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The Marriage Builder Ministry & Church Leadership Pastoral Counseling


21st September 2012 Christian Books 23 Comments

Psychologist Larry Crabb cuts to the heart of the biblical view of marriage: the ‘one-flesh’ relationship. He argues convincingly that the deepest needs of human personality — security and significance — ultimately cannot be satisfied by a marriage partner. We need to turn to the Lord, rather than our spouse, to satisfy our needs. This frees both partners for ‘soul oneness,’ a commitment to minister to our spouse’s needs rather than manipulating them to meet our own needs. With ‘soul oneness’ comes renewed ‘body oneness,’ where couples enjoy sexual pleasure as an expression and outgrowth of a personal relationship. The Marriage Builder also identifies three building blocks essential to constructing marriage: the grace of God, true marriage commitment, and acceptance of one’s mate. Now for the first time, discussion questions have been added to aid couples who want to come to deeper understanding of marriage. Helpful to counselors and laypersons alike, The Marriage Builder is for anyone who longs to transform marriage from trial to triumph.

Larry Crabb’s The Marriage Builder is a classic. We fell in love with it 25 years ago when we were just married. Today its message for couples is as powerful as ever. It’s poignant, practical and thoroughly grounded. — Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, Founder, RealRelationships.com and Authors of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts <br><br>

The Marriage Builder

Rocking the Roles: Building a Win-Win Marriage

THE TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE NEVER WAS THE BIBLICAL MARRIAGE. Ozzie and Harriet are gone. And with them, the idea that the traditional marriage is the only right way. Yet, today’s couples are also discovering that the “roleness” marriage in which everything is equal, with no distinction between male and female, isn’t all that satisfying either. Rocking the Roles examines what the Bible really has to say about the male and female roles. A far cry from the restrictions of the traditional marriage or the formlessness of modern marriage, this approach offers a perfect blend of structure and equality, balance and beauty. It explores: 1) Common myths and misunderstanding about marriage roles 2) ‘Core’ roles that don’t limit choices but help prioritize commitments, energy, and time 3) What husbands and wives most need to understand about each other 4) What the “S” word-submission-is and is not 5) Spiritual leadership as practical responsibility, not privileged rank 6) How to transform your marriage by applying these practical, biblical principles to day-to-day life. So if you want a marriage in which fairness, respect, and support operate equally between you and your partner, it’s time for Rocking the Roles-and for discovering God’s radical, inspired, and timeless design for lasting marriage.

Rocking the Roles explains how marriage can be a perfect blend of structure and equality, balance and beauty.

Transform your relationship by learning about:

• common misunderstandings about marriage
• core roles that don’t limit choices
• what spouses most need to understand about each other
• what submission and authority is and is not
• sexuality

Build a marriage on a firm foundation of Scripture, forgiveness, and a healthy understand of who we are in Christ.

Rocking the Roles: Building a Win-Win Marriage










  • 23 responses to "The Marriage Builder Ministry & Church Leadership Pastoral Counseling"

  • helpcomputer
    9:30 on September 21st, 2012
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    I read the book before I got married as homework. And I got a lot of answers from it. This book teaches you the basic; the definition of marriage in Christ. In our society, marriage does not sound sincere and serious. But this book fixed my distorted view of marriage. I strongly recommend this book for those engaged. Because you need to know why you marry as a Christian and how you are going to do it.

  • Bob Snyder
    11:38 on September 21st, 2012
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    It is a well known statistic today that 1 of 2 marriages ends in divorce. One of reasons could well be a confusion on the roles the Bible prescribes for marriage. Although this book presents the idea of the husband as the head of the relationship, it does not present him as the “boss” or as a modern-day Archie Bunker. Instead, men are strongly encouraged in this book to take the lead in serving, in supporting, and in sustaining the other members of the family.

    The authors begin by defining the confusion over marital roles today, and the resulting chaos. They then outline the husband’s role as servant-leader, and describe his core concerns. The wife’s role is then outlined as helper-lover, and her concerns are also presented.

    Two chapters are devoted to the idea of submission, dispeling many myths regarding it. Common problems are addressed, and practical applications are provided. The book closes with two helpful appendices recounting the breakdown of gender roles in ancient Rome, and the impact that Paul’s words had on that generation.

