Gospel-Centered Marriage and Marriage Counseling
Part 3: 18 Gospel-Centered Books on Common Issues and Struggles in Marriage
A Word from Bob: You’re reading Part 3 of a blog “mini-series” on biblical marriage counseling: Gospel-Centered Marriage and Marriage Counseling. I’m starting with several posts on resources for counselors and couples.
Post # 1: 12 Gospel-Centered Books on Marriage and Marriage Counseling (Click here to read Part 1.)
These books provide a foundational biblical overview of God’s plan and purposes for Christ-centered marriage.
Post # 2: 15 Gospel-Centered Books on Communication, Conflict Resolution, and Forgiveness in Marriage (Click here to read Part 2.)
These books provide practical biblical principles and teaching on communication, conflict resolution, and forgiveness. They also help us to think through biblical principles of marriage, divorce, and remarriage.
Post # 3: 18 Gospel-Centered Books on Common Issues and Struggles in Marriage
These books provide practical biblical principles for dealing with specific issues and common struggles in marriage.
Post # 4: 13 Gospel-Centered Books on Pre-Marital Counseling
Preventative counseling and marital preparation are foundational to any healthy marriage. These books are the best of the best in pre-marital teaching, resources, and manuals.
Roles in Marriage, Men’s Issues, and Women’s Issues
Helper by Design: God’s Perfect Plan for Women in Marriage, by Elyse Fitzpatrick
There are few more contentious and heart-rending topics among women in the church than submission and what it means to be her husband’s helper. Elyse Fitzpatrick believes that understanding this topic can bring about great freedom and a more meaningful relationship with Christ and your husband. In Helper By Design, she takes an in-depth theological look at what it means to be made in God’s image to be a helper. This book will set in motion great heart changes as you grow toward becoming the woman God has called you to be.
The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical Perspective, by Stuart Scott
This book provides a biblical blueprint for the mandate God has given to husbands to love their wives, even as Christ loved the church. It is suitable for individual study, for marriage counseling, for men’s small group Bible studies, or for couples prayerfully seeking God’s very best in marriage.
The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective, by Martha Peace
Martha Peace not only explains what God requires of a Christian wife, but also describes how to obey God’s commandments in order to become that wife. This book is scripturally-based, systematic, and practical. Within its pages is a detailed portrait of a godly wife. Not only is the standard high and godly, but Martha demonstrates that by God’s grace, it is attainable.
Rediscovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, by John Piper, Editor
A controversy of major proportions has spread throughout the church. Now more than ever before, gender roles are openly questioned. In this redesigned edition of an influential and award-winning bestseller, more than 20 influential scholars such as John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and D. A. Carson have committed their talents to produce the most thorough response to date. Combining systematic argumentation with popular application, this volume deals with all of the main passages of Scripture brought forward in this controversy regarding gender-based role differences. Anyone concerned with the fundamental question of the proper relationship between men and women will want to read this book.
Men Counseling Men: A Biblical Guide to the Major Issues Men Face, by John Street, Editor
Men Counseling Men is an exciting new resource on how to counsel men about the difficulties they face. It is an accessible, practical volume that will equip both trained professionals and lay people to provide solidly biblical help for men who are struggling with a variety of major life issues. Readers will learn how they can offer hope and encouragement in relation to: depression, parenting, anger, conflict resolution, physical affliction, sexual purity, marital relationships, rebuilding a marriage after adultery, and much more.
The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women, by John Street and Janine Street
The guidance every woman needs for any difficulty can be found in the pages of Scripture. Join John and Janie Street as they delve into some of the most common physical, mental, and emotional struggles faced by women today, including: anxiety, chemical abuse, depression, eating disorders, marital unfaithfulness, and much more. Equally valuable for both the individual woman searching for solutions and those who help hurting women—including counselors, pastors, and teachers—this accessible resource offers genuine hope based on the everlasting truth of God’s Word.
Women Counseling Women: Biblical Answers to Life’s Difficult Problems, by Elyse Fitzpatrick, Editor
Multitudes of women struggle daily with negative habits and addictions, emotions such as anger and depression, various kinds of loneliness, and other difficulties experienced by mothers, wives, or singles. Here is a rich counseling resource that looks to the Bible alone as being sufficient to address our every need. Among the topics are: emotions, worry, and depression, eating disorders and habitual struggles and sins, verbal abuse and pornography, singleness, marriage, and parenting, grief and caregiving, and much more.
