Book Review: More Than a Match

Title: More Than a Match

Subtitle: The 5 Keys to Compatibility for Life

Authors: Michael and Amy Smalley

Publisher’s Synopsis: You’ve searched a lifetime for that special person, but how can you be absolutely certain that you’ve found “The One”? And more important, how can you hold on to that love for the rest of your life?

More Than a Match explores the “compatibility factor,” demystifying the science behind matchmaking and giving you the tools you need to find the love you want. You’ll learn how to apply the specifics of good compatibility to a prospective date or mate, as well as how to break things off when you find yourself in the wrong relationship.

But since great relationships aren’t built on compatibility alone, marriage experts Michael and Amy Smalley also delve into the “forever factor,” giving you the skills you need to turn your romance into a lifelong love affair. You’ll learn how to deal with conflict, how to develop a healthy sex life, and how to recover when you inevitably hurt one another.

Fantastic marriages begin long before the exchange of the rings; they start when two people in search of love commit themselves to learning to how to love well…and forever. Because finding and keeping the love of your life is about much More Than a Match.

I don’t think I’ve ever read anything more transparent in my life.    How’s that for an opening line?  Honestly, what more could you expect from a book that includes information about one of the author’s previous engagement!  I have to say, I wasn’t always comfortable with the level of transparency (I think they were a little too frank at times), but in this world of so few real life mentors, I do understand the reason for it.  Had I not been reviewing this book for WaterBrook, I would not have finished it.

Now, that makes it sound like it wasn’t a good book.  That’s not true.  It was a very good book and has so many things in it that I think any couple, dating, courting, engaged, or married– doesn’t matter– I think they all could benefit from much if not most of the book.  Furthermore, I can even see it being an excellent guide (removing all sexuality from it) to investing in friendships even if you’re never going to be romantically involved and/or if you are of the same gender.    There is much wisdom in learning from the mistakes and successes of others, and this book shares them from the standpoint that compatibility is a good thing to consider in a relationship, but it is not a guarantee for success.

This is the kind of book I’d recommend for couples that are about to become engaged.  He’s ready to pop the question, they both know it, but as much as you love and respect each other, do you know how to work together as a team?  Are you ready for how the other person lives in day-to-day life?  Do you have any of the major risk factors for divorce (or misery in marriage if you are one of the rare people left for whom divorce is never an option)?

I agreed with every principle promoted in the book (as far as I remember).  However, several of their conclusions or methods I take issue with.  Anyone reading the book who knows me knows what I think of recreational/serial dating especially when not ready for marriage.  I hold very strong convictions as to how I think Paul has instructed wives in Titus chapter two.  However, the principle behind their variances of method don’t negate that we are on the same page principle wise.

Note:  To those who are sick to death of reading how women should submit and ignoring the man’s admonition to serve and love as Christ loved the church– you’ll love this book!

One particularly beautiful story was especially meaningful for me.  Early last spring I added a huge section to one of my novels involving foot washing between a newly married couple.  It was beautiful in my eyes, but nagging doubts have plagued me for months.  Am I being silly?  Surely people will read it, roll their eyes, and close the book.  Then I read how his wife, before they started seriously dating, confessed that she’d given her virginity to her previous fiancee.  Mr. Smalley’s response?  He washed her feet.  If you read nothing else, the book is worth it just to read that section.  The symbolism and words that he shared with the woman who is now his wife was probably the most romantic thing I’ve ever read.  Not to mention very validating to me as a writer.  😉

Many thanks to WaterBrook for providing this copy for review.  I’m going to add it to a pile of books to be given away all at once!

Book Review: Dear Mom *Win a FREE Copy*

Dear Mom

by Melody Carlson

Subtitled:  Everything Your Teenage Daughter Wants You to Know but Will NEVER Tell You.

Well, when Waterbrook sent this book, I have to admit, I was curious.  I mean, after all, I have seven daughters, five (or soon to be) of whom are either teens or once were  (Challice has entered the roaring 20’s already).  So, I sat down, and started reading.

First, the book is written as though a very long letter from daughter to mother.  This alone is quite accurate.  Daughters can definitely talk a lot and have a lot to say.  I found it kind of comical how accurate the “book” aspect of the “discussion” was.  As with many books written in the first person, the style gets a bit wearisome.  I found myself needing to read it in chunks rather than in one sitting to avoid brain burn.

However, the content was fairly “dead on” in my experience with girls.  As with a lot of girls, it was a bit overly dramatic at times (My daughters would be a little insulted by the constant insistence that the girl doesn’t know her own mind and is a bundle of contradictions) but for the most part, I could see every frustrated teen age girl I’ve ever known (including myself) in the pages.  I saw their insecurities, their attempts at maturity, and the surprising maturity hidden where the girl probably never looked for it.

As for a target audience, this book isn’t for every mom.  If you understand your daughter, if you have reasonably good communication, then you probably don’t need the book.  Yes, you’ll get something out of it but seriously, spend the time you would spend reading the book just interacting with your daughter.  However, if sometimes you just don’t understand why your girl seems to withdraw from you, why she seems to be a jumble of nerves and hormones, you might benefit from reading this book.  It’s small enough to tuck into your purse and read while waiting for her at the mall, soccer practice, or the movies.  It’s short enough to finish off in a week or two if you just read a few pages at a time.  And, for the most part I think, it’s a book that if your daughter picks up and reads, she’s not going to be offended at the condescending tone of an “expert” telling you where she’s a mess.  I think my girls would get a bit bent out of shape over a few of the stereotypes but then they’ve been raised differently than a lot of kids so they’ve missed some of that.

This book would be beneficial to you if…

  • You have a teen aged daughter and you are struggling with your relationship
  • You have or know a girl in some kind of traditional school and want to understand how to relate to them

The target audience of this book is probably not conservative Christian homeschooling families but I can see how the book would be beneficial to anyone who is in contact with teen aged girls on any kind of a regular basis.  The title is “Dear Mom” but honestly, I think it’d help a Dad understand common feminine teen problems or even help a writer “capture” the essence of modern teen thought.

If you’re really brave, I dare you to buy this book (or win it on my site here!) and hand it to your daughter.  Ask her to critique it, underline or highlight sections that really speak to her, and then see where it goes.  I guarantee you, it won’t be a waste of your time.

Now for the fun stuff!  Waterbrook has generously given me a copy of this book to give away.  In addition, I want this book to get out there to as many people as may want/need it so I’m going to give away my copy too!  Please leave a comment and I’ll do a random number generator on Friday for the winners and get that book shipped out right away.