, it is likely not going to be at the center of the marriage."
"Intimacy is hard for broken people."
"... all frustration is birthed out of unmet expectations, and so is nearly every conflict."
"... the greatest enemy of keeping the fire burning in our marriages is just plain laziness."
"Regardless of our life stage, regardless of where we are in our marriage, there's still a pursuit."
All quotes taken from the kindle edition of The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler ©2015 published by David C Cook.