    I recommend this book wholeheartedly for both husbands and wives desiring to gain a better understanding of a Biblical-oriented marriage.

  • Anna Watson
    13:47 on September 21st, 2012
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    The Marriage Builder by Larry Crabb is the best marriage book out there. It bypasses all the normal “band-aids”, and hones in on the real issue: that marriage is a ministry to another person. Marriage is meant to minister to your spouse’s needs, not to selfishly minister to your needs (although that IS an added bonus when that happens!) I have read other marriage books, but this one, for the Christian, is the real deal. It is a must have for all couples, especially Christian ones, and should be reviewed regularly for a “marriage checkup”.

  • MUSA YUNUS
    14:06 on September 21st, 2012
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    The “Reader” from Southern California who wrote the “not a Biblical view” needs to learn how to read! When the author talks about security and significance, he makes it quite clear that he is discussing emotional needs. He also shows how we receive that security and significance IN and FROM our salvation in Christ. He also says that you must deal with people’s urgent perceived needs before they can hear a larger message – this is straight out of the book of James – if you try to preach the gospel to a starving man, how could or why would he listen to you? Feed him first. Similarly, Dr. Crabb deals with healing emotional pain as a road to spiritual healing.

  • Estela Zagami
    15:41 on September 21st, 2012
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    We have just completed a study with another couple using Dr. Crabb’s book, that has spanned more than 5 months, and we will be starting over again in a couple of months. This time however, we will be including several other couples because it is too good to not share it. This is truly a manual for a biblical marriage, whether newly-married, or married for a lifetime. Dr. Crabb describes our self-centerdness so accurately, and gives such realistic examples of the pitfalls we find ourselves trapped in. Fortunately he also gives examples of how to avoid common mistakes. His description of marriage as our chance to minister exclusively to our spouses and provide tangible evidence of God’s love to each other is accurate and helpful. On many occassions I wondered if he had written this book especially to me. We have been blessed by this book and find it difficult not to recommed it repeatedly.

  • G LaForge
    20:49 on September 21st, 2012
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    This book is a uncompromising punch in the face to bad theology, bad thinking, and bad culture. Here comes the cold water!

    The book launches with a fair and open discussion of roles in marriage. In case anybody out there is afraid of even talking about “roles” in marriage, rest assured Dr. Lewis fairly gives both the culture and tradition enough time to say their peace.

    Nevertheless, be prepared to have your eyes blown wide open!

    Launching from this consideration of roles in marriage, Dr. Robert Lewis passionately and yet surprisingly unpretentiously conveys to the reader a keen understanding of the key issues that plague society today, and yesterday. In the context of these issues, Dr. Lewis annihilates the shoddy ideas about marriage purveyed by both the culture AND tradition!

    I found this book to be without question the most comprehensive, balanced, and informative consideration of marriage roles I have ever encountered. Lewis doesn’t just challenge today’s society; he has made a case against a fraudulent and stupid cultural mindset that has existed, largely unchallenged, for millennia!

    Using statistics, rational thought, and refreshingly accurate interpretation of supporting documentation, Dr. Lewis puts the limelight on the failings of the current paradigms regarding marriage, and in response, he gives the fresh air people are gasping for – absolute victorious truth.

    You don’t have to be a Christian to understand (or even enjoy reading) this book – everything is supported by (obviously well-researched) relevant clinical and demographic information from wide-ranging sources. I might argue that many Christians would be shocked about how little they knew about marriage (as God intended it to be) before reading this book.

    I come from a family where I lacked an involved father figure and I was raised by a dedicated single mother. I was shocked at times by what he said; Dr. Lewis’ work helped me understand a lot about my own life. I implore societal leaders, mothers, fathers, and ANYBODY who wants to lead a fulfilling life to read this book – it will re-shape your ideas on how to achieve fulfilment and a balanced family life, and you will never regret it.

    Lewis speaks boldly and without excuses. You may not like what he is saying, but I challenge anyone to disagree with him on a non-trivial point. Lewis bases his instruction on timeless truths, and it shows.

