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Reforming Marriage

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  1,270 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
Reforming Marriage does what few books on marriage do today: it provides biblical advice. Douglas Wilson points to the need for obedient hearts on the part of both husbands and wives. Godly marriages proceed from obedient hearts, and the greatest desire of an obedient heart is the glory of God. "You'll never be able to think of marriage in the same way again." -J.K. Walker ...more
Paperback, 148 pages
Published February 1st 1995 by Canon Press
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Camille K.
Mar 18, 2009 Camille K. rated it liked it
Meh. I really don't understand the rave reviews. It's okay. It's not as horrible as the stuff that comes out of CBMW, but he doesn't go far enough with the notion of Covenant marriage, imo.

I'm willing to accept and assert the notion of "male headship," but most of the authors that insist upon the idea are stuck in an earlier decade. Wilson is stuck in an earlier century. He makes the man/husband/father the center of the home, not Christ, and as a result he offers a very egocentric ethic on marri
Scott Johnson
Dec 27, 2011 Scott Johnson rated it really liked it
Robyn and I first read Reforming Marriage as newlyweds, or maybe while we were engaged. I can't remember now, but I do recall finding this book on marriage a useful guide to the biblical teaching on the subject. And having recently began pre-marital counseling with a certain couple, and having asked them to read the book, I thought it would be wise to go through it again.

I still find this a clearly-written and overall helpful book on marriage. I recommend it with only a few reservations. The boo
Sep 22, 2011 Jessie rated it it was ok
"Reforming Marriage" as in Reformed Theology, which I don't adhere to. The author has made some excellent points in the first few chapters, but overall I find him very harsh on the male sex. Probably because he feels at liberty to give it straight to other men because he is one himself. That's how his (rather overt) tone comes across to me. I've been reading this with my husband and it only leaves him feeling downtrodden. I am left feeling embarrassed. It's definitely not good for bedtime readin ...more
Jul 22, 2011 Jimmy added it
This book is a breath of fresh air. One of Doug Wilson's gift is the ability that God has given him to craft his writing in a witty and interesting way. Combine that with the biblical principles Wilson presents, the book proves to be an edifying read, one that is hard to put down. Though it is short in length, it is pack not only with biblical insight but also God-given wisdom of a married couple who has been there, and APPLIED that. A highlight in the book is the theme of the biblical role of h ...more
Feb 05, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it
No I'm not married and yes this book was tremendously helpful.

Some chapters were great wisdom on handling any relationship; some chapters were excellent theological clarification; and some chapters were helpful to help pave direction as a single man.

All in all, great book. I'm finding more and more how much I love and appreciate Wilson's style, and I'm even beginning to think that if he wrote a book on shoveling snow, this snowless Texan would probably read it. I look forward to more.
Zak Fixler
Aug 14, 2014 Zak Fixler rated it it was amazing
Very helpful book on marriage from a Biblical perspective. Wilson is wonderful at taking deep theology and demonstrating how it practically works itself out. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone married, or considering marriage. My wife and I have both benefited from reading/rereading particular sections, and I keep this book handy for reference.
Apr 01, 2014 Eli rated it really liked it
Not a typical marriage book. It is hard-hitting, unapologetic and contains conclusions that will upset many contemporary views on marriage. While I didn't agree with Doug on all of his viewpoints, nevertheless the book was a refreshing overview of a far more Biblical view of marriage.
Eric Sauder
Jan 07, 2015 Eric Sauder rated it it was amazing
Re-read this with my wife...still great.
Jun 14, 2015 E rated it it was amazing
Best work on marriage I've ever read. It is short and to the point. It enforces the biblical idea without apology or adaptation.
Mar 21, 2014 Gabrielle rated it it was amazing
Great book! Definitely a different perspective on marriage than the world's view, but it's the Biblical view. I highly recommend reading before marriage.
Peter N.
Mar 18, 2009 Peter N. rated it it was amazing
The best basic book on marriage I have read.
Linda S
Love it! Need to read it AGAIN!
Noah Nevils
Jun 04, 2017 Noah Nevils rated it really liked it
What I actually read was "Empires of Dirt" by Wilson, but Goodreads does not have that one apparently. Fun prose, as I have come to expect from Wilson, and very percipient.
The 'Radical Islam' from the subtitle doesn't make much of an appearance, but the book boasts a pretty thorough treatment of secularism and American civic religion. Highly recommended to everyone who wants to know Wilson's desires for America (and every nation ultimately) as distinct from what you might assume his desires to b
Samuel Weaver
Sep 30, 2016 Samuel Weaver rated it it was amazing
This is THE book on Biblical marriage in reformed circles and a book every couple or single person considering marriage should read.

