20/10/2010

I Married You (by Walter Trobisch)

I'd never heard of Walter Trobisch when I first read this book. Indeed, I've never read any of his other books, nor those of his wife. I know nothing about them, other than what emerges from this book, since he does not seem to have a website or any information online, other than lists of his books.

Nonetheless, 'I Married You' is one of the best books about Christian marriage that I've ever come across. I don't remember how I came across it in the first place. Perhaps someone gave it to us, or perhaps we bought it in a sale somewhere.

At one point I had at least ten different books about marriage, perhaps more. Most of them are laid out as guide books, with chapters on different topics that may cause tensions within a marriage. Most of them have sections that are well worth reading, but they're all written to couples (or wives) directly, which can sometimes feel a bit condescending, or even irritating.

This book, however, is in a totally different style. It describes the author's experiences when he gave a brief series of lectures about marriage to an audience in an un-named African country. As the book was published in 1971, it must have been in the late 1960s. While I assume names and identifying details were changed, the front of the book states that all the conversations in the book actually took place, and all the stories happened.

During just a few days, Walter Trobisch meets a young woman unsure whether she really loves her fiancé, a girl in an imprisoning relationship with a European, and a young man who would really like to be married but has not yet found the right person. He also meets a hard-working pastor who struggles to balance family life with his ministry. Then, when the author's wife Ingrid joins him for the last day, he finds his own marriage crisis emerging..

The teaching given to the African congregation, which is summarised in the book, is down-to-earth, straightforward, Biblical and wise. He uses some interesting images which stayed with me long after the first time I read the book, as a newly-wed. I found it very encouraging and positive, and also enjoyed it very much because of the stories of real people interwoven amongst the lectures.

I picked this book up again recently, remembering how much I'd enjoyed it nearly thirty years ago, and found myself gripped once more. I read it in just a couple of days. The theories are not new - I found myself thinking that some of what's said in the book would seem very old-fashioned these days, even amongst Christian young people. However, the stories told of individual people could have been written today. Human nature does not change, and the individuals described in the book are warm and likeable.

Walter Trobisch himself comes across as a believable, sometimes flawed person who wants to help others and has a genuine gift of counselling.

Very readable; highly recommended to anyone interested in the theories behind Christian principles of relationships, or who just wants a good read with a bit of teaching on the side. Still in print in the USA, despite having been written nearly forty years ago, widely available second-hand, and now also available in Kindle form.

Copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 20th October 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you for the book review. it is very helpful.