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Can Ordinary Marriages Become Extraordinary? He snapped at her during breakfast. She brought up a past mistake. He walked out angry. She left without saying good-bye. An ordinary day in an ordinary marriage. But what if things could be different? What if the moments that seem the most ordinary moments of annoyance, conflict, pain, or cold indifference could become moments i Can Ordinary Marriages Become Extraordinary? He snapped at her during breakfast. She brought up a past mistake. He walked out angry. She left without saying good-bye. An ordinary day in an ordinary marriage. But what if things could be different? What if the moments that seem the most ordinary moments of annoyance, conflict, pain, or cold indifference could become moments in which you're able to understand God's incredible agenda for love and begin to do something new? Winston T. Smith, drawing on his extensive experience as a marriage counselor, offers a simple yet powerful prescription for changing your marriage. He shows how examining the everyday disappointments and irritations in your marriage will help you understand yourself, your spouse, and your need for God's love. Change begins with seeing day-to-day interactions from a different perspective, taking simple steps to love one another more effectively, and then learning how to take those steps over and over again. Interactions that used to devolve into pointless annoyances and fights can become an opportunity for God's activity and love to become increasingly evident and powerful. The principles in this book will take your marriage to extraordinary places and lead you into a deeper relationship with an extraordinary God. Don't settle for an ordinary marriage, learn to live out God's extraordinary love in your most intimate relationship.


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Can Ordinary Marriages Become Extraordinary? He snapped at her during breakfast. She brought up a past mistake. He walked out angry. She left without saying good-bye. An ordinary day in an ordinary marriage. But what if things could be different? What if the moments that seem the most ordinary moments of annoyance, conflict, pain, or cold indifference could become moments i Can Ordinary Marriages Become Extraordinary? He snapped at her during breakfast. She brought up a past mistake. He walked out angry. She left without saying good-bye. An ordinary day in an ordinary marriage. But what if things could be different? What if the moments that seem the most ordinary moments of annoyance, conflict, pain, or cold indifference could become moments in which you're able to understand God's incredible agenda for love and begin to do something new? Winston T. Smith, drawing on his extensive experience as a marriage counselor, offers a simple yet powerful prescription for changing your marriage. He shows how examining the everyday disappointments and irritations in your marriage will help you understand yourself, your spouse, and your need for God's love. Change begins with seeing day-to-day interactions from a different perspective, taking simple steps to love one another more effectively, and then learning how to take those steps over and over again. Interactions that used to devolve into pointless annoyances and fights can become an opportunity for God's activity and love to become increasingly evident and powerful. The principles in this book will take your marriage to extraordinary places and lead you into a deeper relationship with an extraordinary God. Don't settle for an ordinary marriage, learn to live out God's extraordinary love in your most intimate relationship.

30 review for Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change through Ordinary Moments

  1. 5 out of 5

    Spencer R

    A Sample can be found here: http://www.wtsbooks.com/common/pdf_li... This is a wonderful book about marriage. The best my wife and I have read so far. Winston Smith is a counselor and faculty member at CCEF, and sets out to lend his expertise in marriage counseling. He writes about marriage in the ordinary moments, after the hourly butterfly feelings leave, and when life consists if coming home from work and figuring out how to juggle relationships and daily activities without feeling defeated. O A Sample can be found here: http://www.wtsbooks.com/common/pdf_li... This is a wonderful book about marriage. The best my wife and I have read so far. Winston Smith is a counselor and faculty member at CCEF, and sets out to lend his expertise in marriage counseling. He writes about marriage in the ordinary moments, after the hourly butterfly feelings leave, and when life consists if coming home from work and figuring out how to juggle relationships and daily activities without feeling defeated. Ordinary moments reveal our problems with God. They show that we don’t trust him as much as we should, or we don’t love him like we think we do. This book isn’t full of cute, pithy sayings and applications. Instead, it looks behind the issues. Smith starts off by recalling a story where he was preparing for a Bible study that night while waiting for his wife to arrive home from a wedding shower (or so). The issue at hand is Smith needs to leave the house soon, but he won’t have time to bring the kids to soccer/dancing/football practice. Yet his wife can’t seem to pick up the phone when he calls. So, of coursed, stressed, he gets agitated. Yet he admits he never once considered that something bad may have happened to her. There may actually be a reason she hasn’t answered his phone calls. Worse yet, Smith isn’t trusting God. He’s more focused on himself and doing well at the Bible study than he is concerned about his wife and family. Smith’s honesty about him and his wife bring personality to the book, as life can bring as many (or more) bad days as good. And the Smiths aren't afraid to admit that. He looks behind the problems that arise in a marriage, shows what’s going on, what’s wrong, and how we can look to Christ for true understanding. Smith covers topics like be honest with yourself and your spouse, conflict (how it can be and is good), forgiveness, intimacy, how your actions make a difference, and more. There are sixteen chapters in all, but only two are three are fairly long. Most are easy to read in one sitting (even better out loud with your spouse). Highly recommended. I'd give this book 6 stars if I could.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Mitchell

