Here is an odd piece of marriage advice -- "Quit listening to marriage advice."

Seriously, the more marriage advice I read and hear, the less I am impressed, because most of it seems to have been written in the "diet book" style we all know.

You are all probably familiar with how diet books work. Someone, somewhere, is either (1) a researcher with an idea or (2) an overweight person who needs to lose weight. In each case, they come up with some crazy idea, supported by some quasi-scientific idea, and they test it. The researcher gets some people or the overweight person eats nothing but grapefruits and prune juice for a year. Wow, the thing works! A book is written and sales are wonderful! Lives are being changed! A year later, people are still overweight and the book is in the cheap bin at Books-A-Million.

In the meantime, a new book by some researcher or formerly overweight person is rocketing up the charts, getting ready for next year's cheap bin. 

And people remain overweight. Why? Because the trick worked for only one person, or only a few people, and not for everyone. 

Marriage advice is similar. Someone (like Marabel Morgan) has an idea that works for her, she writes it up ("Total Woman"), it sells millions, a few people do better, but nothing in the world changes. Because, like diet books, it was based on one person's experience, which does not work for everyone. 

Marriages are not like bicycles. They are not "fixable" with a few common tools and a little common sense. Each married couple is unique. Each is a unique person and their union is a unique union. The "paradigm" that works for one couple may not work for you. The more specific the advice, the less general will be its usefulness. The more general the advice, the more people it can help, but the less help it provides. 

Ultimately, your "marriage" is just you and your husband. And you cannot change him. Seriously, you can only work on you. The only real secret for you is to be a better wife. Sometimes this may mean being like "Total Woman" says you should be, but sometimes it means the opposite. Any advice that is "what he ought to do" is useless to you, because you cannot be him, and worse than useless because all it does is create disappointment in him. 

The Bible gives us great information about being an Excellent Wife. It is not about baby-doll pajamas or scheduling "quality time," but about loving your husband. It is not about sitting down to discuss division of duties, although that may be a part of it, but about loving your husband. It is never about "standing up for yourself," but always about standing firmly with Christ and lovingly with your husband.  

The Bible is a much better guide for Christians than the books either in or headed for the cheap book bin. "Total Woman" was published in 1990 and you cannot find it today, except in used book stores. The Bible is still being published. 

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