Bestselling author Shannon Ethridge has teamed up with her husband Greg in this newest installment of the Every Woman's series. In EVERY WOMAN'S MARRIAGE, the authors put in their two cents on a myriad of marital topics, all with a singular goal in mind: that of igniting (and sustaining) joy and passion in marriage. Shannon's plainspoken deliberateness allows female readers the opportunity to study their own spousal relationship with an "insider's" eye.
As the female half of the Ethridge writing duo, Shannon offers scenarios and suggestions for recognizing potential pitfalls, recurring mistakes, and short-circuited communication attempts. Then she presents biblically sound alternatives for wives to begin consistently implementing and focusing on repairing damage already done. On the heels of Shannon's comments, Greg interjects the male's take on the same topic. This alternating presentation is both smooth and effective. Women are not left wondering how men perceive identical scenarios; they are handed them on a platter.
In this five-part marriage handbook, the Ethridges discuss (and dissect) the hows and whys of marriages in which both partners' hearts grow cold, understanding the wisdom of honing a "big picture" view of lifelong relationships, reasons why a man's joy and passions die, specific ways to reignite a husband's flame, and finally, throwing fuel on that flame to keep the momentum going over the long haul of a lifetime commitment.
One reason for Shannon Ethridge's popular appeal to female readers is her willingness to admit candidly past and current struggles. She invites women to stop hiding behind facades and fears and take proper initiative to "grow" a passionate marriage. For those women interested in investing time, effort and concerted compassionate love toward developing strong marriages, she lays out the goods by reminding readers "that men aren't all that different from women when it comes to their basic needs. Men have emotional needs too, and they can feel a sense of desperation when those needs aren't being met."
Shannon also tells her female audience not to be fooled by transient emotional counterfeits to genuine intimacy. Sure, those intense feelings of excitement are great starting points, but they are also superficial and temporary. Said this way, "intimacy can best be understood by breaking the word down into syllables: in-to-me-see." Only through long-term, living-with-someone kind of history can both partners experience the depth of real intimate love that God intended.
Thus, Shannon's admonition to "guard one's heart" makes practical sense. She notes that far too many couples forfeit this stronger, richer love simply because they never learned to make the transition from the fiery emotions of early attraction to the enduring, focused and self-sacrificial love necessary to a marriage that lasts. Says the author: "Your love for your husband won't be based on butterflies or fireworks, but on familiarity, honesty, trust, safety, security, and commitment."
Reviewed by Michele Howe on July 18, 2006