Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway - Marital Bliss


When I heard Michelle and Christy wrote a book for new brides, I knew immediately that it would be worth reading. I've enjoyed these two sister's deliberate and transparent God-focused writing on their blogs. Last year, Michelle wrote My Brother's Keeper, a book sharing the story of a young handicapped boy that attends our church and it continues to be a favorite story of our children.

But Marital Bliss was written for brides experiencing the joys and adjustments of new marriage. I just passed my eighth anniversary and am not really a newlywed.

How well I remember the first months of marriage. I expected some changes. I remember asking why a woman was expected to plan the biggest social event of her life, take an extended trip, prepare a house for habitation, move into that house, take on a new name, adjust to a different schedule, be wholly responsible for all the cooking and housekeeping - all while learning to be a wife and lover! Just thinking about it scared me spit-less!

Surprisingly, the transition from being single to a married couple was rather smooth. Ed and I talked often of how we fit seamlessly together from that first "I do".

Was it because of the long agonizing hours of conversation? Even before our engagement, we had discussed and worked through a myriad of differences. Was it because of the awesome role models of both sets of parents who had showed us, in real life, a marriage built on strong leaders and supportive submissive wives?  There were some adjustments, like menu planning and learning the Mennonite life. But mostly, we were so grateful for the ease in beginning marriage.

But that isn't all I remember about that first year. About six months after our wedding day, our eagerly anticipated pregnancy ended abruptly in a miscarriage and the bottom fell out of my perfect world. To say that I didn't deal with grief well, is an understatement. Ed always said he was first attracted to me because of my bubbling joy, but now I was a tear sodden puddle. I cried. all. the. time. Tears flowed when seeing a tiny baby at Walmart, when yet another friend called to say she was pregnant, when one more month went by and I wasn't. I could keep a cheerful face in public but Ed knew all the nights he held me tight while I cried. I hated who I had become. I wondered if I'd ever be a joy filled wife again.

By our first anniversary, I could look back on a fun, almost giddy year of making a home with the love of my life. There were trips, backyard camp-outs, private jokes, and silly memories I'll never forget. Marriage had been better then I ever dreamed. That first year, I learned so much about myself and my husband, about God and His sovereignty, about grief and life. I saw how God can heal a broken heart. I wouldn't want to relive the year, neither would I be the same person without the experiences of that first year of marriage.

Okay...so is this a book review or a trip down memory lane?

If my first year was so full of changes, growth, tears, and laughter - maybe Marital Bliss would have been a valued asset through those days!

Even though hardly a bride, I jumped at the chance to give away one of the books - which meant, of course, I had to read it to give a review! By the second chapter (on the topic of fear) I was pulled into the book. By page nine, I had grabbed my notebook to jot down a quote. By the chapter on communication at the end of the book, I was remembering some failures just the day before, and my toes had been stamped on hard. I finished the last page and had to fight the urge to wake up my sleeping husband, in the midst of his well-deserved Sunday nap, just to say how much I loved him and was glad to be his!

Marital Bliss is written from a Mennonite perspective. I love that being a homemaker and supportive help meet to your husband is assumed. There is practical suggestions for cooking, canning, grocery shopping, and hospitality. But best of all, the book clearly describes a marriage built on Jesus Christ. Whether the topic considered is loneliness, self acceptance, or the three lettered taboo word - Scripture is searched for application on the nitty-gritty details of life.

Adding to the experience of Michelle and Christy is the survey responses of many other brides. There is also  a couple chapters written by more experienced wives on topics such as submission. You can't read this book without feeling a wave of relief that the changes and struggles you face are normal, that you are not the only one who loves your husband passionately yet feel confused about your role in your new life. This would be a great book to encourage a young bride in your life - but don't be surprised if you are tempted to read it first - and find yourself challenged - whatever your age!

