Hawkins, Ronald E. (1991) Strengthening Marital Intimacy, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Summary: Dr. Hawkins has done a wonderful job in presenting the essential elements of what it takes to have a Biblically sound intimate and committed marriage. In Strengthening Marital Intimacy (1991), he has captured the two foundational truths, intimacy and commitment, makes a good marriage into a great marriage. It is not enough to know the Word of God intellectually there must be a real surrendering to the sovereign will of God. To do it will transform a life of commitment to God and to the marriage. The key concepts presented in this book cover marital intimacy, commitment, wisdom, reality, God’s sovereignty, the person, sexuality, communication and companionship.
The main components of this book are God’s design for marriage (Gen.1:26-28), intimacy in marriage (Genesis 2:18, 25-26), and building on the foundation great commitment (Gen 2:17-17 and Genesis 3:11) to God’s principles governing marriage. Hawkins explains that problem as a satanic wedge. Marriage was God’s idea for the man and wife to grow as helpmates (companions fitted for each other) however, Satan had a plan to drive a wedge between the man and his wife, and humankind and his creator (Hawkins 1991, 14-15).
Thankfully Christ became the wedge remover (ibid, 17) providing the pattern for the dynamics of biblical commitment through the power of the Holy Spirit. This was the key to intimacy and the ultimate goal for a marriage. Almost as a side note Hawkins explains that intimacy is not sex and sex is not intimacy (Ibid, 24) and that a real foundation for true Godly intimacy is a foundation of commitment (ibid , 28). Not just any kind of commitment but a godly commitment (ibid, 35), even in the face of the individual selfishness, a couple that seek forgiveness and grace committed to meeting each other’s need can fulfill the plans of God if they stay the course with God.
What follows a commitment to trust God in a marriage is a commitment to know His wisdom. God’s wisdom brings added resources to the marriage (Proverbs 4:5) that open up line of communication with your spouse. God’s wisdom is not the same as having natural wisdom. God teaches man how to act or behave according to His standards of reality. That reality will include temptations, injustices and trails (ibid, 65) and a deeper seeking of a loving and Sovereign God that produces an inward stability, which helps a person to understand their mate as a real living soul, that live in a body with emotional needs. Commitment will lead couples to understand, accept, adopt and appreciate each other (ibid, 90) and add fulfillment to their intimacy and enjoyment of each other (ibid, 95).
As Hawkins concludes his book, he reminds the reader that God is a communicator and that by the power of the Holy Spirit so can a husband and his wife learn to communicate. Nothing is more important than communication in a marriage if the couple wants to have a lasting relationship with their mate (or companions) for a lifetime. Hawkins returns to the premise (Genesis 2:18) that it is not good for man to be alone (ibid, 125) we were designed for fellowship no matter what stage or age in life. It is their commitment to God and His standards, which allows a couple to grow and strengthens their marriage bounds over time. Hawkins concludes his book as he began it with an admonition to strengthen marriage by intimacy and a commitment to do is the best way to achieve personal growth and a shared oneness in family together. “The stronger the individual is, the stronger the team when they pledge to oneness (ibid, 137).
This book was a great read and it should be in every marital counselor’s bookshelf. The information shared in this book would benefit those who are single, the pre-marital or engaged couple, and the post marital group as well. It was an easy to read, no none sense, reflection on what a Christian marriage...
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