A Reading List for Relationships

I asked and you answered. I’ve only read a handful of these books, so I’m not endorsing them or the authors, simply reporting the answers from friends, family, and followers.

I found that most of the authors suggested are white males, who as you may guess, do not hold a monopoly on healthy relationships or great sex. If you have suggestions, please let me know so I can add them to the list. In the meantime, I would strongly encourage you read outside the box!

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Which Christian dating/marriage books have either helped or misled you?

Here’s what helped.

Other helpful authors or speakers.

And these seemed to be misleading.

If you disagree with any of the characterizations above, I’d love to hear! Obviously, there’s a lot more to say on these subjects that these few authors can cover, but it’s a start. Knowing some of the authors listed, some books most likely disagree in certain ways.

I asked this question with “purity culture” in mind. I’m curious to hear if you experienced this growing up and if there were teachings or books that promoted this in your church or religious context. 

 

The 11th Bridesmaid

“These past days have easily been the best days of my life.” I texted my mom. It wasn’t just the sentiment of a wedding, nor the pretty dresses and makeup that defined that week as the best. I look back and see shared meals, friendships, and still feel the soreness in my core from all the laughing.

Last week one of my best friends married her sweetheart in Tennessee. Another long time best friend and fellow bridesmaid made the trip to Jackson with me. (After a fun weekend in Austin, Texas.) It had been a while since the three of us had been together in one place; perhaps a couple years. What a wonderful reunion it was in that (tiny) Memphis airport.

In 2012 before our Senior banquet; our last year seeing each other everyday.
Selfie in the Houston airport while traveling to Jackson, TN.

As one of 11 bridesmaids (and only knowing two of them previously), I knew I had lots of names and faces to memorize quickly. Fortunately, the living arrangements made it easier to remember. The bride-to-be warned us it would be similar to Little Women for the next few days. That description hit the mark as our eyes met the huge harp in the middle of the living room, next to the cozy fireplace and well-stocked bookcases. It was dreamy, honestly. Right out of a Jane Austen novel.

Just a few bridesmaids at Kels’ 4th bridal shower.

This house held a variety of young women each night. In addition to the 5-6 girls that lived there through the school year, space was made for other friends and bridesmaids. I’d like to say the count got as high as 10-11 girls one night. This 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house was full! Let it be known, these girls, my fellow bridesmaids and new friends were beautiful inside and out. Creative, devoted, talented, extremely smart, and humble; I couldn’t get enough of them.

 

Looking at the wrong camera, oh well!

Wedding day came fast. It felt similar to Christmas morning. Sleepy eyes and happy smiles gathered together at the top of the stairs to finish up the final details of the veil and cover ups. Once at the church, curling irons were turned on and the final preparations were made. I kid you not, there was a cloud of hairspray in that room. If only you could have seen the bobby pins, make-up, and shoes that were scattered all around, strategically of course.

Soon we all linked arms with a groomsman and (slowly) walked down the aisle. Approximately 200 pairs of eyes watched as the bride entered with one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen. The ceremony was so “them” and could not have gone any smoother. One of their priorities was for their relationship to mirror the marriage between Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:22-32) This is something I admired and believe was executed beautifully. This wasn’t just a simple exchange of vows, it was the entrance into a sacred covenant between God and man. I loved every second, it was so special.

 

Each bridesmaid got to pick her own style of dress.

Marriage is a much larger picture than just romance or being together “forever”. It mirrors Christ’s perfect love for His imperfect church, which is essentially the Gospel in a nutshell. He loves unconditionally with grace, truth, faithfulness, patience, (and all the other fruits of His Spirit), despite our sin. Earthly partnerships such as marriage are limited to Earth. (Matthew 22:29-30, Mark 12:24-25, Luke 20:34-36) I’m thankful for that! Because of my Savior’s sacrifice, my sins are no more, I’ve been sanctified by His blood (something a husband could never do.) I want to spend my forever with Him.

We were among the last few to leave the reception. Such a fun memory to run outside, practically barefoot and “cold” in 40 degree air, and wave the happy couple off as they drove down the street. I had to keep reminding myself, “she’s getting married, not dying.” Hah! What a beautiful thing to be married! And, what an amazing thing to watch one of my dearest friends begin a life with her love.

Off they go! #blurry

Merry Christmas!