Book Review: Your Guide to Marriage

John Boakye’s Your Guide to Marriage is an encyclopedia for anyone desiring to be in a relationship that will ultimately lead to marriage and for married couples desiring to have a better relationship also, this is the reference book you need to have in your library.

The 329-page book covers the whole concept of marriage in the biblical context, how to prepare for it, the different roles of the husband and wife, communication and conflict management in marriage, dealing with in-laws, friends and work in marriage, money and sex matters, family planning, parenting, self-care, spirituality and legal matters.

The author does not mince words in spelling out what the Bible says about marriage and how to have a good one. This is probably the book we need in this era where statistics indicate that over 50 percent of Christian marriages end in divorce.

Several factors account for the high rate of divorce in Christian marriages and one of them is the question of who plays what role in the marriage institution. In John Boakye’s book, he clearly states the role of the man and the woman in marriage with the bible being his reference point. He reiterates the important point of making God and the Bible your focal point in marriage since He (God) is the author/initiator of it. The reader can thus, allude that marriage without the God-factor will definitely lead to confusion and subsequently to a divorce.

Marriage is a divine institution. It is of God and by God. He does not hand it over to you to do what pleases you with it, but He merely calls you into it to serve Him – John Boakye

While the man is the head who oversees all matters in the home, irrespective of his talent, age, wealth or education, the woman, on the hand, has the role of accepting the leadership of her husband and submitting to him as a believer of Christ. This should, however, inform the woman of who she chooses as her head.

The issue of submitting to the man in marriage is one which has raised concerns in some feminists circles in recent times. They see the concept of submission by the woman in the marriage as ‘prescriptive’ and making the woman subservient to the man. This has led to these feminist rejecting the submission concept outright but Reverend Andy Yawson in one of his sermons had this piece of advice for people, who in the name of empowerment, are not willing to adapt:

tweetThe book provides all the answers for individuals who did not go through the regular pre-marital counselling organised by the church or those who did not take it as seriously as they should have or those who simply want to refresh the memory on what they already know.

Your Guide to Marriage is written in simple language and in instances where the author needs to go technical, he does that and sometimes provides illustrations which help the reader understand the topic better. The examples provided are relatable and to the Ghanaian context.

John Boakye’s Catholic background reflects heavily on his references but that notwithstanding, Your Guide to Marriage is a must-read for any individual who desires to have a good marriage.

Book Review: Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul

For the Christian going through challenging times and looking for testimonies to rekindle their faith or that person who keeps wondering if God is still performing miracles as He did in the Biblical era then the Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul, compiled by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, is the book you need to read. I chose this book purposely to improve upon my Christian storytelling ability but as I went through the pages, I realised that the Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul was not just a book, but an epistle to the modern Christian which leaves an indelible mark on the heart.

The 378-page book is filled with 101 short motivational stories under the headings of ‘giving,’ ‘love,’ ‘facing obstacles,’ ‘parent and parenting,’ ‘dealing with death,’ etc. The stories are written so clearly that it is almost impossible to decipher who the target readers are. This probably indicates that the book can be read and assimilated by anybody in any age group.

When going through the book, you can almost feel your soul moving along with the different characters and some of the stories are filled with so many emotions that if you are the type who is easily moved to tears, you need to psyche yourself up for that.

It is quite challenging to select the most inspiring story from the book but being a new parent myself, stories under the ‘parent and parenting’ and ‘facing obstacles’ categories blessed me tremendously. One of the most touching stories titled ‘Medicine’ almost moves the reader to tears. The story is narrated by a single mother whose child had developed an ear infection. She had no money and because she lived on the outskirts of town and it had snowed heavily, it was almost impossible to take the child to the hospital. She made an urgent call to a doctor who prescribed a drug and listed places where she could get it from. She made frantic phone calls to all of these places but they all asked for money.  After several attempts which failed, the mother decided to break into one of the pharmacies and steal the drug since perhaps, that could save her child. When the option of stealing occurred to her, another voice immediately directed her to make one last call to a pharmacy which she obliged. She made the call and this time, the pharmacy decided to give the drug to her on credit. Not only that, one of the workers drove through the snow, to her location to deliver the said medicine. If this is not the work of God, then tell me who else can cause such a turn-around in someone’s life.

There are several stories in that book and it is not far-fetched to say the reader can see him/herself in at least two or more of them. As Christians, the Bible even admonishes us to encourage each other and build each other up (1 Thessalonian 5:11) and Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul did exactly that to me and I highly recommend it.

NB: I would like to see the African or probably the Ghanaian version of this book so that we can relate properly to the characters and the environment better (maybe I will do that collection).