Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Marriage Carol

A Christmas Carol is one of my all-time favorite Christmas stories. It really doesn’t matter to me if it’s the original version by Charles Dickens or the cartoon Mickey Mouse version or the more up-to-date version with Jim Carey. I just love the story. There is something about looking carefully at the past and the present, then looking toward the future, and taking note of what path you’re on. But also the redemption of the “Scrooge” character . . . none of us are lost causes.

I was thrilled at the chance to read A Marriage Carol by Gary Chapman and Chris Fabry. The authors focus their version of A Christmas Carol on a couple who is on the brink of divorce. Literally on their way to the divorce attorney’s office. Neither has committed a major offense. Instead, they have suffered a series of minor offenses, miscommunications, gradual disinterest, and basically have ended up living separate lives even though they are married. When they are involved in a car accident on the way to the attorney’s office, Marlee finds her way to a house at the top of the hill, which just happens to be a marriage retreat center. The couple who run the center take her on a trip through time to see what her marriage has actually been like.

While the idea of looking back and looking forward is not new, Chapman and Fabry do a great job of applying a classic story to a modern-day marriage relationship. Practical relationship helps are intertwined through the story. However, the story is not at all preachy. Rather, through Marlee's thoughts and her conversation with the couple at the retreat center, these truths seem to naturally flow through the story.

A short book, at only 128 pages, I quickly read this in one sitting.  I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys a wonderful Christmas story as well as for anyone looking for hope for their marriage.

I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers and Net Galley in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Book
Jake and Marlee, a typical couple, are about to call it quits.  Over time they have drifted apart; the sparks are dead.  Marlee is convinced she married the wrong man and Jake feels tied down to the wrong woman.  Jake is distant and tired of being controlled while Marlee is tired of being the only one trying  to the save their marriage.

They go to bed Christmas Eve, in separate rooms, each is too short to be shouldn't hurt like this...their marriage must end for happiness to return. 

But their lives are about to take a turn.  The ghosts of Marriage Past, Marriage Present, and Marriage Future reveal to Jake and Marlee how past choices, present realities, and their potential future might look if they do not change their "stories".
Jake and Marlee experience a Christmas gift that will radically change their thinking and cause them to look at marriage not for what they can get out of it but for what God can do in and through their marriage.

About the Authors
Chris Fabry is a graduate of W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and Moody bible Institute's Advanced Studies Program. Chris can be heard daily on Love Worth Finding, featuring the teaching of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers. He received the 2008 "Talk Personality of the Year" Award from the National Religious Broadcasters. He has published more than 60 books since 1995, many of them fiction for younger readers. Chris collaborated with Jerry B. Jenkins and Dr. Tim LaHaye on the children's series Left Behind: The Kids. His two novels for adults, Dogwood and June Bug, are published by Tyndale House Publishers. Chris is married to his wife Andrea and they have five daughters and four sons.

Gary Chapman, PhD, is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The 5 Love Languages. With over 30 years of counseling experience, he has the uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to human behavior, showing readers not just where they go wrong, but also how to grow & move forward. Dr. Chapman holds BA and MA degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College and Wake Forest University, respectively, MRE and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has completed postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina and Duke Univeristy.

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