    Winsome, hearty, clear, humorous, and thoroughly biblical, Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments is a realistic look at marriage and what it takes to truly improve our relationships. Winston Smith starts with a theological foundation--our marriages aren't just about us, they are about God and His extraordinary love. Then he takes that gospel foundation and builds a strong household upon it. The second and third sections are not just theoretical but intensely practical, a Winsome, hearty, clear, humorous, and thoroughly biblical, Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments is a realistic look at marriage and what it takes to truly improve our relationships. Winston Smith starts with a theological foundation--our marriages aren't just about us, they are about God and His extraordinary love. Then he takes that gospel foundation and builds a strong household upon it. The second and third sections are not just theoretical but intensely practical, and he demonstrates all of the principles he is teaching through real-to-life illustrations from the perspectives of both the wife and the husband. This is Smith's first full-length book, and, at times, it feels kind of like a textbook. After all, he is a seminary professor! But unlike most books on marriage, this is the book that I would want my "class" to read. A bonus for me is that I've had Smith as a teacher and taken the class from which this book arose. This is really good stuff. Consider this exhortation from pages 36-37: "If your marriage is going to change, you need to change. It's easy to waste time waiting, hoping, perhaps insisting that your spouse change. Sadly, you have no power to make another person change. When you begin your quest for change by looking at yourself and your own need for change, then you can have hope. You have a responsibility and also the ability to change. But you can only do that in a lasting, meaningful way as you turn from your own idols and learn to live a life of true worship." Challenging and hope-giving in the same paragraph! As a pastor, I've searched high and low for a "go-to book" on marriage--one that I could agree with nearly 100% of its counsel and one that was good to read by both the husband and the wife. Now I've found it. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Devin

    It's all here. Perhaps one of the most comprehensive Christian books on marriage I've ever read. Only four stars, though, as it reads a little too much like Smith's own (and unimpressive) autobiography instead, painting a picture of a man and a life which I did not want to emulate. The actual advice from chapter-to-chapter, though, is spot on. His main emphasis, which I completely appreciated, is that no one can change their spouse's behavior. They can only learn to repent of their own sin and be It's all here. Perhaps one of the most comprehensive Christian books on marriage I've ever read. Only four stars, though, as it reads a little too much like Smith's own (and unimpressive) autobiography instead, painting a picture of a man and a life which I did not want to emulate. The actual advice from chapter-to-chapter, though, is spot on. His main emphasis, which I completely appreciated, is that no one can change their spouse's behavior. They can only learn to repent of their own sin and be a better husband or wife, improving their half of the deal which improves the marriage as a whole.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Very good read. I worked through most of the book with my husband and we both found it very helpful and at times eye opening. If you are looking for a good marriage resource, this is it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mari

    the best marriage book I have ever come across.. and to be honest, I've read a good deal of those this year. the best marriage book I have ever come across.. and to be honest, I've read a good deal of those this year.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    Well, after writing this entire review and losing it, I'll just say that this marriage book is head-and-shoulders above it's contemporaries, the writing is for real couples with real marriages and real issues. Smith offers real hope from a real Savior who is powerful to save and change hearts. If you have read other marriage books and had the hit-or-miss experience I have, I don't believe you would be disappointed with this one. Well, after writing this entire review and losing it, I'll just say that this marriage book is head-and-shoulders above it's contemporaries, the writing is for real couples with real marriages and real issues. Smith offers real hope from a real Savior who is powerful to save and change hearts. If you have read other marriage books and had the hit-or-miss experience I have, I don't believe you would be disappointed with this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nita

    Loved it! Think I saw this book on a friend's recommendation list and picked it up. I am not having marital problems but was seeking ways to be a better Christian wife. Have gotten lots of great takeaways and glad I actually bought it instead of borrowing from library. Loved it! Think I saw this book on a friend's recommendation list and picked it up. I am not having marital problems but was seeking ways to be a better Christian wife. Have gotten lots of great takeaways and glad I actually bought it instead of borrowing from library.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pavel

    Outstanding book that shows how to turn ordinary disappointments of the day by day life into opportunities for growth in love, faith and intimacy. Written from a pastoral perspective, doctrinally sound. Highly recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matt Kottman