I'm excited to share a copy of Marital Bliss with one of you. If you want to join the giveaway, just leave a comment. Since I love to  hear wives brag up their man, share a quality about your husband that you appreciate. If you are not married, just share what quality you would value in a husband. You can also visit the new bride guide and learn more about their book and the authors.

 Thanks to Michelle and Christy for sharing a copy of their book for this giveaway. Giveaway open until August 18.


  1. I've been hearing about this book and would be delighted to get my hands on it! :)I am married to a wonderful man. One thing I appreciate about him is when he sees something that needs to be done i.e, changing a diaper, mending the church roof, he jumps in and does it. Even when I know it would be easy for him to think he's done enough and it's someone elses turn now. Or it's been a long day at work but the children need baths and he notices that I'm tired too and runs water into the bath tub.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Oops! for got to leave my email address...lovemylittlefamily at yahoo dot com

  3. sounds like a wonderful book. i'd love to read it and then pass it on to my younger sister who is getting married in six weeks!:)
    the thing i love most about my husband is his positive attitude that he brings to everything. he always keeps me laughing and helps me see the positive side of everything. i love that about him.
    also so thankful that he is such an awesome daddy to our kids. couldn't ask for better. it totally blesses me.

  4. Gina, as I look forward to getting married in September, this book review caught my attention. Philip, my fiance, works hard, serves others, and has a great sense of humor.

  5. Just one?!?!? :-) I'd say his Godly leadership and sense of humor are among my top 10, but I could go on....would love to add this to my reading pile!

    Eunice B
    tigergal01 @ gmail .com

  6. I'm blessed to have a godly husband! He is one of the kindest people I know. :)


  7. Clocking in at just over three years, not sure how newlywed we are anymore! But would still love to read this and donate it to our church library.
    My husband is steady and unwavering. He does not get easily flustered, is never quick to anger, and unlike me, is the last person to have an emotional outburst over a difficulty. That's because he's too busy solving the problem to take time to get upset. He balances me perfectly. :)

  8. I appreciate my husband because he is hard-working and does not complain. He is an awesome father to our girls.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I have always said the wedding was the easy part of the deal. The MARRIAGE is the journey and there's a lot more to it than having a service and meal and pretty people!!!
    We had a lot in common yet there were a lot of adjustments to be made and then when he felt led to the Anabaptist faith, I had to make some more adjustments. I have been making adjustments for almost 20 years now but it is worth it!

  10. Hi Gina,
    I saw the book yesterday and was wondering about it. I don't know the family so I was unsure to read "advice" from an unknown source. Thanks for reviewing it!

    I am married to a wonderful man, and you know what I love most about him? His understanding with my hormones! Some times those things can be uncontrolable (I do put up a good fight with them!). My husband is so kind to send me away to breathe without it being a fight or saying something rude.

    The other day he pulled my 4 boys aside and said, "Mom's hormones are really bad. Be kind to her." and they asked what hormones are, he replied, "Well, they start with HORROR for a reason!" I would recommend the book Tilly by Frank Peretti. For miscarriages. Have a good day!

  11. I'd love to read this!!
    One thing I appreciate about my husband is that he works hard to support my dreams of being a homeschooling stay at home mom. He sacrifices daily so I can be at home.


  12. This book sounds very good, even after 35 years I believe you can always learn something new, that can better your marriage. Would love to read it and pass it on to my daughter. My husband loves the Lord that means the most to me.
    I love the fact that he has always treated me like a queen, he is so helpful and understanding and thinks of the little things that make such a difference. He truly is my best friend.

  13. One of the things I am currently appreciating about my husband is his caring nature as I'm pregnant with our first child. He checks in often to see how I'm feeling and if I need anything-- so sweet of him.

  14. My husband and I have been married for 10 years now! And we have been blessed with 5 precious children here on earth so far!

    One of the things about my husband that I admire the most is his work ethic. I don't know very many people who work as hard as he does. And he's teaching our boys to be hard workers, too. I love him so much and have so much to learn from him!

