Tag Archives: Marriage

Messy Beautiful Love – Darlene Schacht (And a GIVEAWAY!!!)

Messy Beautiful Love is published by Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson.

Messy Beautiful Love is published by Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson.

About the Book
About the Author
Author Website

Summary: Love and marriage aren’t always easy. Darlene Schacht (from The Time-Warp Wife) shares with wives the importance of giving your marriage up to God. We’re all imperfect beings so we really can’t fix things ourselves. More than likely, we’ll just make them worse! But God is perfect, and marriage was His design, so who better to turn to? Drawing from personal experience and Scripture, Darlene shines the light on hope and where to turn when it gets messy.


Review: My husband and I have been married for 9 1/2 years. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been worth it. We’re not exceptionally wonderful at it, but when we’re following God’s design for marriage things just go better. That’s the basic premise of Darlene’s newest book Messy Beautiful Love. I love how open and honest she writes, it’s like you’re sitting down across the table from each other talking. Personal experience that’s got Scriptural backing is always a plus! I know it’s discouraging to hear how God wants your marriage to work but then you don’t see any real evidence of it. If you haven’t seen it in your life and know what I mean, you’ll be happy to know that Darlene doesn’t just tell you about God’s design and then not give you real-life examples.

The book is divided into 15 chapters that break your marriage down into several parts. Rather than telling you how to do it all at once, which is overwhelming, Darlene does a great job breaking it up into smaller pieces that make it feel a lot more do-able! Each chapter has a little challenge at the end so that you can put what you’ve just read into practice. At the end of the book she includes her “31 Prayers for My Marriage”, which you download from her website and then print out to keep with your Bible or on the nightstand.

My favorite part of the book was the paragraph in chapter nine about the difference between “submission” and “equality” on page 120.  “Submission is yielding your will for the good of another. . . . Equality of people refers to our value.” Yes! This is something I get into discussions about often and Darlene’s explanation is a good way to explain it.

This would make a GREAT book to go through as a small group. I’d love to get a group of ladies together, either online or in person, and then go through it. I loved it and once I started reading I didn’t stop (which means another read through would be a good idea!).

If you’d like to WIN a copy of Darlene Schacht’s book Messy Beautiful Love, enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway! Thank you to the author and publisher for providing a copy to giveaway. US & Canada only. Giveaway ends Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Edited to add the winning entry: winner

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. As part of the launch team I also received the order bonus items. All thoughts are my own, no other compensation was received.


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$10 Great Dates – Larson & Arp

$10 Great Dates is published by Bethany House.

$10 Great Dates is published by Bethany House.

About the Larsons
About the Arps
About the Book

Summary: From the writers of 10 Great Dates comes the book $10 Great Dates. It’s all well and good to do date night, but what if you have limited funds? The Larsons and Arps show you that you CAN have fun dates for $10 or less!

Review: There are 52 great dates included in $10 Great Dates. That’s easily one for every week of the year! The dates are divided by sections: Adventure Dates, Out-on-the-Town Dates, At Home Dates, Great Outdoors Dates, Marriage Pick-Me-Up Dates, Romantic Dates, Seasonal Special Dates, and Unique and Unusual Dates. They even include a section with inexpensive childcare options, just in case finding childcare is one reason that you don’t want to have date night.

Every date is broke down into basic parts. There’s the overview of the date, some preparation suggestions, ideas for things to do during your date, some conversation starters, and what your big objective is. One of the dates suggested is a date where you are “out of towners” and you go downtown together and be “tourists”. Another type of date is one where you go out just to get dessert. Or, you can stay in and have a game night at home (this is one of our personal favorites!), go out and go hiking (also a favorite!), do volunteer work together, make an at-home spa, check out the local farmer’s market, and even estate sale-ing.

