“So here is what bothers me about this growing negative attitude toward marriage. I am afraid people will be scared away from marrying. I am afraid married people will give up because everybody else is giving up. The sad thing to me is that if people never marry or if they easily give up, they relinquish their chance of ever having what God has given…God has a plan for marriage and for your marriage, and that plan is not just pretty good. It is awesome.”

No one starts a relationship thinking, “I hope that this thing ends horrifically” or “I’m looking forward to the agonizing pain of dragging out a facade for years.” If people actually thought that way, the divorce rate would not be where it is today. It would be far greater, divorce would be so much more prominent.

When people start a relationship, or when a couple takes the plunge and gets married, their thoughts are more along this line: “We won’t be a statistic. We are going to be different.” “I saw how bad my parent’s marriage was, I’ll never let mine get that way.”

A couple may start out with all the best intentions, with all the fire and energy that they poured into this intimate relationship, but that isn’t enough. Intentions fail. Fires die. Energy gets spent, and it is very easy to let the most important relationship a human being can have, slip.

The truth is, if relationships are going to work, if marriages are going to remain whole, something needs to change. The patterns that most couples operate in are not sufficient, they need something better. If you and your spouse are going to make it, if you two are going to avoid being a statistic, something needs to change. Your marriage is going to need to be strengthened. It is going to need to undergo some tweaking.

While some people’s marriage advice or secrets to marriage can come across as hooky or cliche, what Dr. Kim Kimberling has to offer in his book, 7 Secrets To An Awesome Marriage, is far from hooky. One may want to argue that advice such as, “Put God first in your marriage” is cliche, but Kimberling puts fresh meat onto these old bones. With thirty years of professional counselling experience, Kimberling, with personal stories about how this looks when it is properly acted out, and how devastating it is when God is not put first, helps this thought look like a new idea.

Numerous times throughout 7 Secrets, Kimberling mentions how implementing these secrets will help strengthen and bring wholeness to your marriage, whether it is your first anniversary, fifth or twenty fifth. And he is right about this. These seven, rather simple, secrets are not intended just for the newly married or merely for those that have been working at this for decades. Kimberling calls all married couples to implement these 7 Secrets into their relationship; Stop, Start, Connect, Engage, Balance, Mingle, and Fight.

While they may seem simple at a first glance,as Kimberling explains in a nonclinical way, any reader will realize how difficult they are to put into practice. But do not let the idea of hard work in a marriage frustrate you or drive you away from what he has to say. If we put these 7 Secrets to practice, we will enjoy a fuller, more wholesome, awesome marriage, the way God intended.

“You can get marriage advice from a myriad of sources, but why go to sources when you can go to the Source? Just like my dealer knows my car, God knows marriage.”

“If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

That is the old adage, but it can scream an attitude of neglect. A person’s marriage doesn’t have to be broken or even falling apart to give it attention. In fact, to pay attention to the most intimate relationship you have, to continually be seeking to make it more wholesome is a sign of great maturity and a deep desire to make your marriage work.

If it ain’t broke, why fix it? So that what is good can be awesome instead.

It is almost frightening how simplistic, yet how powerful, the advice that Kimberling has to offer is. One piece of advice to help strengthen a marriage was regarding listening, something that has come up in my own marriage. The advice was to follow this pattern whenever your spouse wanted to talk with you, STOP, LOOK, LISTEN. I have started actively doing this with my wife, and even in a few days, the results were amazing. My wife and I were clicking. She is normally a happy woman, but even more so when she noticed that I was intentionally stopping what I was doing for her, looking at her without any distraction, and hearing, not only the words she said, but what was behind the words as well.

If one small piece of advice from 7 Secrets can change my marriage or yours in a matter of days, imagine what a complete adherence to all 7 could do for all the years of your relationship with your spouse?

One thing that I wish that Kimberling had included in his book was Scripture. This is a Christian book about marriage, and there is no shortage of Christian ideas. Putting God first, the importance of praying together, balancing time and finances. These and more are good Christian ideas, but there is no Scripture to help back up his points. No stories that you can read from the Bible that illustrate a good or bad marriage. No verses to emphasize or back up what he is saying as true. I do understand that the Bible was not written as a marriage strengthening textbook or guide, thus making it hard to grab a verse or two to make your point, but it would be nice for a Christian book to have something more in it than just invoking Jesus’ name.

There are times where Kimberling’s stories about his own marriage can be off-putting. One example is how he did not require any additional stimulate, beyond his wife, to enjoy the benefits of marriage. For the more conservative reader, this may be too much. For those that are more liberal and can see past the oversharing to the point he is trying to make, it is another example of how grounded these 7 Secrets really are. They are so simple and quick to take effect to those that are willing to give them a chance. Whether you have multiple degrees in counselling and Christian theology or not, Kim Kimberling’s 7 Secrets will help strengthen any marriage.

“Now you know the Seven Secrets, and they are no longer secrets. It’s time to make a shift from “secrets” to “steps”. If all you do is read this book and lay it down and walk away, nothing will change…sometime in the future you will realize nothing in your marriage has changed, and it may have even gotten worse. On the other hand,…”

Despite a lack of Scripture and some moments of personal oversharing, 7 Secrets is a wonderful book. It is filled with real life examples of failing and triumphant marriages, and qualified, adaptable methods that will help your marriage be strengthened and solidified through whatever life has to offer.

I give Kim Kimberling’s 7 Secrets To An Awesome Marriage a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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