Monday, February 8, 2010

The Marriage Project by Kathi Lipp -- FIRST Chapter & Review

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (December 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Kathi Lipp for sending me a review copy.***


Kathi is married to Roger, the Worship Arts Director at Church on the Hill in San Jose. They have four kids and live in San Jose, CA. When she’s not doing laundry, Kathi is a full-time speaker and writer whose articles have appeared in Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman and Christian Parenting Today. Her first books, The Husband Project and The Marriage Project were both released by Harvest House.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (December 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736925287
ISBN-13: 978-0736925280

My Review:

For The Marriage Project to have any lasting effect, you need to be part of a community that will love you and cheer you to the finish line.

Personally, I think that both "The Husband Project" and "The Marriage Project" are fabulous ideas and will be so helpful to so many. (I'm sure my next door neighbor will love it as she leads her marriage groups at church). But for me they books that I cannot live out to the fullest, because that community support is just not there. I can pick parts of the ideas from the book out and work things through a bit with my Enginerd. Yet the fullest parts are not available.

There is nothing more that I want in life right now than to have that community, but we just cannot find it. I have not given up hope yet though. We keep trying. And until we do find it, we make do.

So why go through The Marriage Project if you're the only one doing it? Because it's not just for your spouse, it's for you and your marriage. Plus, it's an act of worship. Every act of obedience is an act of worship. ... This isn't just about what "we" can do in our marriages. It's about what "God" can do when we obey, even when it doesn't seem to make a difference.

After starting the book and feeling down about not having a "community support". Reading this makes me realize that if I pursue the project that it can be done. It would just be "better" with more. I know these phrases are hinting toward a spouse that is not interested in participating in the project, but it means more to me than that.

The biggest suggestion I have to people who feel overwhelmed or insufficient for participating in "The Marriage Project" is to read chapter ten before completely saying, no thanks. You might just change your perspective. I really did not think that this was something I could do or even slightly handle. Yet I could not put down the book, the pages kept turning. The chapters are short and the projects do-able. Kathi's words are so personable and inviting, not to mention humorous that I am eager to read what is next. This really turned from something that I assumed would be painful into an incredible learning and growing experience.

I highly recommend it. Now... I just need to go back and find my copy of "The Husband Project"... I think I need a revamp...


Why The Marriage Project?

With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.

-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I have a shelf full of marriage books and I bet if you‘ve been married for any amount of time, you do too.

Most of the books that we own are great books. They talk about God’s desire for a healthy marriage, the theories behind a healthy marriage, and what a healthy marriage should look like if you apply these principles.

Some of those marriage books have had a great impact on my relationship with my husband.

Most of them? They ended up on our bookshelf as things I feel guilty for 1) not implementing on a daily basis and 2) not dusting.

When Roger and I got married we both brought two teenagers, two full-time jobs, and a host of volunteer activities into the relationship. There just wasn’t much time to be sitting up in bed after a long day, taking turns reading pages out of marriage enhancement books and staring longingly, with great resolve, into each other’s eyes.

On the other hand, Roger and I both determined to make this marriage work. We each had been in marriages that ended in divorce, and we were committed to being absolutely intentional to do everything we could, in God’s power, to see that we had a marriage that not only lasted, but also was honoring to Him and filled with joy.

That’s when the crazy ideas started to flow.

First, there was The Husband Project, where I challenged my friends (and myself) to bless our men for 21 days without expecting anything in return. While most women kept it a secret from their husbands, I had to tell Roger eventually (he had a right to know what book I was working on seven hours a day).

After that, Roger and I wanted a project to complete as a couple. The results of that are what you hold in your hand.

I wanted a way to bless my marriage that was very practical, fun, following God’s plan and purpose for marriage (and perhaps just a little bit flirty). I needed something that wasn’t just a theory about what to do about my marriage – I wanted some checkboxes. I wanted something that would instruct me, “This is what you do, now go and do it.”

That is what I needed, and that is what I ended up writing.

Becoming an Expert on Your Own Marriage

I’m definitely not a marriage expert. After one failed marriage and just four years into my second one, I’m probably not the first person you’d approach for marital advice. (Although the fact that Roger and I got married with four teenagers between us, and we’re still together, should earn us some kind of presidential Medal of Honor. Or at least a nifty certificate in a leatherette case.)

So I gleaned and condensed the very best advice from every marriage book on our shelves and adapted it into short, doable steps – or projects, that we could work on together.

This is how I have to manage almost every area of my life – whether it’s healthy eating, child rearing, Bible study, and most recently, marriage. It’s not enough that I know what I’m supposed to do; I need to have a plan to get up and do it.

Through these crazy little projects (most taking less than five or ten minutes) my husband and I learned new things about each other. We rediscovered what makes each other tick, confirmed some basics we already knew, and found new and exciting ways to encourage one another. While I may not be a marriage expert, I became an expert on my marriage.

I love how The Message Bible illustrates the words of James when it comes to putting feet to our thoughts:

Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? (James 2:14-17)

We can talk about marriage all day long. We can buy books and listen to podcasts about how we should have great marriages. We can listen to sermons and do Bible studies. But, unless we put some God-acts to our God-talk, no one benefits.

Hundreds of couples have done the Projects before you. These simple acts have been proven to change not only people’s behavior, but also their attitudes. I pray that God pours out His blessings on you and your marriage as you put feet to His plan for your marriage.

Here's a limited preview

The Marriage Project: 21 Days to More Love and LaughterThe Husband Project: 21 Days of Loving Your Man--on Purpose and with a Plan

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