    Dr. Robert Lewis has written THE defining book on marital structure and the functional operation of a marriage, as well as on the support systems for marriage (i.e. church, counsellors, friends.) The mindset produced by the knowledge in this book raises the bar for the outcomes of marriage to what God always intended them to be: fulfilled lifelong couples, successful and happy individuals, and glorious children, all which lead to substantial learning about oneself and about God.

    As Denis Rainey says at the start of the book “This book will challenge your ideas about ‘Traditional Marriage.’” I see Mr. Rainey, and I raise him; this is some HOT, HOT, SAUCE. This is a must-must read, and my new favourite book ever, but if you don’t like the heat, stay out of the fire.

    I’m positive that if you read this book, it will convince you to take action. It will put the reasoned desire in you to move your marriage to a whole new level. In that case, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the other book I just read- “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas. If this book turns your idea of marriage from a skateboard to an Indy racer, Thomas’ book will take your fast machine and put Space Shuttle booster rockets on it. If you only ever read two books on marriage, choose these two. They changed my life.

    -Danny Vanderbyl
    Ontario, Canada

  • slimming coffee
    0:50 on September 22nd, 2012
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    Of all the books my Finacee and I have read to prepare for marriage, this is by far our favorite! The authors challenge the myth of the roleless marriage and establish that God has given the husband and wife unique roles. The husband is a Servant-Leader, and the wife is a Helper-Lover. In doing so they fearlessly take on the “S-word”, what submission really means. It’s not her role (as if God created a woman to be a mere doormat!), but merely a response to her husbands Servant-Leadership as she embraces her own role as a Helper-Lover.

    The authors provide a picture of the culture for which Paul was writing, and show that it is suprisingly cosmopolitan like our own.

    Where others try to twist controversial portions of the scriptures to fit modern ideas, these authors uncover the ancient wisdom of God and bring it to life in the 21st century.

  • PRoales
    1:02 on September 22nd, 2012
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    I’ve read quite a few marriage and relationship books during my long engagement. This book stands out from the rest in that it addresses issues MUCH DEEPER than communication or listening skills. Why should my wife care how good of a listener I am in the middle of a heated argument when I intend to manipulate her rather than minister to her?
    The author develops the concepts of Oneness (spirit, soul and body) and helps the reader clarify his or her goals in marriage.

  • Randa Rarogal
    2:32 on September 22nd, 2012
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    This book was used in our pre-marriage counseling group at our church. It was a bit intense, and perhaps too esoteric, for the younger engaged couples(20-something) but for those of us who were older it was an excellent tool. Periodically, I re-read this book to re-focus my thinking about my actions/thoughts as they affect my marriage. I think it is an excellent resource for married couples as an enrichment tool or as a counseling tool.

  • Leesa Camba
    4:52 on September 22nd, 2012
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    This is absolutely the best book I have read on building a strong marriage. The “traditional” family structure had some problems, and the “roleless” backlash against that traditional family had even more problems. The answer is not in either of those imperfect systems, but in God’s perfect design. Eight years after reading the book for the first time I am still working towards being the servant leader.

  • Molly Barrow
    8:39 on September 22nd, 2012
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    I have read countless books on marriage, and they all seem to lack something…which is mostly a clear cut DESCRIPTION in lamens terms of what a wife’s MAIN duties are in marriage and what a husbands MAIN duties are per the Bible. THIS BOOK clearly states that in a refreshing way.

    I LOVE that pretty much every principal in the book is backed up with scripture, that it’s not just their opinion. It’s God’s opinion for marriage.

    Traditional marriages never worked and role less (50/50) marriages don’t work. If they did the divorce rate wouldn’t continue to be so high and couples wouldn’t continue to feel so disillusioned in their marriages and thinking SOMETHING is missing. If you are looking for a guide to your marriage and have not found it yet THIS is the book I would recommend.

