I am pretty much always up for reading about marriage. I think it’s a fascinating topic, which is why I chose the degree plan that I did and why I continue to read about it. (You’d think, what with a degree in family studies and all the marriage books scattered around my home, that I would be the most fan-freaking-tastic wife on the planet, but alas. You know that saying “Those who can’t do, teach”? Well, those who are too lazy to do or teach, sit at home and read.) Anyway. I was excited to get the opportunity to read and review The Beautiful Wife by Sandy Ralya, who has started a marriage mentoring ministry for women called Beautiful Womanhood.

The short version is that I really liked this book – which (in all honesty) kinda surprised me because, like I said, I’ve read a few books on the topic and at SOME point you’re going to run across repeat material. The best feature of this book, in my opinion, is that it is actually addressed specifically to wives. Many marriage books are (let’s face it) only going to be read by women but sort of assume both partners are reading or are at least on board with whatever program the book is talking about. This book really focuses on you, the wife, in your marriage. So Ralya only addresses the stuff you can change, which is yourself. (And the truth is that when you change yourself, it necessarily changes your relationship, because you are different, but that can’t be your motivation.) She covers the topics of self-care, being genuine, mystique, romance, sex, communication, how to speak the truth in love, money management, creating beauty, and being a professional wife and mom. Even with the wide-ranging topics, the book is short and accessible; each chapter has a short resource list at the back if you feel you could use some growth in that area.

Ralya also touches on some topics that could use touching, like using shopping as a drug or distraction, and refraining from “ministry” when one has small children in order to focus one’s energies and attentions on one’s family. She also mentions that Christians need to more strongly consider the procreation purpose of sex – just one brief paragraph, but I have read some alarming statistics and predictions recently about the dwindling birth rate in Western civilization. I won’t get on my soapbox about it here, because it’s a bit off topic, but I was glad that she didn’t shy away from this important consideration.

The book also has a prayer journal so you can really work through the topics she discusses, and there is also a mentor’s guide available for use in a small group setting.

I did find a few spelling errors, which was mildly annoying, and with a few of the topics I thought, “Oh! I hope she put such-and-such in the resource list” and was disappointed not to see those resources listed. It’s a solid list as it is, and I know you can’t have an exhaustive resource list, but I can think of 3-5 things that, if added, would have made it truly outstanding.

Overall I thought this was a very good read – comprehensive enough to get you thinking but quick enough to not be overwhelming, with additional guidance available for those areas you need to dig into a little more deeply. I also enjoyed some of Sandy’s personal stories, particularly her example of how indirect communication didn’t work for her (perhaps because that may be an issue in my marriage…). I think there is good material here both for the marriage book junkie as well as those who abstain.

Sandy’s doing a Kindle Touch giveaway here! The winner will be announced at her Facebook party on 3/8.

See the other reviews on the blog tour here.

This book was provided for review by the LitFuse Publicity Group.