The celebration of our 25th anniversary came as marriage seemed to be in danger of extinction. As a women’s ministry leader, counselor, and mentor to others in the “wife” category, I know it’s not uncommon for marriages to need mending. From our ministry with couples, Jeff and I have seen the number of those who stay married dwindle; the number of those who stay married well is even smaller. When Kregel Publishers invited me to read and review Clint and Penny Bragg’s new book Marriage on the Mend, I jumped at the chance like a cousin reaching for the bride’s bouquet. The tagline intrigued me: “Healing Your Relationship After Crisis, Separation, or Divorce.” I wish I could count on one hand the times I’ve needed a great book to give to wounded wives after painful events, but I lost count a long time ago. Add in times I wish I had a great book to give to couples still together but not loving, and the list rivals a wedding gift registry. It’s about time someone wrote a handbook for husbands and wives to find their way back to wedded bliss.
Jeff and I are in a great place in our marriage, despite the fact that our lives have been in a time of upheaval and change. But before I made it through the first two of the twelve chapters in this book, I could see that Marriage on the Mend has value for every couple who wants to thrive together. I didn’t just review it; I learned and benefited as I read. You don’t have to wait until you’re struggling, admitting an affair, in crisis, or signing papers to wish you had gotten help. The Braggs know what it is to build a marriage on the wrong foundation, see it crumble, and do the work of restoration, because they’ve done it.
This is a story of restoration and victory; it’s a rare story today, but one we need to hear more and celebrate. Clint and Penny were married, divorced, and remarried. It’s evidence of God’s power to do great things through our weakness revealed in marriage. The authors speak from first-hand experience, sharing roadblocks couples face to true oneness, and offering practical help for rebuilding a new foundation, working through forgiveness, and re-establishing trust. Clint and Penny share from their own journey to help couples learn keys to deeper discussions, dealing with past mistakes and events, agreeing on shared standards, and learning to pray together. This new tool for married couples not only deals with what caused vows to be broken, but it provides a plan to move forward with different protections and perspectives for future faithfulness.
To make this new book so practical and useful, the Braggs have included several features:
- A prayer at the end of each segment, applying principles in your talk with God.
- Practical action steps to take in implementing the truths shared in each section.
- Questions to consider alone or, better yet, discuss together.
- Scannable QR codes in each chapter that take the reader to video segments adding to the written topics. Love this!
I’ve been married long enough to know that honest couple see the need for regular growth and nurturing of their relationship. Husbands and wives who won’t admit the need for change are already on a path of pain. Husbands who think their wife is the solo reason for a mundane marriage are as misguided as wives who think their husband is the one causing all their woes. I wish I could give away a box full of copies of this new book. I would send them to all kinds of friends and readers who are thinking about getting married, are married, or are trying to find a way out of being married. This book has wisdom for all of us on the marriage timeline.
Finally, as I read Marriage on the Mend, I found myself freshly aware of how God loves joining a man and a woman, how He works to make marriage beautiful, and how it matters that we join Him in mending marriages when they’re broken. The Braggs encouraged me with their victorious story of how God can revive a marriage on life support or resurrect a marriage corpse. Marriage on the Mend is a tool to help couples experience the sweetness they believed in when they said, “I do.”