    Excellent volume on marriage. Gospel centered and practical. A marriage must read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Loraena

    Best marriage book I've read. Best marriage book I've read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

    I'm unmarried, so the force of this book must have been somewhat lost on me. After all, what does somebody like me know about frustration and suffering? However, 'Marriage Matters' is instructive on many levels for anybody. As I read, it often seemed like I was reading a commentary on Ephesians. Smith explains that in the first three chapters of Ephesians, "God had... a plan to love us, to make us his children, and to make us more like Jesus". Based on God's love and support that we see, we can l I'm unmarried, so the force of this book must have been somewhat lost on me. After all, what does somebody like me know about frustration and suffering? However, 'Marriage Matters' is instructive on many levels for anybody. As I read, it often seemed like I was reading a commentary on Ephesians. Smith explains that in the first three chapters of Ephesians, "God had... a plan to love us, to make us his children, and to make us more like Jesus". Based on God's love and support that we see, we can love our spouse or others as Christ loved them, and we can examine ourselves and live in response to God's grace. Starting from first principles, 'Marriage Matters' challenges us to live a holy life centred around God. "The goal of holiness carries a high price. Jesus' love for us was costly and painful, ultimately requiring him to lay down his life for us. Husbands are called upon to love in a similar way, to know and imitate Jesus' example of loving the church. Your love is to be sacrificial, placing the needs of your wife above your own. Husbands, in what ways will helping your wife grow require you to suffer loss? How will you have to say no to yourselves so you can say yes to love?" Smith discusses many answers to these two questions. 'Marriage Matters' helps us recognise our unconscious expressions of greed and pride, and to replace them with sacrifice and humility. A few other excerpts: "But now a new reality was emerging in my mind. Would it be horrible if I made a mistake? No. My duty is to love her, not to be perfect. In fact, sometimes loving her may well disappoint her." "God's unconditional love means that he can give us that kind of love for our spouses. We aren't left to generate positive emotions for our spouses when they happen to be giving us what we want. We can give them the love that we've received from God – powerful, unconditional love that doesn't change when disappointed or sinned against. The Bible calls this grace." "I recently met with a couple struggling in their marriage, and the wife shared that one of the things that's helped her the most is remembering that her husband isn't just her husband but a child of God and her brother." "Forgiving isn't the same as forgetting. It isn't a divine form of amnesia. God doesn't ask us to live as people without a history or pretend that sins never happened. In fact, being able to recall how God has delivered us through marital storms, empowering us to confess, forgive, and overcome, can give us hope and an anchor in future storms." "God gives authority to some to ensure that in every arena of relationship someone is responsible for the care of others. Certain duties that need special attention or ability may be delegated, but the one in authority has the added responsibility of assuring that needs in every area are being met. Even if everyone else is dropping the ball, the one with authority is required to notice and take action." "To persevere through the difficulties of marriage, you must have faith that God is present and active even when you can't see what he's up to. When you believe that, you believe that your actions make a difference. There's no guarantee that your spouse will respond to God's love, but you'll be spared slavery to bitterness, fear, and hopelessness. You'll experience the victory of knowing that the sins of others can't separate you from God's presence, love, and power." "The Bible itself is the story of a marriage – God's marriage to his people."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Excellent no matter how many anniversaries When I began reading this book , my husband and I had been married for 19 years . As I learned and was challenged by what I was reading in this book : agape love , honor , respect , and forgiveness , etc., we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary . I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to be challenged to grow in their marriage , no matter the number of years you've been married . If you are the only one desiring growth , I would encour Excellent no matter how many anniversaries When I began reading this book , my husband and I had been married for 19 years . As I learned and was challenged by what I was reading in this book : agape love , honor , respect , and forgiveness , etc., we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary . I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to be challenged to grow in their marriage , no matter the number of years you've been married . If you are the only one desiring growth , I would encourage you to read this and study the accompanying Scripture verses that apply to your part of the relationship . Finally , because God hates divorce , this book encourages you to focus on building up your spouse; giving without unrealistic expectations; don't give satan a foothold to lead you down that road . (For my husband and I , when trials come , we trust our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to carry us through . Not allowing "d" to ever be an option, has also been one of the blessings in our marriage . ) Yes, this author does touch on abusive relationships , that sometimes are unable to survive , even after counseling and outside help . However , the spirit and focus of this book is that every marriage (between a man and a woman ) matters , every single day , in joys and trials , too. I personally learned some things that I had forgotten over the years . I'm planning to look for and read additional books that will encourage me to continually seek to be the wife my husband needs me to be . In every season of our marriage , I want the Lord to bless our marriage !

