In their wonderful book titled, “The marriage knot”, Ron and Jody Zappia share their lives as they unfold what transpired eight months into their marriage. They were on the brink of divorce, and there seemed to be no hope to rescue them. However, in these short pages, they share with us seven (7) choices they treasured and committed to which fastened their knot within the marriage covenant. Their goal is to help couples make choices that honor God. As life is about making decisions, even at the center of a marriage covenant is a commitment to good and godly decisions. It is these wise choices that help build a strong relationship that represents a mutual commitment to help each other especially in tough times. We are not to be fooled by this consumeristic world, as marriage is now viewed as a means to one’s end and fulfilment. However, marriage is about two people wholeheartedly serving each other to form the one people, to ultimately fulfill the purpose of marriage. Before going into the choices, here are seven falls that Ron as a pastor has identified that unloosen a marriage knot if not handled well: Physical Fall (sickness or injury); Financial Fall; Relational Fall (when one person hurts another); Moral Fall (doing something morally wrong); Emotional Fall; Spiritual Fall (Stopped growth in one’s relationship with God); and Repeated Fall (continues stumbling over the same thing over and over again, like an addiction). Here follows now the seven (7) choices or decisions that a couple must make to strengthen their marriage: Choice 1_Choose to grow spiritually: Every couple need to understand that God has established marriage and formed its foundation. The choice to grow spiritually is a decision to choose God and learn the foundation that he set for marriage. Choice 2_Choose to love unconditionally: Love is not all about attraction; love responds with action. Love isn’t simply emotions; love is more than a feeling. Love means I’m willing to surrender myself, put the other person first, and put my desires on hold. We must choose to love unconditionally, just as we learn from Jesus Christ. Choice 3_Choose to serve sacrificially: In Ephesians 5:22-24, God defines who we are to be and what we are to do within the context of a marriage. This is a more practical lesson of the second choice. Love is a choice that is intentional and takes action. Choice 4_Choose to please regularly: This chapter reveals what God’s word teaches about the purpose, the pleasure, and the greatness of sex within the boundaries of the marriage knot. There is much to sex than our culture and world portrays today; sex brings protection, procreation, pleasure, oneness, intimacy, generosity, and comfort. Choice 5_Choose to persevere persistently: James 1 reveals God’s purpose for allowing trials into our lives and what should be our proper response to them. God has a unique purpose for the pain in our lives, and we must choose to persist through the trials in our marriage rather than quitting and running from them. Choice 6_Choose to communicate respectfully: Communication is the backbone of every relationship. Ephesian 4:29 says that we are not to let corrupting talk come out of our mouths, but only such is good for building up. In communicate you are to speak truthfully, use careful words, listen intently, respond slowly, calm down quickly, humble yourself regularly, withhold words appropriately, seek help when necessary, and purify yourself continually. Choice 7_Choose to bless abundantly: This is clear! Both couples must commit to blessing each other. Blessing your spouse practically, prayerfully, verbally, romantically, financially (set a budget & stick to it, pay off your credits, live within your means, give back to God, and save a percentage of the income), spiritually (together reading the Bible, praying, and going to church), faithfully (Proverbs 3:27-Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due).
Why read this book?
Out of the few books on marriage I have read, this is one of the best and helpful. Ron and Jody do not just give us some good made-up principles of keys for a successful marriage. But these are decisions that they found in God’s Word and committed to them during their bottom-point in marriage. This is more than a principle driven book, it is biographical in its structure and very theological (however simple to read). The book includes a study guide; thus, it is very practical. It is for both couples, indeed proving that two are better than one. The one negative I have spotted is in their illustrations and examples. All their illustrations and examples are very Western and often hard to understand. But the principles used are timeless and not cultural bound. Ron and Jody have been through rough times, so they are not just illusorily beautifully marriage. Lastly though not exhaust-fully, this book is very gospel centered; it explains why the gospel, Christ, matters in a marriage covenant. If you do not know the gospel, this is a book for you. If you are Christian, this book will edify you. With divorce rates always increasing every year, here are some good and godly choices that couples should commit to for the health of their marriage and for the sake of the glory of God who established this thing called marriage. This is a good book to any and every couple, but I will especially recommend it to any and every newly married couple.