    Leah ~ terrytribe(AT)gmail(DOT)com

  15. I've been wanting to read this book! I love my husband's calm/even-keeled spirit! He helps me keep my sanity during stressful times : )

  16. I smiled to myself when reading your review about your giddy first year of marriage as I thought about how my first year was very similar. Thanks for bringing those sweet memories to my mind. I appreciate how calm and truly kind my husband is. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  17. I have been hearing about this book even all the way over here in Poland. Do you think I still need it after being married 20 years? We just celebrated our anniversary, and we shared together some of the things we liked about each other. What I like most is the way my husband has become more sensitive to my needs than ever before in our marriage.

  18. I would love to read this book. We have been married almost 6 years, so I guess we're not considered newlyweds anymore, although I still like to think of us in that way! =) My hubby loves taking our 2 year old son with him when it's possible and it gives me a much appreciated break.
    My email address is: dejkman@gmail.com

  19. cant wait to read this book! Ive heard alot of good about it!

    Id say my husbands #1 thing i appreciate in him is his calm, stable, and steady approach to anything that comes his way! Its one of the things I was attracted to him first off; and still catches my eye.


  20. My husband can never leave dishes undone. He will not do anything else until all the dishes are in the dishwasher or washed. E-mail address--waldronelaine@yahoo.com

  21. Its hard to list decide on what to post. I love my husband for his leadership qualities and the way he loves our little girls and takes time to interact with them. Also, He is the stable one and very optimistic. A real encouragement to my life!


  22. I would so love to read this book. I want to give one to my sis who got married last summer.. So, will proly read it first and pass it to her.
    I love my hubby dearly, he will clean up a messy room for me and organize the kids into a work-bee.. I could go on.. It's coming on 12 yrs.. and it's been awesome!

  23. Whoops! my email is junior_lydia@pa.net

  24. This book sounds wonderful! One of the many qualities I love about my husband is his sense of adventure. He loves to take us on outings to new places, especially hikes and other nature trips. :) And even when things don't turn out exactly as we planned, he's so good at turning it into a fun adventure anyway!

  25. I would love to read this book! I appreciate the way my husband leads out in our home, is involved in our children's lives, his sense of humor...and i could go on.

  26. I would love to win this book - I would read it and then share it. My husband is so wonderful. I watched him for 2 years help take care of his dad (who suffered with a brain disease and passed away this February). He never complained when his Mom called at all hours of the night or day for help or when he had to be the sole caregiver for (several) week-ends to give his mom a break. And on top of all of this he still provided for our family. He is wonderful and truly sent from God.
    Thanks, Cindy (cnrclc@yahoo.com)

  27. Gina-I wonder if you even know who I am...formerly Shaunda Lehman, now Shaunda Stoltzfus.

    I would love to read and have Christy and Michelle's book even though I have been married for 7 years now.

    One of the things that I admire most in my husband is the way that he adores me even in my ugly brokeness at times. I know that by now he has seen some rather unattractive and ungodly qualities in me, but he still chooses to praise me and affirm me in a way that makes being his wife a true delight.


  28. This book looks so interesting! Especially since I am getting married in 12 weeks:)and I have several friends getting married this Fall with whom I would also like to share it.
    One of the things I appreciate most about my fiance (although I could probably write a book on the subject;) is that he is so lovingly understanding when I'm stressed, my hormones are "misbehaving" or I'm just in the mood to talk his ear off:) No girl could ask for a better man!

    my email is

  29. Sounds like a great book! I have been married for just now 11 years. My husband is very supportive, working hard so that I can stay home with the kids. He never complains and is always very helpful around the home! I'd love to read more books based on the Mennonite faith, so even if I don't win, maybe you could list your recommendations on a post some day!? Thank!

  30. There are lots of things I love about my husband (of course) but one of the main things is, he never gets grumpy, I on the other hand is grumpy ALOT, but he is always cheerful & happy!! I just discovered your blog through through Christy's website!! Can't wait to ready more!!

