Hugh and Cindi McMenamin have served in ministry for more than 20 years, and over the course of those years have had many opportunities to observe and counsel married couples who feel they are drifting apart and can't really explain why. In WHEN COUPLES WALK TOGETHER, the McMenamins have created a very practical and helpful guide that can serve to draw couples closer together and put some romance back into their marriage.
In addition to a clearly defined Table of Contents, each chapter represents a day of the month in which that chapter is to be shared and discussed. Broken up into sections, the guide allows couples to take turns reading and to pause and reflect on the topic. For example, in the chapter for Day 4, “Praising the Positive,” Cindi shares an anecdote to illustrate this step. She tells about being pulled aside by her youth pastor, who told her that Hugh was an awesome guy but was one of the moodiest people ever. Cindi was defensive and said that Hugh was a deep thinker, not an impulsive talker, and that was just what she wanted in a husband. Then she writes, “Now, after 22 years of marriage, instead of appreciating my deep thinker, I find myself, at times, thinking things like Hugh is the moodiest person I know.”
There are several ways to handle a situation like this, in which one of the most endearing things about your mate during courtship is now the very thing that drives you up the wall. Not to be outdone, Hugh relates his feelings about how he had always admired Cindi's way with words and her skills as a journalist. But he adds that “after more than 20 years together, there are days when I wish she wasn't quite as verbal, especially when she finds something she thinks is wrong with me. And, she's reciting her thoughts unabridged and I'm looking for the Reader's Digest version.” I'm sure that readers can come up with their own annoying characteristics that they have “discovered” in their mates.
How did Cindi and Hugh deal with this issue? They learned the importance of focusing on the positive traits in their spouse. As it says in Philippians 4:8, “Keep you minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worth of praise.” In order to get past this type of issue, each must “choose” to focus on the positives and minimize the negatives when it comes to their mate.
As in each chapter, the authors offer “Taking the Next Step,” which suggests ways to turn negative thoughts into positive ones by reframing. This is followed by an exercise called “Going the Extra Mile” that encourages couples to talk about what attracted them to each other in the first place.
Finally, the last section, “Going the Distance Through Prayer,” encourages a joint prayer, asking God to show them how to follow the plan that He inspired through the Bible.
Whether you would like to use this book for a small group study or simply to spark up your own marriage, WHEN COUPLE WALK TOGETHER offers excellent suggestions and clearly stated Biblical principles and confirmations.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on January 1, 2011