Book Review: “Team Us” by Ashleigh Slater

Team Us

The book Team Us: Marriage Together is written by Ashleigh Slater and is published by Moody Publishers. Slater has also written the book Braving Sorrow Together, three eBooks, and numerous articles for various websites. She is married to her husband Ted and they have four children.

Team Us is written in a very conversational format with her own personal story woven throughout the book. Imagine sitting down with the author over coffee and listening to her tell her story while also sharing marriage advice, and every once in awhile her husband leans over from the next table and in two sentences shares his thoughts on what his wife just said. That’s what the book feels like.

The book revolves around the theme of unity. It’s about how we navigate conflict, how we walk through pain and loss, how we honor and love one another well, how we grow and develop, and all to build unity in our marriages.

The chapter that resonated with me the most and I deeply appreciated her transparency in, was the chapter called Pink Slips and Other Loses. In this chapter Slater talks about a miscarriage they had, working through the loss of jobs, and also her struggle with prayer. I thought her (and her husbands) commentary on the purpose of prayer in difficult times being less about the answer and more about our relationship with God was outstanding.

The chapter called The Parent Trap was also great. There is some really strong advice for parents who have different parenting styles in this chapter. Rather than one parent imposing their style on the other parent, she suggests parents discover the beauty within their partners differing style while at the same time both parents being intentional about honoring the other persons preferred style.

Another excellent feature of this book are the discussion questions at the end of each chapter for couples to work through together. Like any discussion guide there will be some questions that might not connect, but there are also some really strong and important questions that every couple should be asking.

Overall I think Team Us is a good book particularly for those who are young married couples or young adults preparing to get married who also have a more conservative Christian leaning. That said, those who have been married for a long time will be sure to find some great truths, advice, and encouragement in this book too.

To see a trailer for Team Us, click HERE.

To visit the authors website, click HERE.

* I received this book from Moody Publishers for my honest review.

 

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Book Review: “The Zimzum of Love” by Rob & Kristen Bell

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The Zimzum of Love is Rob Bell’s newest book, and is co-authored with his wife Kristen.

When I found out that Bell was writing a book on marriage, I was extremely interested in how he would unpack the subject. Like it was with so many of Bell’s other books, like: Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians and What We Talk About When We Talk About God, I was really looking forward to his Biblical and historical exposition of the subject matter, but instead this book merely makes a few light nods towards the Bible.

I will say that the main idea for the book, the Hebrew word “tzimtzum”, is an interesting and helpful illustration on the relationship between two people. It refers to the space between two people, and that everything you put into that space will greatly impact your relationship (ie. words, attitudes, actions, inaction), but ultimately I just felt it wasn’t enough to carry the book. I think the main idea of the book could have been a great blog post or even a magazine article. Overall I found the book to be more of a basic self help marriage book. Learning about Rob and Kristen’s story was cool and even pretty funny at times, but I found the format of the back and forth between them to be a little clunky.

The best way I can explain my feelings about this book is, it’s like when you have a band you really like listening to, and you’ve got all their albums, but when you talk through the catalogue of albums there’s always that one record that you just can’t seem to get in to. This is that album for me.

If you’re looking for an outstanding book on marriage, I would highly recommend Tim & Kathy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage (see review HERE) or another challenging read on Christian marriage is Francis & Lisa Chan’s You and Me Forever (see review HERE).

[Note: Although this review of Bell’s new book was not overly positive, please do not misunderstand this post to be one against Bell himself. I have bought all his books and really enjoy reading him.]

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Book Review: “You and Me Forever” by Francis & Lisa Chan

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Since reading Francis Chan’s first book Crazy Love, which had a profound impact on my faith, I’ve read everything he’s written since. You and Me Forever is Chan’s newest book, which is co-authored with his wife Lisa, and is on the subject of marriage.

At first glance, the title of the book and it’s main premise, “marriage is great, but it’s not forever”, seem to contradict each other, but as you read on you’ll discover that they go hand in hand.

Like Crazy Love was a “good uncomfortable” for your personal walk with Jesus, You and Me Forever is a “good uncomfortable” for your understanding of marriage.

If you prefer reading fluffy, feel good books on marriage, you will not find that here. I found this book to be very challenging to my understanding of a Biblical marriage and how to practically live it out.

One highlight for me was the chapter on parenting. As a soon to be first time parent, this chapter was both encouraging and challenging. This quote beautifully captures the heart of the chapter: “Make sure the mission of God is the priority in your life. Let your kids see, and give them opportunities to join you in serving God. As they experience the joy of serving, the hope is that they will still be serving Him faithfully long after you are gone” (p. 168-169).

Here are a few additional quotes from the book that stood out to me:

  • “…most marriage problems are not really marriage problems. They are God problems. They can be traced back to one or both people having a poor relationship with God or a faulty understanding of Him” (p. 20-21).
  • “Can you really call your marriage ‘good’ if your focus on your family keeps you from making disciples, caring for the poor, reaching out to the lost, and using your talents and resources for others?” (p. 116)
  • “Marriage-centered marriages have become accepted and applauded rather than Christ-centered ones” (p. 117).

You and Me Forever will greatly challenge and expand your view of marriage. It will force you to see marriage through the eyes of eternity and being lived out as disciples of Jesus whose primary mission is to make disciples.

I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a challenging read on the subject of marriage from the Christian perspective. In classic Chan style, the book is thick with scripture and it also has great reflection questions at the end of each chapter. I think this book is a powerful resource for those who are already engaged or married, but also an outstanding book for those who are single.

For additional information and resources on this book, check out: www.youandmeforever.org

* This book can be downloaded for FREE from the above website. 

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