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« Why women should read commentaries | Main | Love and wrath »
Monday
Mar182013

To Walk or Stay - book review

To Walk or Stay by Lara Williams (Christian Focus, 2013) was not exactly what I expected, judging from the title.  What I thought would be a book about a woman's coming to terms with either leaving a marriage or staying turned out to be something else; and it was a good something else.

This book, instead of being a chronicle of what went wrong in Williams' marriage, is a story of how throwing herself upon Christ and His word gave her exactly what she needed when she chose to stay in her marriage following her husband's adultery. This book is for more than just those in a difficult marriage;  these truths are essential for all women. 

Williams identifies her own sins as well as how she coped with them and relied on Scriptural truths to heal. She admits freely to the tendency to want to control her husband, to idolize him, and to find her sufficiency in a perfect marriage.  She describes how she felt peace about staying after she struggle with feeling like she had a right to leave. She also talks about the process of learning to forgive and to be patient in waiting for things to heal. Her conclusions will provide inspiration for women in similar situations, but the conclusions she comes to regarding her sufficiency in Christ are for all women.  Married women are not the only ones prone to controlling or idolizing relationships.

One strength of her book is identifying the reality that women (and men) often go into marriage with very faulty thinking.  She talks a lot about the insecurities she brought to her marriage, and the error of assuming that marriage would fix those things.  I think many women go into marriage believing that their husbands are going to constantly be the knight in shining armour, only to see him fall from the pedestal.  The natural progression from that is comparison to other situations, all the while breeding discontent.  I believe that the first few chapters of this book would be very helpful for young engaged women to read, because certainly many may see themselves in these pages.

Another strength of this book is Williams' identification of her husband as her brother in Christ.  When she identified him as such, it was easier to forgive.  As she prayed for him, she felt her attitude toward him changing.  I really liked how she put it: "I found, that when I chose intercession over degredation, my heart softened toward him."  I think we women can all identify times when our hearts are hard toward our husbands when they should be soft and forgiving.

Despite the strengths, I have a couple of small quibbles with the book.  Because much of the material overlapped from chapter to chapter, there were times when I felt like it was a bit repetitive.  At points, I found myself thinking, "Wait, didn't she already cover this?"  I think it could have been a bit more concise, but that certainly doesn't negate the power of her arguments.  Furthermore -- and this is just a personal pet peeve -- her constant use of "my man" instead of "my husband," or her husband's name was a little grating.  I am not particularly a fan of that turn of phrase. I think more variety in the way she referred to him would have made it feel less grating. Ultimately, because this was such a personal book, I would have liked to see her use his given name; she did in the dedication, so it is not as if she wanted to keep it anonymous. 

All in all, however, Williams not only shared her account of how she stayed in her marriage and grew closer to Christ, she also presented a model for all women to pursue:  to root themselves in biblical truths and models. I don't think someone needs to wait for marital troubles or divorce to read this book and learn from it.

Once again, I want to thank Christian Focus for putting out books with biblical content, and Cross Focused Reviews for the book, which was given in exchange for an honest review.

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Reader Comments (3)

Kim,

Thanks for contributing to the blog tour.

Thanks for bringing this book to my attention, Kim. Sounds like a great one for the church library.
I know what you are saying about the repetitive lines. Sometimes that bothers me too, but then I think, "Well, I probably did need to hear it again." Bothersome or not, it does help us to remember the main points they want to communicate.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAimee Byrd

Thanks! As a counselor, I have worked with thousands from across the USA who have struggled with unfaithfulness in their marriage. If you are right in your review, this would be THE book that is desperately needed at this time in Church history. The publisher just sent me a copy of the book, I can't wait to read it.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Harry Schaumburg

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