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nancy DeValve

    I've read quite a few books on marriage that I didn't like that much. Probably because they often define what men are like and what women are like and how men react and how women react. And then John and I are thinking, is something wrong with us? Because we just don't fit those stereotypes. This book didn't do that at all. Instead, it helps you to see that conflict and problems in marriage are because neither husband nor wife are perfect. The big take-away for me was when I am upset with my hus I've read quite a few books on marriage that I didn't like that much. Probably because they often define what men are like and what women are like and how men react and how women react. And then John and I are thinking, is something wrong with us? Because we just don't fit those stereotypes. This book didn't do that at all. Instead, it helps you to see that conflict and problems in marriage are because neither husband nor wife are perfect. The big take-away for me was when I am upset with my husband, step back and take a look. Generally I am also at fault. How do I need to change is the question to ask, not how can I change my husband. The author does say several times that if you are in an abusive marriage, that you need to get help. If you are having issues that are hurtful to your spouse (such as pornography or gambling) you also need to get help. These are things that you and your spouse probably can't fix by yourselves. The author also talks about what it looks like to truly ask for forgiveness and to extend forgiveness. This is not a skill that comes to most of us naturally. I appreciated this book because it was a good reminder to look at MY imperfections and take the first step to change ME. I need to see the ugly in me, before I can address the ugly in my spouse.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Derek J

    Great book for all married people. This is one of the best books I have read on marriage. It is packed full of insightful wisdom, and I thoroughly appreciated how it causes one to focus on their own imperfections and learning how to improve themselves if they want their marriage to improve.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ben Cooper

    Like other books from CCEF background, the Bible handling is sometimes a little ho-hum or clunky. But the application is fresh and insightful, with particularly good sections on managing conflict and forgiveness.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David M

    Good advice for selfish people Perfect people don't need to read this book. My first marriage ended in 2018 when Debbie went to heaven. A friend and I are reading and discussing MARRIAGE MATTERS. I want to follow his primary advice. Do everything out of love Good advice for selfish people Perfect people don't need to read this book. My first marriage ended in 2018 when Debbie went to heaven. A friend and I are reading and discussing MARRIAGE MATTERS. I want to follow his primary advice. Do everything out of love

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monica Litteral

    This is a wonderful book many insights and inspiration for examining my heart and responses - striving to honor Christ as I love, serve, encourage, and obey my husband. My attitude, response, and actions matter.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ian Rees

    Helpful princples in many ways, but it was hard work getting through it. Perhaps there weren't enough examples and stories to add a human face to it all. Helpful princples in many ways, but it was hard work getting through it. Perhaps there weren't enough examples and stories to add a human face to it all.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kendra

    This has been the best book on the subject of marriage that I’ve read so far!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Keith Kresge

    Alright. Not the place to start.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shay Prendergast

    A really excellent book on marriage. We did this in a group study at our church and it led to some really useful and thoughtful discussions.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John Carroll

