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By Winston T. Smith
Can Ordinary Marriages Become Extraordinary?
He snapped at her during breakfast. She brought up a past mistake. He walked out angry. She left without saying good-bye. An ordinary day in an ordinary marriage. But what if things could be different? What if the moments that seem the most ordinary moments of annoyance, conflict, pain, or cold indifference could become moments in which you're able to understand God's incredible agenda for love and begin to do something new?
Winston T. Smith, drawing on his extensive experience as a marriage counselor, offers a simple yet powerful prescription for changing your marriage. He shows how examining the everyday disappointments and irritations in your marriage will help you understand yourself, your spouse, and your need for God's love. Change begins with seeing day-to-day interactions from a different perspective, taking simple steps to love one another more effectively, and then learning how to take those steps over and over again. Interactions that used to devolve into pointless annoyances and fights can become an opportunity for God's activity and love to become increasingly evident and powerful. The principles in this book will take your marriage to extraordinary places and lead you into a deeper relationship with an extraordinary God. Don't settle for an ordinary marriage, learn to live out God's extraordinary love in your most intimate relationship.
Winston T. Smith, M.Div., is a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF), has extensive experience as a marriage and family counselor, and teaches seminary students how to counsel couples. He is the author of the minibooks, Divorce Recovery: Growing and Healing God's Way; Help for Stepfamilies: Avoiding the Pitfalls and Learning to Love; It's All About Me: The Problem with Masturbation; Who Does the Dishes? Decision Making in Marriage and Burned Out? Trusting God with Your "To-Do" List.
"Winston Smith shows us how the transcendent purposes of God are at work in the midst of the seemingly mundane moments of our marriage. There is perhaps no greater garden in which the fruit of the Spirit grows in our lives than the garden of our marriage. Winston helps us see how God is at work in every aspect of our marriage to bring our need for His grace in our lives to the surface and, in the process, to conform us to the image of His Son."
- Bob Lepine, Co-Host, FamilyLife Today
"Marriage Matters is a biblical look at the spiritually formative aspects of marriage; true to Scripture, insightful, and convicting in all the right ways. Winston Smith has written a fine volume on the way God uses marriage to shape our souls."
- Gary Thomas, Author of Sacred Marriage and Pure Pleasure
"Marriage Matters is a helpful resource for couples to understand God's purposes for marriage as well as to think through their own expectations and reactions when things go wrong. I especially liked Section 2 where the practical application of biblical truths was fleshed out in specific ways. The chapter, 'Person or Object, Honor or Manipulation,' should be mandatory reading for every married person."
- Leslie Vernick, Counselor; speaker; author of How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong and The Emotionally Destructive Relationship
"Life is made of moments, and what makes a marriage successful is learning how to see the beauty in each, even the ordinary ones. In Marriage Matters, Winston Smith provides the tools every husband and wife need to make the moments in their marriage turn into a lifetime of extraordinary memories. A great read. . ."
- Dr. Tim Clinton, President of the 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors; author of Before a Bad Goodbye and The Marriage You've Always Wanted
How to Use
Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change through Ordinary Moments gives counselors, pastors, and couples an in-depth look at how the gospel changes marriages. Although the book is written directly to married couples, it can be used by pastors and counselors as they work with couples in a marriage enrichment course or with individual couples. (Counselors might pick and choose which chapters to assign according to the couple's most pressing need.) It is also an excellent resource for those doing premarital counseling with an individual couple. Each chapter ends with "Think about It," a section that helps readers to apply the principles from the chapter.
Who Is the Product For?
This book is suitable for couples who are married, engaged, or are considering marriage, and for pastors, counselors, and laypeople who counsel couples.
The Marriage Matters Manual: Extraordinary Change through Ordinary Moments is a small group and counseling resource that takes the principles from the book, Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change through Ordinary Moments and helps couples to apply them by using case studies, group discussion, in-depth Bible study, and relationship building exercises in a ten-week course. The Facilitator's Guide has notes for the small group leader inserted throughout and guidelines for how to run a marriage enrichment course.