A Solution for Improving Relationships & Marriages - Book Review
How to strengthen God's first institution - the family.

DEL CITY - Everyday more than 3,500 marriages fail. If trends continue, more marriages will be dissolved by divorce than by the death of a spouse. And more than half of the couples who file for divorce lived together before they got married. Increasingly, both secular and religious leaders are concerned that the state of the American family is in danger.

Tom and Jeannie Elliff are partners in writing a new book, Letters to Lovers: Wisdom for Every Season of Your Marriage (Broadman and Holman). The former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Tom has conducted hundreds of marriages in nearly thirty years. Incredibly, only two of those marriages have ended in divorce.

The Elliffs interest in protecting marriages started in part when the court in their community began issuing more divorces than marriage licenses. In Letters to Lovers, they share knowledge and insight from their more than 35-years of counseling and observation. They believe there are specific keys that can maintain the health and vibrancy in any marriage. They ask five poignant questions they refer to as prerequisites couples should consider before they get married.

In Letters to Lovers, the Elliffs start each chapter with a letter. The three sections of their book include: From Parents to the Children, From Children to Their Parents, and Some Final Words for the Family. They refer to married life as "a pilgrimage," a journey that takes various twists and turns as couples change, children are born, jobs come or go, and the mid-life years cause us to evaluate our personal progress.

By settling the five primary questions the Elliffs ask, marriages will last. "It seems that if these issues are settled by a young couple before marriage," says Tom, "their marriage was virtually indestructible." He suggests various questions a husband can ask his wife every year to maintain the relationship with his wife. Among others, these include, "What mutual goal(s) would you like to see us accomplish together?" and "What attribute or practice would you like to see me develop or improve?"

As marriages crumble and society denigrates the value of commitment, the Elliffs offer answers to life's most important and often perplexing relationships.

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