This is perfect if you’re struggling to do date night with your spouse at all or if you want to make a habit of it but don’t have many ideas. The nice thing is, you don’t have to follow everything to a tee, these are just suggestions that you can take and run with them. Highly recommended for coupes who don’t regularly get a date night, those who’ve been struggling and want to reconnect, or for couples who are in a “date night rut”. Dates don’t have to be big and fancy! Get out there and treat your spouse to a fun night out (or in, depending on your $10 date choice).

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own, no other compensation was received.

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Little Book of Great Dates – Dr. Greg & Erin Smalley

A Focus on the Family book, published by Tyndale

About the Book
Read an Excerpt
About the Authors
Author Website

Summary: Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you stop pursuing your spouse! That’s the general idea behind the Little Book of Great Dates. Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife Erin have come up with 52 dates, one for each week of the year, to help married couples reconnect. Each date has a short explanation of the importance of the date’s theme, as well as an activity idea for the date itself and a conversation starter section. Small enough to fit in a purse, the Little Book of Great Dates is a great way for couples to start getting back into the habit of dating each other.

Review: First off, I love the cover. It’s blue and it looks kind of like a journal. I also love that it’s small enough to fit in the glove compartment of the car or in my purse. Admittedly, my husband and I still try and get dates in every now and then. It is nice to have this little book though because it’s got a lot of really good ideas in it (which is great for me since I’m not very good at coming up with date ideas).

Having grown up with the boy who became my husband, I already know several of the answers that go with the conversation starters, but not everyone does! I love that the authors give you some questions to help you dig deeper and get to know each other better. I think one of my favorites is the one where you’re supposed to go and do something that the other one really loves to do and then switch the next time. It really gives your spouse an idea of why you like doing what you do, or they might see a side of you they don’t get to see because you’ve never done it together before. I know it sounds weird, but it really does bring you closer together!

If you have a hard time coming up with dates, or you want to start dating your spouse, or even if you do date but want something deeper, I’d suggest that you pick up this little book and try it out! Make it a habit. Date your spouse and see what happens.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received.

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10 Great Dates – Larson & Arp

Published by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Published by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

About the Book
About the Authors: Larson & Arp
Associated Websites: The Arp’s – http://www.marriagealive.com/index.cfm
10 Great Dates – http://www.10greatdates.org/

Summary: 10 Great Dates is a way for you and your spouse to connect spiritually. The authors have designed this to be both a fun experience and a devotional time all wrapped into one. Each date has already been planned and outlined, all you have to do is make the time and find a place to do it! Connect with your spouse on a deeper level in 10 Great Dates.

Review: I read through the book in a day, after homeschooling the kids. I know it’s not designed to be read in a day but when you’re reading for the sole purpose of writing a review… What did I come away with? That I’m reading it again and implementing it in our lives. We’ve been looking for something to do together Bible study wise and 10 Great Dates looks to be a good place to start. We already have our own personal devotional time but as a couple we’re a bit lacking. 10 Great Dates is designed to help you dig deeper as a couple. Not only in Bible study, but in each other.

Each chapter/date focuses on a different aspect of marriage and spirituality. I know for a fact that once we do this together, the biggest impact will be number 6 which focuses on prayer. I’m great at reading my Bible, he’s pretty good with talking to God, but that’s individually. We know it’s important to do together but neither of us are very comfortable with it. There were a lot of really good ideas within the chapter that I think will be very helpful.

Things I liked about the book:

  • there are “pre-date” exercises in the back of the book (in duplicate, which is nice) to kind of help you both organize your thoughts
  • the authors share their own stories but bring it all back to God
  • the basics of each date are outlined, you just have to pick the specific location and time
  • the after date devotionals are a really good way to keep your focus during the time between dates

Things I didn’t like: I know this sounds about normal but there really wasn’t anything I was majorly disappointed about. Because there are technically 4 authors it’s sometimes a little confusing when they’re telling their personal stories. But they do a pretty good job of making parenthetical note of who the story is about.

Overall, I’m pleased with 10 Great Dates and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with my husband! I’d say that any married couple could benefit from working through it, but it’s probably most beneficial to newlyweds or those who don’t have regular “alone” time together.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received.

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