Wilson paints a beautiful picture of Scripture's view of marriage and the husband's role in particular. Stunningly beautiful and inspiring and a welcome breath of fresh air in today's culture.

Highly recommended.
Sep 06, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: fam, own
In this book Douglas Wilson sets aside prevailing cultural standards and boldly addresses the Biblical standard of Christian marriage and the roles of Christian husbands and wives. He discusses headship and authority, different responsibilities or roles to be fulfilled in marriage, love, forgiveness, differences between men and women, pornography, faithfulness, bearing children, divorce, etc.

A chapter is devoted to the "roles" of a husband and a wife. They each have different roles, but one is n
Kara Kirby
Mar 11, 2013 Kara Kirby rated it it was ok
I do not care for Wilson's style. He does not reach out to the struggling in a way that gives hope, nor does he leave room for intelligent disagreement on secondary issues. He excels in firing up the Reformed base, has a good hold on part of the truth (mutually sacrificial love under Christ), but lacks in presenting the beauty, poetry, mystery, absurdity, and joy of marriage. Or in the words of my husband, "He's got logic, but he ain't got no telos." There is a focus on specific roles, but witho ...more
Sep 17, 2015 Dmreichle rated it really liked it
I had never read Douglas Wilson before I read this book, and I was a little leery of him. I did find this book helpful in some areas. His description of Biblical headship was very clear and enlightening. Although I've heard it before, (and the Scripture teaches it), it was a good reminder that all marriages are pictures of Christ and the church, although many of these pictures are slanderous lies concerning Christ.

He covers the "love and respect" aspect very well also. I was definitely convicte
Brett Mclaughlin
Jan 19, 2010 Brett Mclaughlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, marriage
I picked this book up as potential supplemental reading to another marriage book I'm using for some counseling, Sacred Marriage: Celebrating Marriage as a Spiritual Discipline. Douglas Wilson is a well-known reformed author, and I knew I wouldn't get "5 steps to happiness" or "7 tips for great loving."

While I continue to think that this is best as a supplemental book, it is good material. Wilson ruthlessly insists that the husband is to worship God, not his marriage; and to head his household wi
Adam T Calvert
Sep 22, 2012 Adam T Calvert rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
This is a great book by a great author. Wilson, as always, keeps you engaged with what he's saying as well as teaches you important truths from Scripture or Biblical principles.

This book will not sit easy with anyone who has grown attached to what American culture says marriage (and manhood and womanhood) is. Even for "conservatives" this book might have some pretty piercing insights which on the surface will seem hard to swallow. Yet with Bible in hand it will be pretty difficult to argue with
Jun 06, 2011 Stacia rated it liked it
Two things first:
1. If you don't believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then this would not be a good book for you to read.

