Another Wednesday is upon us!
I hope yours is indeed a Happy one.
By reading the title of today’s post you’ll note that
This one goes out to all my – LADIES!! lol
But guys, you don’t have to tune out, you can benefit too. After all, “‘Tis the season of giving,” so consider gifting one of these books to that special lady in your life or maybe to the group of women you hold most dear.
Ladies, there’s a special grace to be acquired as it concerns investing in one’s self. As women, we often think of “treating ourselves,” as hair and nail appointments, retail therapy (no matter how major or minor the shopping spree), or indulging in our favorite meal and sometimes just ice cream! But there’s something special about a woman who values herself enough to invest in the parts of her that go unseen and yet wield the most strength and power: one’s spirit, one’s heart, one’s mind, and one’s skills & abilities.
There is a caveat to my saying these are books every woman should read, I recommend these 5 books to every woman who is married, engaged to be married or planning to be married one day.
1. The Bible
It’s critical that this book top the list because even if you don’t believe that the Bible is “inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right,” (2 Timothy 3:16) there’s still something to be said about the fact that it is still around and very relevant, even in today’s world. At the very least it’s worth investigating.
The worse thing that could happen? Your life changing for the better. If you approach the Bible with an open heart and mind, your life Will change.
There are feminism sects that have tried to discredit the relevance of the Bible to women by saying it was written by men for men and to keep women under the control of men, but that’s simply not true. The Bible details the stories of devoted wives and other heroines including Ruth, Esther, Deborah, and Mary.
Most women can appreciate a good love story, and there is no greater love story than the one found in the pages of the Bible. It’s the story of a Sovereign GOD so in love with His creation that He is willing to do anything to win them back to Himself.
Also, there is no better articulation of love than the definition given in 1 Corinthians 13.
The Bible is where we can find GOD’s original intent for His creation, both men and women, as well as marriage.
My suggestion? Find a version you can understand, like the New Century Version (NCV) or New Living Translation (NLT). For more on marriage, read Genesis 2, The book of Proverbs, Matthew 19, 1 Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5 and Hebrews 13.
If you are a believer, I recommend this because the insight found here is God-breathed and invaluable, as Charles Spurgeon said, “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.”
2. Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul
Captivating was written by husband and wife team John and Stasi Eldredge. This book changed my life because it changed my perspective about myself. My mentor in Kansas recommended it to me at a time when I called her in tears, on the brink of giving up on myself.
Why you should read this book – This book is beautifully written. Aside from a few pop culture references that you may not get, John and Stasi Eldredge do a wonderful job speaking to the heart of women. The book takes you on an unexpected journey. First it shines a bright light on a woman’s deepest desires, then it digs into your past bringing to the surface old hurts and disappointments that may not have fully healed. Finally, it frees you to forgive and gives you hope. This book says healing is possible, forgiveness is possible. If up until this point you have silenced your deepest desires and disqualified yourself because of your past, get ready to come face to face with your true self. This book reminds women that with all our struggles and imperfections, as an individual, we still have an irreplaceable role.
My suggestion? Pace yourself. Read only a chapter a day. At your core, you are a most delicate being. Even if you don’t believe that you will be challenged in the first few chapters and it can be rough. I found this book at a time when I was struggling in my emotions. I made myself numb to a lot of things and had deadened those emotional sensors that allowed me to feel both joy and pain. I was a wreck reading through this book. Chapter 4 is entitled “Wounded” and it explores the many negative messages women receive in childhood from wounds that they embrace and take with them into maturity. Chapter six is entitled “Healing the Wound.” This book is a soul searching journey worth taking.
3. Covenant Marriage
Covenant Marriage is written by relationship counselor, Gary Chapman.
Why you should read this book – Covenant Marriage does a great job of detailing the difference between a covenant and a contract. Most people get married with the hope that the marriage is for life and will last forever. Yet, in Western culture, there’s a 50% divorce rate. Covenants DO last forever. Contracts, however, can be broken. Too many people are entering marriage with a contract mindset, expecting a covenant outcome. Everyone who truly desires a lifelong, happy marriage deserves the security of a covenant marriage.
Highlights – Gary Chapman discusses the critical role communication plays in marriage. Chapter 6 helps you with identifying unhealthy patterns of communication. Chapter 7 talks about the different levels of communication and Chapter 10 talks about the art of self-revelation. All very practical and insightful.
4. The 5 Love Languages
The 5 Love Languages is another book written by Gary Chapman.
Why you should read this book – People express and receive love in different ways. Gary Chapman wrote this book on the premise that in general people interpret love through one of 5 ways: Words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. If a person’s love language is quality time but they are only showered with gifts, they may be unhappy and even feel unloved because their primary language isn’t being spoken. It’s important that you be able to identify your significant other’s love language so that you can express your love for them in a way they can receive it. It’s also equally important for you to know your primary love language(s) so that you can articulate it to your mate, giving them an opportunity to express love in a way you can receive it.
Highlights – Chapter 10, Love is a choice. Love has been described as many things using a plethora of flowery adjectives seeking to capture its true essence, but the bottom line is love is a choice, (whether calculated or not). To get married is to say love is a choice you will make every day for the rest of your life. One clear memory I have of my wedding day is making this declaration to choose love every day, “in the presence or absence of romantic feelings,” (a line from our wedding vows). In chapter 10 Gary Chapman addresses the rebuttals of people who may say things like “My spouse’s love language is physical touch but I’ve never been the holding hands, hugging type of person.” Chapman’s response, “Love is a choice. Get over it. Love is about the other person. Not about you. Choose to be that person for your spouse.”
Find your love language now by taking the quiz here.
5. Created to be His Help Meet
Created to be His Help Meet is written by Debi Pearl. I received this book as a gift at my bridal shower from another young bride. I’m actually still in the process of reading it.
Why you should read this book – Debi Pearl has been married to her husband Michael for 43 years. That is quite an accomplishment, considering these days its not unheard of for people to separate 6 months after marriage or even murder their spouse 8 days in to the marriage. In this book, Debi issues a seemingly simple challenge to all wives, and would-be wives, “Trust God, no matter what. Or do it your way and see how that works for you.” In the event that as a married woman you wake up and discover you’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray…and who you thought was your husband is really a no-good, insensitive, jerk – Debi makes the case that you still have an obligation to that man as your husband because of your obligation to God and your role as help meet. God hasn’t changed his mind.
Highlights – In Chapter 1 Debi breaks down the term Help Meet, which originates from the book of Genesis (Genesis 2:18). Debi states again, and again, that women do have a choice in how good their marriage will be. Debi also publishes letters written by other women seeking her advice and publishes her response to them as well. Mrs. Pearl is extremely frank and at times I wondered, “Is she allowed to say that?” Chapter 3 is entitled, “A Thankful Spirit.” I found that chapter particular challenging because essentially it says “You never have to have a bad day,” and that made me uncomfortable in the moment. However, I know that’s not far-fetched. Yes, difficult days will come and challenges will arise but I can choose to focus on them or focus on all the good in life. Debi’s bottom-line “You can excuse yourself from responsibility by mentally assigning various excuses to your situation, or you can choose to believe GOD and become a 100% help meet regardless of anything that would stand in your way. Which will it be?” The entire book highlights practical ways to be a help meet, as originally intended, in a changing world.
These are my 5 recommendations.
What other book suggestions do you have for wives and would-be wives? Share your suggestions in the comments section.
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