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Generation Next Marriage by Tricia Goyer

Reviewed by Melissa J. Carswell

"...a comprehensive marriage manual that touches Gen Xer’s where they are."

Tricia Goyer has written an in depth marriage manual for couples who are Gen-Xer’s. Gen Xer’s make up forty million Americans who were born in 1961 – 1981. Born to the Boomer generation, who had achieved the highest divorce rate in the world, Gen X’ers are a generation committed to family values and determined to make their marriages work.
They are also a generation who want it all - a successful career, a strong family, a spirit of volunteerism and belonging to their community at large - and yet, because of the scars of the previous generations, this determination is challenged at every step.

As a generation that is also self-reliant and highly spiritual, Gen X-ers are looking for the answers that will make it all work for them. If one of those answers comes through a faith that is real, Tricia Goyer points out, they’ll accept it and take it for their own, applying it to marriage and family in an effort to do better then their parents’ generation did. Tricia helps them do just that in Generation NeXt.

A book that couldn’t be written without the foundation truths of God’s Word, and yet, not preachy and self-righteous, Tricia offers practical and sound advice for strengthening marriages and tackles everything from the role church and the media play on marriage to sex and finances. Chapter titles include “Dealing with Unrealistic Expectations in the Reality of Marriage”, “Overcoming the Bond of Past Relationships”, “Intimacy”, “Media Matters”, “Children Redefine ‘Marriage Partnership’”, “Conflict Resolution”, and “Lovemaking.” If it’s a marital issue, Tricia more than likely tackles it in her book.

Each chapter has a similar format; Tricia’s thoughts on the topic, statistics presented, excerpts from well known marriage experts, and quotes from real-life Gen X’er couples. Throwing those quotes into the mix is part of what makes the book so real. This isn’t just one woman’s perspective on how things are. Couples speak for themselves as to how it really is.

Tricia tackles tough issues with courage and in a no-holds barred type of way. Whether it is tackling the whole “man as a leader” issue to suggesting that secular romance novels are to women what pornography is to men, Tricia states the truth boldly. At the same time, she also states it in such a way as to say, “Hey! I’m right there with you in this too!”

She does this by writing at times with a raw, and even shocking honesty, as she delves into her own faults and shortcomings as a wife. Sharing things that could be used against her by her readers, it is her transparency that rounds the book out in a way that refreshes and causes her reader to sigh and say, “Oh thank goodness I’m not the only one who has thought that way or done that!” Tricia writes as one of us, rather than an expert telling us what to do.

Although the book title indicates that it is a “couple’s guide” to keeping it together, Generation Next Marriage does seem to be written primarily towards women. Rarely is a man’s perspective offered on the subject matter, though at one point Tricia weaves in a “he said, she said = he thought, she thought” conversation, with her husband’s help. Even the real-life quotes are from mostly wives, not husbands.

Some of the statistics and book excerpts that are inserted might make the book, to some, a bumpy read. This book is better read a chapter at a time, rather than several chapters all at once. To help with that particular format, Tricia has inserted a discussion guide for each chapter, with relevant Scripture passages to read and discuss, as an appendix to the book.

Generation NeXt Marriage is a comprehensive marriage manual that touches Gen Xer’s where they are. Instead of being another marriage book that loosely encompasses all generations, Tricia cuts to the heart of issues that affect this particular generation. It is that approach that brings a uniqueness to the table many other marriage books don’t offer. Any couple’s library will be well rounded out to have this book added.

Melissa J. CarswellMelissa J. Carswell: Melissa is a Board Certified Christian Counselor. However, due to the appearance of a little bundle of Miracle in the past year, the counseling practice is now on indefinite hold. Instead, Melissa has entered the world of freelance writing from home. She is currently one of the content writers for TotallyHer.com (to be launched in September of 2008). Melissa has a passion for mentoring teen girls and young women and does so whenever possible. Her heart longing, along with her husband, is to use her education and credentials someday to have a home full of abandoned, abused, and terminally ill childen. They are still waiting for God's hand to unfold that particular chapter of their lives. When Melissa isn't changing diapers, doing laundry, cooking meals, mentoring the afore-mentioned young women, tending to her garden, being her husband's biggest fan, and soaking in every cuddly moment with her daughter, she reads and she writes. It is not unusual to see 2-3 books laying around the house at any given time and the hard drive to her computer houses several partially-written manuscripts to the secret dreamed-of-published books Melissa hopes for in the future. You can check out A Weak Rose here.