    I devoured this book in 2 afternoons. My husband and I are now reading it TOGETHER every Wed. evening as our own personal “bible study” on marriage (he was TRULY impressed how quickly I read it and scribbled notes :) . I have already mailed a copy of this book to a girlfriend who recently got married. I’ve convinced my sister who is in a serious relationship to purchase it and talk about it with her boyfriend (she in turn has bought it for her girlfriend who is recently married) AND I’m thinking of sending it to my little sister, 20 yrs old. because although she is not in a relationship I want her to see the kind of servant leader the Lord wants her to have and to strive to find a man with these characteristics and for her to live up to her potential in God’s eyes one day.

    I’m surprised how much this book has touched me, and in return my marriage and the domino effect it has had because of that to others in my life. When you FINALLY find the answers to your questions I guess you want to share it with the world. lol.

  • Koowan
    12:50 on September 22nd, 2012
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    Crabb tells it like it is, and he has a lifetime of examples to illustrate his points. The thing I loved most about this book is that he doesn’t a quick, three-step guide to marital success. He doesn’t sugarcoat things by saying you’re always going to be happy. He doesn’t even say you were MEANT to be happy.

    But he does give you a model, a paradigm to follow that is bound to improve your perception of your situation because it places God as the provider, just as it’s supposed to be. I read this a couple times as a single, and I have read it now that I am married, and I can definitely say that the principles I have learned from this book (to supplement the Bible) are priceless. Whatever you do, do it out of love.

  • Howard Schultz
    14:43 on September 22nd, 2012
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    “The Marriage Builder” in addition to marriage counciling saved my marriage. The book tought me the things I needed to know about being married successfully. I was 50 when I read this book and am now very happily married 14 years later. I highly recommend this book over all of the others I have read. Karl W.

  • John Cruz
    16:48 on September 22nd, 2012
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    “The Marriage Builder” by Dr. Larry Crabb has become something of a classic in the genre of Christian books on husband-wife relationships. In it, Crabb highlights three relational areas: the couple’s spiritual relationship to God, their social/soul relationship to one another, and their physical relationship to each other. When dealt with properly, and in priority order, Crabb asserts that relationships will be healthy (not necessarily happy, since that is not God’s goal nor guarantee for life this side of heaven).

    Discussing the spiritual relationship, Crabb explains that when God cleanses sin through salvation, His grace simultaneous quenches the deepest thirsts in the human soul. Rather than beings some new-age mantra as some claim when they critique Crabb, the concept of longings, desires, thirsts, and hunger is both biblical and historical (church history). The Trinitarian God of the Bible created humanity in His relational image. Since human beings are finite, they will always long for the infinite–for God’s infinite holy love.

    Once a husband and wife have come to understand that all they need is God and what He chooses to provide, Crabb notes that then they can quit the old “tic on a dog” relationship of mutual manipulation. Instead, they can begin a relationship of mutual ministry.

    In this area, Crabb explores God’s essential design for the masculine and feminine soul. He posits that males have a deep social longing for respect, which coincides with Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5. Crabb also explains that females have a deep social longing for intimacy, also correlating with Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5.

    As couples learn to drink fully from the God of the universe and to serve one another “heapin’ helpins’” of respect and intimacy, then they are prepared to experience body oneness (not simply fun sex). One in their walk with God, one in their relationship with each other, now they move toward physical oneness.

    “The Marriage Builder” is a classic because it remains true to God’s classic teaching on relationships. We are spiritual beings designed to worship God; we are social beings designed to mutually minister to and intimately connect with one another; and we are physical beings, designed in the state of marital matrimony, to experience body oneness.

    Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of “Soul Physicians,” “Spiritual Friends,” and the forthcoming, “Beyond the Suffering: The Story of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction.”

  • Sachin
    18:23 on September 22nd, 2012
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    I recieved this book through my mops group at church and it is the best I have ever read! It will change your idea’s on marriage. I have been married for 5 years and it changed my views of what it should be!!! Other Bible based books I have read about marriage left me feeling that submittion is demeaning and that I would loose myself in the process, but this book is empowering! It took all the anxiety I had about biblical submission away… And shows husbands how to be servant-leaders, just like Christ. Books now days either show you how to manipulate or tell you to loose yourself for the sake of marriage and I wanted neither. This book is a refreshing look at each roll in marriage…the way God designed them to be, so that we can have biblically based marriages. I want to read it agian with my husband!
    It would be a great book for engaged couples to read…they could go into a marriage without false expectations, and know what the Bible lays out for marriage.

