(Book review) Single. Dating. Engaged. Married.


Reviewed by Megan Burkhart, a professional writing major at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.

 


Introduction

Title: Single. Dating. Engaged. Married.

AuthorBen Stuart

PublisherThomas Nelson

Publication DateSeptember 12, 2017

FormatPaperback

Length236 pages

OVERVIEW

In his debut book, Ben Stuart unpacks what it means to follow the stages of being single, entering upon dating, getting engaged, and becoming married. He approaches each phase of life from the perspective of, “We must get a relationship with God right before we will ever get a relationship with a guy or a girl right.” He starts with singleness, a time when we should be pursuing God with undistracted devotion. The focus should be on doing the work of the King, not searching as yet for our prince or princess.

He then transitions into dating, which he describes as a time of evaluation. Is the person we are with someone we would want to consider one day marrying? In this area, Stuart focuses on two key things: character and chemistry. Character means we are looking for a person who emulates God in what he or she says and does. Chemistry means we are looking for a person we click with and enjoy talking to. This is not an either/or. We need both in a potential spouse.  

In the engagement section, Stuart emphasizes the word union. Engagement is not only a time of wedding planning, but also of uniting all areas of two different people’s lives. This involves joining finances, families, and personal goals. While this can be a stressful time for many, the fiancés should be growing closer in commitment, love, and trust as they approach their wedding day.

The final phase is the actual marriage. The long journey of searching for “the one” is over. Stuart likens this stage to a boat finally coming into port after a long time at sea. He goes on to say marriage is “safest when it is on mission.” Marriage should be two people running toward God, helping each other to flourish under God. This requires sacrifice, and it is exactly what Christ did for the Church, his bride.

No matter what stage you find yourself in, you can glean life-changing truth from this book. God is your true source of love and life, and when you trust him with every area of your life, he will guide your relationships through the boisterous waters safely into port.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Stuart writes for a Christian audience seeking answers to what godly relationships should look like. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged, or married, this book will guide you through how to maximize each stage of your life in pursuing God’s purposes.

Christian Impact

Stuart uses many biblical passages and examples to guide readers through each relationship phase. At the end of every phase, he includes case studies that focus on a specific character or characters from the Bible. Stuart then walks through how these people followed God’s plan and trusted his timing in their relationships. He engages the Word of God deeply and helps his readers see how the Bible can impact their daily lives.



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About Evangelical Church Library Association

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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