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Getting It Right the First Time - Creating a Healthy Marriage

Author: Barry and Emily J McCarthy
Published By: Brunner-Routledge (London)
Pages: 221
Price: £10.99
ISBN: 0 415 94829 0

Reviewed by Sue Clements-Jewery.

Barry McCarthy,  a leading figure in the world of sexual and relationship therapy, was a speaker at last year's European Federation of Sexology conference held in Brighton. Together with his wife of almost forty years, Emily, he has produced a number of text books mostly focussing on sexual issues in relationships. Now the couple have collaborated to produce, 'not a textbook', but an 'interactive learning medium' for newly married couples. They share personal insights as well as knowledge and understanding gained from Barry's professional experience.

The book aims to provide information, guidelines and strategies based on scientific and clinical studies of successful marriages. Each of the 15 chapters is a self-contained unit and provides exercises to work through at the end of each one.

As the authors point out, it's easy to see why marriages fail, but little attention is paid to helping couples strengthen their marital bond. “Love is not enough - the marital bond of respect, trust and intimacy must be developed , nurtured and reinforced.”

The first two years are crucial for laying the right foundations, so the book is geared to that with chapters covering topics such as developing a couple style, realistic expectations, sexuality, resolving conflict, and dealing with in-laws.

As a marriage counsellor, I warm to the accessible approach and the wise content of this book. I have already given away two copies as wedding presents.

Though not overtly Christian, the values which pervade the book can be owned by all those who are committed to supporting marriage.  Despite its transatlantic origin, the book translates well enough to the UK scene.  It is a welcome resource for pastors.

Sue Clements-Jewery

UKCP registered sexual and relationship psychotherapist in private practice in Huddersfield. A former Director of WHCM Bridge Counselling, she is a consultant to the Churches' Ministerial Counselling

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You are reading Issue 36 of Ministry Today, published in March 2006.

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