Beyond Awkward Side Hugs

Reviewed by:

Tim Pietz from Rubicon, WI, a Professional Writing student at Taylor University in Upland, IN.



Beyond Awkward Side Hugs


Bronwyn Lea


Nelson Books (Thomas Nelson)

Publication Date:

April, 2020




201 pages


Relationships with the opposite gender can be awkward. Maybe you’re a single woman who’s the odd one out around your married friends. Maybe you’re a young man struggling with lust and the contradicting advice of “avoid temptation” and “get married quick” leaves your head spinning. Maybe you’re a married woman and you’re not sure how to navigate a relationship with a longtime friend, who happens to be a man. Maybe you’re an older single man who wants to mentor and encourage young men and women, but you’re afraid of creating misperceptions. In Beyond Awkward Side Hugs, Bronwyn Lea navigates the challenges of building Christian relationships with the opposite sex—whether that be in dating, marriage, or friendship.

Lea’s engaging prose and personal examples give life and depth to this book. It’s a broad and ambitious subject, but Lea considers a variety of reader contexts and builds general principles that apply to anyone. We can each express our male-ness or female-ness without sex. We are all members of the Christian family. Marriage is to be our most intimate relationship, but it’s not intended to be our only relationship.

One drawback of Lea’s broad approach is that the messages for more specific audiences and scenarios are scattered throughout. A few major questions (e.g., what about ministry sex scandals?) aren’t addressed until near the end of the book. Some readers might lose interest, assuming their biggest questions won’t be answered. With that said, the broad approach also builds empathy. A book about relationships shouldn’t just benefit a reader—it should benefit a community. Beyond Awkward Side Hugs does an excellent job of putting that at the forefront.



4 out of 5

Suggested Audience:

A wide age range of Christian adults

Christian Impact:

Navigating friendships with the opposite gender

Beyond Awkward Side Hugs: Living as Christian Brothers and Sisters in a Sex-Crazed World

About ECLA Web Team

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals. This account is managed by the ECLA Web Team.

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