    A thorough look at the biblical view of marriage, it’s challenges and it’s rewards. I heartily recommend this book for all who desire to see their marriage from God’s perspective and to stay on the path till death do us part.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Winston hit this one out of the park. This book is really good. I was a little put off by the subtitle "ordinary change through ordinary moments" because I don't consider living in sin an ordinary moment. I think of ordinary as when I am walking with God. But perhaps others ordinarily don't walk with God and thus for them ordinary is pretty ugly. If the tone of your home, or aroma of your home (to borrow from another great book on marriage) is one of bitterness, anger, hurt feelings, and silence Winston hit this one out of the park. This book is really good. I was a little put off by the subtitle "ordinary change through ordinary moments" because I don't consider living in sin an ordinary moment. I think of ordinary as when I am walking with God. But perhaps others ordinarily don't walk with God and thus for them ordinary is pretty ugly. If the tone of your home, or aroma of your home (to borrow from another great book on marriage) is one of bitterness, anger, hurt feelings, and silence because of lack of fellowship, this book is for you (or if you know someone who lives like this). Winston hits the nail on the head in every chapter. Every topic is focused on helping people evaluate, observe, and measure every aspect of their relationships, first with God and then with one another. Chapters 12 and 13 are really stellar: "Foundations for Forgiveness" and "Forgiveness in Marriage." I don't know if these really spoke to me because I'd already read the rest of the book or if these chapters would stand alone. But I think you all should buy this book and jump to those chapters and read them first. Then go back and read the rest of the book. Forgiveness is huge. Letting go of the past is huge. Accepting and forgetting and not holding "it" against one another for years and years is amazingly important in all relationships, especially in marriage. The funny thing is that we have such a difficult time accepting that God has forgiven us. He does not hold our sin against us. He even refuses to remember our sin (Heb. 10:17, 18). One of the most difficult things in the normal Christian life is to believe that we are cleansed from our sin. And when we think that way about our own sin and God, to then turn it around and ask us to forgive someone who has sinned against us, especially someone close to us, who has hurt us in a personal way, is virtually unthinkable. But the prayer we pray every Sunday is, "Lord, forgive us our debts, trespasses, sins, as we forgive those who have broken our hearts." It is still sad for me to think that the family that needs to constantly work through these things is an ordinary family. But perhaps if enough folks read and apply Winston's book, the ordinary will become the extraordinary and the world will will see that we love one another and believe that we are followers of Christ (Jn. 13:35). When that happens, we will have an effective witness to our communities and Jesus will begin to reign in the lives of those around us. Oh, and then the Kingdom will come on earth as it is in Heaven. Hmmm. Its beginning to sound familiar. Great job Winston. I can't wait to see what's next.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    While reading any information on building a better marriage is valuable, this book was pretty run-of-the-mill compared to other Christian Marriage books. I’ve read quite a few Christian Marriage books recently, and most of them are all the same. They include stories about the author’s marriage, stories about the people the author has counseled, anecdotes about strangers the author has heard about, and biblical principles and Bible verses sprinkled throughout. I’m not saying that any of those thi While reading any information on building a better marriage is valuable, this book was pretty run-of-the-mill compared to other Christian Marriage books. I’ve read quite a few Christian Marriage books recently, and most of them are all the same. They include stories about the author’s marriage, stories about the people the author has counseled, anecdotes about strangers the author has heard about, and biblical principles and Bible verses sprinkled throughout. I’m not saying that any of those things are bad on their own, it is just so typical of a Christian book on marriage. In some ways, I don’t know what would make this common structure better. Perhaps if more books focused in on one subject rather than having a different chapter for each theme the author wants to discuss. I don’t know that this is the answer - It just seems like there is a problem in this sub-genre because after a while, all of the books start to sound the same. This particular book is fine. There is some good information. Even when I felt like the author was going over subject matter that I have read about multiple times before, I still pressed on because it never hurts to reinforce good teaching in your mind. It just isn’t the most interesting reading experience. If this is the first Christian Marriage book that you pick up this year, there will be tons of good information for you to explore.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    This is probably one of the best practical marriage books I've read. It's written in a simple, straightforward style and is easy to digest. I read this while taking a class with Winston, but this is NOT one of those books where the prof is just making you read it for his own benefit, where everyone learns the material better from another book. I've already started recommending this book to others. This is probably one of the best practical marriage books I've read. It's written in a simple, straightforward style and is easy to digest. I read this while taking a class with Winston, but this is NOT one of those books where the prof is just making you read it for his own benefit, where everyone learns the material better from another book. I've already started recommending this book to others.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Arlie

    It took me months to read this book - and I talked about it to heaps of people along the way. It made me think and evaluate aspects of relationship to my husband and to God in enlightening ways. I appreciated the author's use of biblical text and teaching throughout the book. While he addressed behaviour, I felt like he took it to a much deeper level than any other marriage reading I've done. What are my motivations? Where do they come from? What do they say about myself? A fabulous read that ha It took me months to read this book - and I talked about it to heaps of people along the way. It made me think and evaluate aspects of relationship to my husband and to God in enlightening ways. I appreciated the author's use of biblical text and teaching throughout the book. While he addressed behaviour, I felt like he took it to a much deeper level than any other marriage reading I've done. What are my motivations? Where do they come from? What do they say about myself? A fabulous read that had me thinking and talking.

  27. 5 out of 5

    J. J.

    This is an excellent book. I was impressed both with the author's strong commitment to a biblical approach as well as his willingness to use good family systems research to complement and illustrate his biblically based methodology.. This is an excellent book. I was impressed both with the author's strong commitment to a biblical approach as well as his willingness to use good family systems research to complement and illustrate his biblically based methodology..

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    Many valuable and practical insight here. The way he describes and applies how we tend to move towards, away from, or against people is an especially helpful rubric. It's probably a little longer than it needs to be and his style is sometimes wooden. Many valuable and practical insight here. The way he describes and applies how we tend to move towards, away from, or against people is an especially helpful rubric. It's probably a little longer than it needs to be and his style is sometimes wooden.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Luke Evans

    Very good. Not as good as Tripp, but very good.

  30. 4 out of 5

    sarah

    really loved this book...so thought-provoking, encouraging and challenging

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