2. This is a book to chew up the meat and spit out the bones.

I think that overall Douglas Wilson has a good, Biblical view on WHY a marriage should look the way he suggests. However, I do think there were a couple (not all) of places where he misused scripture. I also think he falls very short of HOW a marriage should practically work. There were also many places
Scott Cox
Jan 17, 2016 Scott Cox rated it really liked it
This is a helpful little book. I read it years ago (a friend just returned it to me) and I still remember the salient sections. Regarding Headship and Authority, I remember Wilson's imperative that the husband/father is responsible for being the "resident theologian" for his home (whew, I've taken that one seriously!). But then there are the more 'convicting' chapters regarding what it means to be true servant to one's wife and family. Specifically, regarding domestic arguments, Wilson emphasize ...more
Aug 26, 2013 Liz rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book because it had come so highly recommended from multiple people. But both my fiance and I found it frustrating and unhelpful in many ways. Wilson makes statements without backing them up and uses "proof texts" that are just blatantly misused. I wanted to be able to agree with him and understand where he was coming from, but he just didn't give true explanation or evidence. I wanted practical pointers and tips, but he just flew from assertion to assertion. It's such a sh ...more
Jul 04, 2008 Rob marked it as shelved
Shelves: marriage
So far a good read. It has worked best that I read this with my wife so that we can discuss the key points or particular items that make an impression on each of us individually.
Why don't more pre-marital counselling sessions include book reading? I guess that's contingent upon the "right" books being reccommended. Also, I think I have heard to read the book separately and then talk about what we read. I think it is much easier to just read the book together and talk about it as we go along. As
Jason Schaitel
Jan 09, 2008 Jason Schaitel rated it it was amazing
This book has had more impact on my day to day life than any book, other than the Bible of course. This book, at its core, is showing how the essense of Christianity is love God with all thy heart, soul and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself. And in order to love thy neighbor (your spouse being your closest neighbor) rightly you must do the former, which is love, and obey God. A quote from the book is something to this effect "a mature christian will always be a mature husband/wife". It is im ...more
Jonathan Ballou
Aug 02, 2013 Jonathan Ballou rated it really liked it
I give this five stars especially because it is what it claims to be. It is exposition of the scriptures for the purpose of bending our marriages back to what the Bible teaches they should be. It is not an enjoyable read, in the sense of reading for pleasure, or comic relief for your marriage to limp through another day. Rather, it tests the the strength of every aspect of marriage, then applies the truth needed to brace the weaknesses. It is written for profound change of perspective. In contra ...more
Oct 04, 2009 Abrahamus rated it it was amazing
My wife and I have read a few books on marriage together and attended various marriage enrichment seminars over the years, but this one book has been more valuable to our marriage than all of them put together. This book is a pointed and straightforward examination of the fundamental aspects of a healthy, biblical marriage, and included in the examination are at least a couple of topics which modern expositors and counselors would very much prefer to soft-pedal or dodge altogether. As such, it i ...more
William Duff
Jan 18, 2017 William Duff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family-issues
Outstanding book. Should be required reading for pre-marital counseling, especially for men. This book, along with Federal Husband by Doug Wilson, not only changed the way I look at marriage and related passages like Ephesians 5, but it also shed some new and very important light on what Jesus actually did in accomplishing the salvation of His people. I think most of Christianity is missing some big points in these areas. What does it mean to love your wife as Christ loved the church? I think th ...more
Eddie Mercado
Aug 28, 2015 Eddie Mercado rated it it was amazing
I've read a handful of books on marriage, from writers like Tim Keller to Mark Driscoll. While I've purposely read books from a distinctly Reformed (ish) perspective, I'd recommend Wilson's book over all the other works. Why? Because it was written before I was born, and features strikingly similar work to the newer works from the Complementarian camp, and at a fraction of the page length compared to them. It's a great, quick read, and it features strong biblical support for what a marriage shou ...more
Jun 03, 2016 Markevans rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life by altering my understanding of "headship." Basically Wilson says that under-girding feminism is a lie that many Christian marriages hold to, even as they try to be biblical with respect to male headship - and that is the lie of individualism - decisions are me verses you. No - it's not me-vs-you it's rather the husband's sacrificial authority exercised for the good of US.
Oct 17, 2015 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Irony, that the majority of the "meh" or disappointed reviews wish Mr. Wilson would have shown more feeling...when one of his main points regarding the current corruption of the "Christian" concept of marriage was the infiltration of post-awakening sentimentality! Don't worry, overly-emotional masses--I'm sure your Evangeligoopy pastors and your divorce lawyers have plenty of warm fuzzies on their desks for you to stuff your pockets with.
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  • The Fruit of Her Hands: Respect and the Christian Woman
  • A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament
  • Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World
  • Face to Face: Meditations on Friendship and Hospitality
  • By This Standard: The Authority of God's Law Today
  • The Lord's Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship
  • Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World
  • Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes
  • The Intimate Marriage
  • Home-Making
  • The Complete Husband: A Practical Guide to Biblical Husbanding
  • What's the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible
  • Thoughts for Young Men
  • Postmillennialism
  • God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation
I write in order to make the little voices in my head go away. Thus far it hasn't worked.
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“God picks us up where we are, not where we should have been” 17 likes
“Once young girls used to play with baby dolls, seeing themselves in the role of the nurturing mother; now they can be seen playing with Barbie dolls, seeing themselves in the place of the doll. And of course, the doll is both pretty and stacked. The pressure is on and stays on.” 3 likes
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