One of my readers who is getting engaged asked me this question the other day: “Is there a good egalitarian pre-marital counselling course we can take or a book we should read?” I couldn’t answer this question myself so I asked around. Ten resources were recommended to me by fellow Christian egalitarians, and I’ve posted them below.
I’ve been told that these resources encourage mutuality and equality between husband and wife rather than a gender hierarchy. I can’t vouch for these resources myself, so if you have any experience with them, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
“PREPARE/ENRICH is the leading relationship inventory and skill-building program used nationally and internationally. Built on a solid research foundation and proven to significantly improve a couple’s relationship, PREPARE/ENRICH is custom tailored to a couple’s relationship and provides couple exercises to build their relationship skills.”
“PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised couple assessment completed online that identifies a couple’s strength and growth areas. It is one of the most widely used programs for premarital counselling and premarital education and is also used for marriage counselling, marriage enrichment, and dating couples considering engagement. Based on a couple’s assessment results, a trained facilitator provides 3 or more feedback sessions in which the facilitator helps the couple discuss and understand their results as they are taught proven relationship skills.” (Source: PREPARE/ENRICH Australian website) Their American website is here.
Before the Ring: Questions Worth Asking
“How many times have you heard someone say, ‘I wish someone would have made me think about that before we got married’? Now you can help. With wisdom, compassion, and a healthy dose of humour, William Coleman helps the person who is considering marriage to ask some of those important questions before the ‘big day.’ Before the Ring may be one of the most helpful gifts you can give a man or woman who is considering marriage. This revised and expanded edition brings you new chapters and 21 humorous and thought-provoking cartoons.” (Source: Amazon)
Preparing Couples for Love and Marriage: A Pastor’s Resource
“While no one can smooth away all the rough spots in the marital road ahead, couples can be coached to pay attention to warning signs, see the bumps before they hit them, and deal more skillfully with inevitable conflicts. This book provides pastors with a framework and tools for this ministry. The good news is that you don’t need any formal background in counselling, because the kind of work we’re talking about isn’t counselling—it’s coaching—a coach who can help couples to respond positively to the differences between them. It’s not about having the answers; but is it about helping couples manage difficulties before they become serious threats to the marriage.” (Source: Amazon)
This book is written for pre-marriage counsellors, coaches and pastors, but it may be suitable for couples also. The authors have a website that goes with their book here.
Together: Reclaiming Co-Leadership in Marriage
“God has different plans for marriage than you ever imagined. Join tim+anne evans as they explore a revolutionary perspective of what marriage can be-by going back to the beginning. In Eden, a married couple was created to reflect and reveal the oneness and plurality in God’s Trinitarian nature. A man and woman, both made in the image of God, and both given the procreation and dominion mandates. Together, naked and without shame, they enjoyed co-leadership.” (Source: Amazon)
Together is available through the REAL LIFE (Together) website here. A companion journal is also available.
Marriage Made in Eden: A Pre-Modern Perspective for a Post-Christian World
“Why does marriage today seem to be such a far cry from Paradise? Let’s face it. Our culture’s version of marriage is not as God designed it to be. With a lot more emphasis on individualism and consumerism, today’s married couples tend to lose sight of God’s original purpose for marriage—a call for his people to take Jesus’ message to the heart of everyday life. Marriage Made in Eden provides a radical alternative to today’s view of marriage, giving a glimpse into the historical and cultural aspects that have shaped marriage in America. With this insightful analysis you’ll learn how marriage has come to be in the state we now find it and about God’s model and purpose for a sacred Christian union.”
“Alice P. Mathews is Lois W. Bennett Distinguished Associate Professor of Educational Ministries and Women’s Ministries at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. M. Gay Hubbard has more than thirty years of experience as a Christian counsellor. She currently is in private practice with Christian Counseling Associates in Osbourne, Kansas.”
‘Alice Mathews and Gay Hubbard bring together decades of experience in this thoughtful, interdisciplinary volume.’ ~ Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, professor of psychology and philosophy, Eastern University.
‘At last a profoundly biblical book on Christian marriage.’ ~ Gordon Fee, professor emeritus, Regent College.
‘Must-reading for all Christians concerned with promoting an understanding of marriage that is in accordance with God’s intentions.’ ~ Stanley J. Grenz, Pioneer McDonald Professor, Carey Theological College. (Source: Amazon)
Mutual by Design: A Better Model of Christian Marriage
This book, edited by Elizabeth Beyer, was published in late 2017 by Christians for Biblical Equality International.”Many books on Christian marriage have been written, but most assume that the Bible puts men in a leadership role, while women are to be submissive. But there’s a better way. Not only is it healthier for families, but it’s more faithful to the Bible. The Bible casts a vision of marriage where men and women co-lead and co-serve as equal partners. This book explores that vision.”
“This book is for those considering marriage, those already engaged, newlyweds, and any couple seeking to improve their relationship. Written for both individual couples or groups, chapters include discussion questions, exercises, and suggestions for further reading.” (Source: CBE International.)
Families Where Grace Is in Place: Building a Home Free of Manipulation, Legalism and Shame
This book “continues to minister to couples and parents nearly twenty years after it was first published. Using his professional and personal experience, VanVonderen shows readers how to nurture God-honoring relationships free of manipulation, legalism, and shame. This book is a practical and insightful discussion on living a graceful life and building a strong and happy home using God’s tools.”
Discussion guides for families and small groups are also available. (Source: Amazon)
Here are a few more books that encourage healthy egalitarian Christian marriages:
Face to Face by Carrie Miles.
Bound and Determined: Christian Men and Women in Partnership by Jeanene Reese.
As for Me and My House: Crafting Your Marriage to Last by Walter Wangerin Jr.
Marriage Minutes: Thoughts for the Egalitarian (Collaborative) Marriage by my friend Gerald Ford.
There are even more books on Egalitarian marriage, as well as magazines and CDs, in the CBE Bookstore here.
Power Struggles in Christian Marriage?
Advice to Newlyweds
Leading Together in the Home
God wants Women to be Happy in Marriage
Mutuality in Marriage – 1 Corinthians 7
A Suitable Helper
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