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Book Review on Dwight Bernier’s – One: A Gospel Guide to Pre-Marriage Counseling

30 Jan

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God-glorifying One Stop Resource For Counselors and Pastors

Book Reviewed by Dr. David P. Craig

As a pastor for the past thirty years I have done my share of pre-marital and post-marital counseling. I have found more and more that couples spend more time planning their wedding day, than they do preparing for being married to a partner for life. A man and a woman will spend four to eleven years post high school for their careers, but often will not even crack open one book to help them with their marriage. This book provides seven guided sessions for a Christian couple to be well-prepared for marriage.

Bernier wisely writes at the outset, “The great challenge in marriage is to lose ‘me’ and become ‘us’ while our hearts, in contrast, want to glorify ‘me’…the great hope in marriage is that Jesus is changing ‘us’ and our hearts…The Spirit of God begins the process of morphing our motives to be more in line with the kingdom of God rather than the kingdom that we once belonged to.” In seven sessions Bernier provides a Christo-centric approach as being absolutely essential and foundational to building a great marriage. In seven sessions there are assigned readings from three excellent resources (not included – these books need to be purchased apart from this guide): Dave Harvey’s When Sinners Say I Do; Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage; and Justin Buzzard’s Date Your Wife.

In the seven sessions Bernier includes homework assignments from the readings; questions to discuss based on Scripture; personal application questions; and helps the counselor weave the gospel into the story of marriage. Each session contains a list of tasks to complete before each subsequent meeting. The various topics the book covers are: biblical love, friendship, glorifying God through marriage, roles and God’s design for marriage, how to be merciful and forgiving, implementing soul care via the gospel, and sex.

Bernier has provided a wonderful resource for pastors and counselors. It’s literally a step by step guide that is gospel centered, Christ glorifying, and covers the biblical foundations for establishing a God-glorifying marriage. I think it’s the best resource of its kind that I’ve seen and thus highly recommend it as an effective resource for those who value God’s design for marriage.

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