With endorsements from such notable names as Les and Leslie Parrott, Patsy Clairmont and Emilie Barnes, UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE comes highly recommended, and after unpacking its timely contents, readers will not be disappointed for opening it and inspecting it thoroughly for themselves.
Authors Don and Jan Frank write from a wealth of experience, including more than 23 years of marriage and 18 years of conducting marriage seminars across the United States. What's more, Jan is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice and the Franks are actively involved at a large church where they teach couples classes and mentor newlyweds.
With considerable candor, the authors each share stories of dealing with their own history and baggage, effectively drawing readers into the dialogue. The Franks use the mnemonic device of rhyme to suggest that "you must first face the negative patterns you have from your history, then trace them back to their roots, take steps to erase them, and replace them with healthier patterns."
The authors mean to mark the distinction between history and baggage. According to them, "our history is made up of the events and experiences that shape our lives," while "our baggage is the emotional response to our history." Unclaimed baggage is what we ignore or deny rather than identify as ours and deal with appropriately, they explain.
Whether it's a duffle bag of depression, a flight bag of fear or a garment bag of guilt, readers are encouraged to reclaim their baggage and move forward in dealing with it. Meanwhile, the authors successfully employ the use of alliteration to aid readers in the recall of three types of historical baggage: treasured traits, tarnished traditions and tabled transgressions.
As the authors define them, treasured traits are the positive qualities developed within our families and other significant relationships, while tarnished traditions are the repetitive patterns, expectations and predispositions we have adopted from our histories. Tabled transgressions are the obvious and obscure losses we've all experienced but haven't considered significant in our present or future.
With action steps included at the end of each chapter, readers are moved to carry on the work of claiming their baggage after reading about how to do it. As the authors state, "once you've claimed your baggage, you can unpack it, unload the burden of it from your marriage, and learn to travel lighter to the glory of God."
UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE is an excellent resource for couples, whether engaged, newly wed or those celebrating decades of married life together. By applying its timeless truths for properly dealing with the past, couples will be well on their way to a stronger and healthier marriage. Think of it as luggage for a lifetime of growth in love.
Reviewed by Sean Fowlds on May 1, 2003