  31. I appreciate my husband's willingness to work hard and provide well for his family. He is also a wonderful dad and I love too that he is not scared to help me out around the house. Oh and he is an awesome love note writer...can't forget that!

  32. I love my husband because he is such a wonderful embodiment of the Ephesians husband, loves me as Christ loves the church. I am humbled by God's love poured over me by bringing my husband into my life.

    TMRomania at yahoo dot com

  33. Since we've been married more than forty (40) years, we definitely aren't newlyweds. I'd be glad to learn from this book & share it with our five (5) married daughters. My husband has a strong work ethic - only one (1) of his many praiseworthy qualities. lhilty1@comcast.net

  34. My husband is a hardworking provider for our family and wonderful father to our daughters.

  35. I love how my husband is so helpful in anything there is to do; clean up, yard work, diaper changing, disciplining children, etc. I am so blessed to be married to such a wonderful man! I keep hearing about this book and would love to read it. Anne @ lapps4him@epix.net

  36. This book sounds like a must-read! Although we've been married almost 17 years, there's so much more to learn that can make a good marriage, even better!
    I love my husband for so many reasons...he's more than I deserve! He's always kind, up-beat, and never gets depressed or moody about the little things in life that can so easily 'rock my boat'! He's so good at planning parties on our balcony (complete with chocolates, sparkling juice and candles) after the children are in bed!
    Thanks for giving us the chance to win this great book!

  37. My husband is my best friend and one of the most positive people in my life. He works so hard and I appreciate all he does for our family. We celebrate our 12th anniversary on Sunday :)

  38. Calm and kindhearted would describe my husband.


  39. We'll be celebrating our 10th Anniversary in a couple of weeks. I thank God for these precious years. Would love to read the book.
    brint byers@pa.net

  40. One of the many things I love about my husband is how he helps around the house with whatever needs to be done...from washing dishes to changing diapers!! I'm so glad to be married to my best friend.

  41. Hello.

    I just stumbled across your blog. It's great to meet like minded folk online.

    I am sorry to hear about your miscarriage!


  42. Gina-I love reading your thoughts, reviews, ideas, and day to day life. My second son remains with Jesus due to a late miscarriage as they call it-my water broke, and the cord strangled him-I have spent a long time thinking if I would have did something different, and how could I not have known what was going on because I am the mother why didnt I do something, help him, etc. I have been very blessed to find support from God and my husband with this loss. My husband and I have had our ups and downs and one thing is for sure life is a classroom-we are always learning, always trying, always working. My husband is a hard worker, he held me together when we lost Baby A,he is a wonderful father to our other children, and I am proud to be his helpmate and so happy that God found made us for each other. Despite that we are not newlyweds, I would love to have this book, and then pass on to my oldest daughter whom we were blessed to have adopted out of the foster care system. Thanks for your blog it is truly an inspiration!

  43. Gina,
    I just heard about this book the other week and thought it sounded very interesting. I always enjoy reading and learning how to love my wonderful husband better. May God give us more homes that are considered blissful!

  44. I want this book! My husband is my rock when I'm an emotional mess, is not swayed by fear of man, and will get up with children at night and change diapers!
    Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  45. I would love this book. I have been married to a wonderful man for over 24 years and to say they have not been easy would be an understatement. We have went through miscarriages, deaths, fibromyalgia, heart attack, and money issues. However, through it all we have always been able to remain best friends. Right now we are going through some of our hardest times yet but with the lords help we will make it through and I am sure be stronger for it.

  46. I would love to know what state you live in. I am from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Your lifestyle is not new to me and reminds me of what we used to do on the farm. We no longer live on a farm, but still have the memories of butchering and gardening. Oh, yes cloth diapers too. I got on your blog to see how to make tea concentrate by recipe, instead of "guessing".

  47. Orpha -
    I live in PA too - a few hours from you!


I love to hear from you.


Related Posts with Thumbnails