The video and study guide series would be awesome for a couples small group. Notice I didn’t say married couples, because as one of the well-known couples shared on the video interviews, they wish they’d learned these precepts before marriage.
We often place people like those sharing on the video clips – John and Staci Eldridge, Gary and Lisa Thomas, Art and Lisa Terkeurst, Chip and Theresa Ingram, Gordon and Gail MacDonald, and Les and Leslie Parrott – on spiritual pedestals because they seem to have conquered or been exempted from our issues or struggles. They reveal quite the opposite in their candid discussions of how they met, what forms the foundation in their marriage, their identity in Christ and paths to Christ in marriage.
For example, our church’s small group utilized a couple of studies featuring Chip Ingram. They were good, and I learned things from them but I now respect his teachings more because he revealed an authenticity and vulnerability in the Starting Strong videos. When I know someone has been in the trenches and survived, I feel they have earned the right to my attention.
Over our 50+ years of marriage I’ve learned to respect my husband’s wisdom to recognize one of the issues discussed in the videos – discerning the real enemy and not reacting to feelings. Hearing a respected couple share how their marriage was saved by discovering that the feelings driving their reactions were not stirred by their spouse could be pivotal for many other marriages and relationships.
The study guide questions and discussion prompts are valuable and doable. The study guide author, Amy McGowan (Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary) helps us to see that God ministers to and through everyday people as well as the nationally recognized couples in this series. The discussion time after each video session opens the way to mutually develop strong and biblically based marriages.
Just as the sessions reveal how each lesson brought the couples closer to God and each other, I believe any couple, small group or couples ministry will also experience new depth in their relationships through this series.
I will definitely be looking for future volumes and recommending this series to our church family.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.