The Song of Solomon offers strikingly candid—and timeless—insights on romance, dating, marriage, and sex. We need it. We are inundated with songs, movies, and advice that contradict God’s design for love and intimacy. Matt Chandler helps navigate these issues for both singles and marrieds by revealing the process Solomon himself followed. The Mingling of Souls will forever change how you view and approach love.
Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, by John Piper, Editor
The Bible has a way of shocking us. If Americans could still blush, we might blush at the words, “Rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love” (Proverbs 5:18-19). But, of course, sin always tries to trash God’s gifts. So we can’t just celebrate sex for what God made it to be; we have to fight what sin turned it into. The contributors to this unique volume encourage you to do both: celebrate and struggle. This book has something for all-men and women, from contributors like John Piper, C. J. and Carolyn Mahaney, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, Carolyn McCulley, and others.
Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken, by David Powlison
Sexuality was a part of God’s good creation from the beginning. But with sin came a world filled with sexual brokenness. Thankfully, God is always in the business of restoration. This book offers hope for both the sexually immoral and the sexually victimized, pointing us all to the grace of Jesus Christ, who mercifully intervenes each moment in our lifelong journey toward renewal. Author David Powlison casts a vision for the key to deep transformation, better than anything the world has to offer—not just fresh resolve, not just flimsy forgiveness, not just simple formulas, but true, lasting mercy from God, who is making all things new.
Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace, by Heath Lambert
In Finally Free, Dr. Heath Lambert, a leader in the biblical counseling movement, lays out eight gospel-centered strategies for overcoming the deceitful lure of pornography. Each chapter clearly demonstrates how the gospel applies to this particular battle and how Jesus can move readers from a life of struggle to a life of purity.
Undefiled: Redemption from Sexual Sin, Restoration for Broken Relationships, by Harry Schaumburg
One of the better resources on the topic of sexual sin and how it damages relationships. Dr. Schaumburg heads a ministry that deals specifically with those enslaved with sexual sin: Stone Gate Ministries.
Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free, by Tim Chester
Tim Chester’s offering on the topic of living porn free is a much-needed resource that balances the principles of God’s grace and the gospel with other resources that stress external precautions related to pornography. Chester does an excellent work at connecting our motivation to be porn-free with the greater themes of God’s glory and beauty.
Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn, by Tim Challies
A huge percentage of men need a porn detox—a moral and psychological reset. Pornography corrupts our thinking, weakens our conscience, warps our sense of right and wrong, and twists our understanding and expectations of sexuality. We need a reset by the One who created sex. In this book, Challies seeks to help men reorient their understanding of sex, both in the big picture and in the act itself, according to God’s plan for this great gift.
CCEF Mini-books, by CCEF
CCEF has several excellent mini-books ranging from the topics of Sexual Addition: Freedom from Compulsive Behavior (David Powlison) to It’s All About Me: The Problem with Masturbation (Winston T. Smith). These small booklets are an invaluable resource for any counselor. Other helpful titles include: What’s Wrong with a Little Porn When You’re Married (Nicholas Black); What’s Wrong with a Little Porn When You’re Single (Nicholas Black).
Day One Living in a Fallen World Series, by Day One
This series of booklets, similar to CCEF’s mini-books, is another helpful tool in the counselor’s toolbox of go-to helps on a variety of topics. Titles include, Help! He’s Struggling With Pornography (Brian Croft); Help! She’s Struggling With Pornography (Rachel Coyle); Help! My Spouse Has Been Unfaithful (Mike Summers).
General Marital Issues/Marriage Counseling Homework
Wayne Mack designed this homework manual for counselors seeking assignments to give counselees, or for individuals seeking practical help in their own struggles. In this volume, Dr. Mack sheds biblical light on family and marital problems. He offers assignments for husbands and wives and for parents and children on topics such as communication, developing common interests, marriage evaluation, child rearing, and family religion.
Solving Marriage Problems, by Jay Adams
“Counselors unanimously find that marriage and family problems outnumber all other counseling problems combined. For that reason alone, counselors should want to learn all they can about marriage counseling” (Jay Adams). This book will help counselors understand and deal with the typical problems that arise in a marriage. Unless one understands what a biblical marriage is supposed to be, it is difficult to solve marriage problems. For that reason, Dr. Adams spends the first few chapters developing a biblical model. Then he treats many of the specific kinds of problems that typically arise: life patterns, priorities, children, sex roles, in-laws, and more.
Join the Conversation
How have any of these books impacted your marriage? Your marriage counseling ministry?
What books would you add to this list?