Tough Marriage: How to Make a Difficult Relationship Work, by Paul A. Mickey with William Proctor (Morrow, 1986, 224 pp.; $14.95, cloth).

Counselor and pastor Paul Mickey is convinced that only a “lean and mean” relationship can weather the trials of modem society.

Citing Scripture and using examples from his own counseling sessions, Mickey offers 12 commandments for a “tough marriage,” including such upbeat themes as “Speak the Truth in Love,” “Break Bread Together,” “Master New Tricks,” and “Kiss Mom and Dad Goodbye.”

Mickey does not mince words. He urges sacrifice over narcissism, calling today’s “l” orientation “the death knell of a marriage.” He identifies the “Messiah Complex” often found in persons of the cloth—and provides an apt solution. He lists the differences between passive living and “fallow time,” and says that even “fantasizing about divorce is an act of aggression.”

Marriage indeed is “tough.” But a strong, resilient relationship, idealized by both husband and wife, can negotiate hurdles and bypass the loosely considered, almost trendy idea of “commitment” for a more hard-hitting state of “obligation.”

Unity must triumph over individuality, Mickey instructs, for, according to Galatians 3:28, “There is neither male nor female … you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Book brief by Cathy Luchetti, coauthor of Woman of the West (Antelope Island)

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