  • HP Employee
    23:20 on September 22nd, 2012
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    This is a great book! Lewis and Hendricks do a great job of explaining why the leaderless marriage concept simply does not work (would you work for an organization that had no leader?). They also address the fallacies behind the traditional roles (i.e. mom stays at home, while dad brings home the bacon)and suggest that there must be another alternative. The reader will get a crash course in the differences between men and women and what each person needs to perform their biblical roles. With a national divorce rate of more than 50%, its obvious that what we have been trying doesn’t work. Lewis and Hendricks appeal to the reader to return to God’s original design for marriage. Prepare to have your paradigms challenged.

  • MichealH
    1:43 on September 23rd, 2012
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    Sure it’s called Marriage Builder, but I’d rename it life builder, because the things that it talks about really apply to all your relationships that are close; wife, friends, family, girlfriend, mentor. I can’t let anyone (wife or others) define who I am, the Bible defines who I am. I learned so much from this book, both for my marriage, and also how I handle events and people.

  • Sharda Dermer
    2:00 on September 23rd, 2012
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    The best of the “Christian Marriage” genre. I’ve read several books on marriage and this is probably the most practical. It tackles the tough questions like: Is it important to have a stay-at-home parent? What does it mean for a husband to be a servant leader? And, what does the Bible mean when it instructs women to be submissive to their husbands? My wife and I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in a Biblical perspective of modern marriage

  • jerize
    6:50 on September 23rd, 2012
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    Although I have not read the book in its entirety, quotes from Larry’s book are used extensively in my Promise Keeper’s study, and we all agree that he is the one writer who consistently causes us to pause and reflect…and most often to change the way we view and treat our wives.

  • Al Klein
    8:05 on September 23rd, 2012
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    I found the book quite a help. It concentrates on getting your head straight about a relationship that’s bound to have issues. But a warning: it’s not a “handy fix-it” for relationships. Nor is it a how-to, to minister to a spouse with problems. It focuses on personal responsibilities and ministry and (by inference) where those responsibilities cross into influence and then manipulation.

    As far as I could tell, there was no heavy pressuring into traditional roles in the book. What it did say is that there are limits in the marriage relationship: in what you can reasonably expect from a partner, and in what you can do to make things happen. There is no handy way of “doing stuff” to make a marriage perfect. But there is still a realistic approach to your responsibilities and ministries in a relationship.

  • Corinna
    12:39 on September 23rd, 2012
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    My first marriage was a roleless marriage–one of “equality.” That didn’t work. The models provided to me have been traditional marriages and roleless marriages. I haven’t liked what I’ve seen. Then I heard about the Biblical marriage and that it wasn’t the traditional marriage. My boyfriend, now fiance, treats me so well and said that this was the Biblical experience. I didn’t believe until I attended the Family Life marriage conference …. It was there that I learned of this book. It’s convincing with sound, Biblical reasons. It explains how the S word works for both partners to be empowered and feel loved. I no longer consider submission to be allowing dominance but rather following the leader of our family. As my friend said, God asks us to do roles that are harder. I’m up for the challenge!

  • Ariane
    18:16 on September 23rd, 2012
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    This book was a total blessing to me. The author argues that there are 3 ingredients to a healthy, godly marriage. Spirit oneness, Soul oneness and Body oneness. Note I am not saying happy. I think we are just so after happiness, that we forget the whole purpose behind marriage. Marriage is not to make me happy, but to make me holy! When I am transformed into an image of Christ that’s where I am most happy to be. In His presence, the pleasures are forevermore. John 15:5 Apart from Christ I can do nothing! So there are 3 bulding blocks, Grace, Committment and Acceptance. If couples understood the grace of God and the biblical principles of marriage then the divorce rate in America wouldn’t be so high. Must read for every couple umarried or married who want to please God and meet each other’s needs. I reccomend it highly as I was able to put a lot of the book into practice in my own marriage and in my life !

  • mcdermott
    1:55 on September 24th, 2012
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    If you want a clear, biblical, not traditional, but biblical look at marital roles, this book is excellent. I give it top marks. I think it is a must read.

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