2 books, same title, both worth reading.
My husband and I celebrate 10 years of marriage this summer. Along the way there have been many changes, moves, jobs, growing pains, 2 wonderful children, new degrees earned and a LOT of growing, learning and having fun. As we've entered into a new phase of our lives we set the goal of creating a marriage mission statement. This statement is actually layered and focuses on many different aspects of our marriage.
1) Personal Goals
2) Desires in raising our boys (creating thoughtful, tender hearted children who are on fire for God)
3) How we will partner in ministry
4) How we will support each other in our separate ministries
5) How we will best represent Christ in our marriage.
This whole idea started last year when I read the book Praying Big for Your Marriage. The last chapter of this book is all about creating that mission statement. As I thought about it more over the fall I decided it would be an awesome thing for us to do, so I presented the idea to my husband over Christmas break and he agreed. Here we are 6 months later still trying to formulate exactly what it will look like.
All that to say, these two books, same title, different authors have been awesome tools as we continue this process.
The first book, by Ray Rhodes Jr. is really a summary. It is 20 pages or so, is easily read in under and hour and is an excellent spring board to conversation and formulating firm ideas. He even suggests you take a weekend away to spend time reading the book and to begin writing the marriage mission.
The second book is a more extensive version of the first. I would be interested to find out if these authors know each other. Regardless, they in no way contradict each other. They expound on the same verses the same ways and bring up the same thought provoking questions. What I really appreciated about the second book is that the authors (husband and wife Rob and Amy) take time to speak to their own gender on 3 specific attributes found in scripture about their respective roles in marriage. Each chapter has questions for the spouses to ask each other all with the goal of growing together and learning how to work better as a team.
I found both books helpful, challenging and great resources. I have always said my top 3 marriage books are The 5 love languages, Love and Respect and Sacred Marriage. All 3 are referenced. :)
One note: Both books speaks specifically to the subject of children in a marriage going so far as to say it is a calling from Christ. They are sensitive to acknowledge this doesn't necessarily mean having those children "naturally" but if you are a couple who has decided children are not in your future you will probably be offended by these books.