This is a book I’ve been so excited to get my hands on to read ever since I heard of it. My Beloved and My Friend: How to be Married to Your Best Friends Without Changing Spouses is written by Hal & Melanie Young, authors of Raising Real Men. Hal & Melanie have been married for almost 30 years, and like most marriages, have had their own share of trials. Hal was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer several years ago, and Melanie had several difficult pregnancies that kept her out of commission for some time. Thankfully their strong commitment to their marriage, love for each other, and most important their faith in Christ gave them the strength to get through their trials. I’m just going to go ahead and get this out: I LOVE THIS BOOK. Love it. Seriously, every married couple needs a copy of this book, especially the newlyweds who are getting used to living with someone else and putting someone else’s needs before their own. I wish This book had been written when I was first married to Jeremy nearly 16 years ago. The book is written from a Biblical view.
Here’s the list of chapters included in the book:
- Leaving and Cleaving (perhaps the most important chapter in the whole book)
- How to Be Married to Your Best Friend
- In Sickness and in Health
- On Submission
- Fidelity and Loyalty Are Not Mutual Funds
- The Physical Aspect
- Children and All That
- Money-Yours, Mine, or Ours?
- The Division of Labor
- The Spiritual Aspect
- Being of One Mind
- How to Fight So You Both Win
It sounds like a lot of chapters, but the book is only 250 pages long, so you’re going to get a lot of great information packed into this book. I’ll admit, I think I had unrealistic expectations when I was first married. I was 18, my husband nearly 20, so we were very young. Honestly, though, looking back, I would not want to wait to marry later on. I do, however, wish I’d had a book like this to read to get an idea of what my own marriage could be like. The book is like a marriage instruction manual…if you’re gonna get married, or eve if you’ve been married a while, do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy.
For this review, I want to talk about what I think are 2 of the most important chapters: Leaving and Cleaving, and On Submission. The Bibles tells us that “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24. Do you know what cleave means? The definition of cleave is: “to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly.” When you marry your spouse, you stick to them like Gorilla Glue and duct tape mixed together. You become part of each other. When you marry, you leave your parents and make your own family. You no longer obey your parents (after all, you’re no longer a child). Your loyalty must now be to your spouse before anyone else. For me, this is actually something that came pretty easily. No, our marriage hasn’t always been as easy as it is now, but my husband and I are a united front. The husband should stand up for and protect his wife, even to (and especially to) his biological family. When you make your own new family, that family needs to be your top priority. After all, you made a covenant before God; you need to take that seriously. I stand up for my husband, too, though. If I thought someone was trying to create a wedge between us, I’d be sore tempted to knock their lights out. I don’t care who they are…you don’t mess with my family. (Hal & Melanie convey their thoughts much more gracefully than I do 😀 ) I love all of the ideas discussed in this chapter. It’s very thorough without going overboard at all. My favorite quote from this chapter is “When all is said and done, leaving your family doesn’t mean physical distance, it means rather changing the focus of your primary attention and loyalty to your wife and children.”
Submission. That word scares a lot of people, mainly because folks misunderstand the meaning of how it’s meant Biblically. A lot of husbands have also misused the meaning in their own homes by trying to control every move that their wife and children makes. Submission isn’t about control, let’s just get that out of the way. Melanie went into her marriage wanting to do what she thought was right, so she consulted Hal on every.thing. What kind of bath mat they should get, what style lamps. Hal was a bit stumped at this himself, but lovingly explained to Melanie that these things weren’t something he needed to add him input to. God created woman to be man’s assistant if you will; his helpmeet (another word that people seems to strongly dislike). The book discusses what the Bible says about submission, mentioning Pauls letter to Corinth regarding some confusion in worship services because everyone wanted to talk at once. One of my favorite parts of the chapter is this paragraph: “The passage which says the wife should submit to her husband just like the church submits to Jesus Christ-fully and willingly-also says the husband which receives this sort of devotion is expected to earn it.–“just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every way. Husbands, love your wives, just a Christ also loves the church and gave Himself for her…”” As wives, we submit to our husbands…we give our input, and hopefully he listens and takes our feelings into consideration, but husbands are told to die. No, not roll over and croak, but Christ died for us in the church. What a calling that is to have!
My Beloved and My Friend is a quick read because you won’t likely want to put it down. It’s full of Hal & Melanie’s own marriage experiences, along with scripture references relating to each chapter topic. For real, if I could afford it, I’d order lots of copies for our church to give out. This would even make a great marriage group study book, or women’s ministry study. Right now, you can pre-order the book HERE for a discounted rate of $12 plus FREE shipping, and have it in time for Christmas. If you’re marriage is struggling some, or you just want some ideas to make your married life even more fabulous, please buy yourself a copy. If you know someone who’s getting married soon, get them a copy. They will thank you for it!