Authors: Kristin B. Hodson (MSW, LCSW), Alisha B. Worthington (BSW, SSW), Thomas G. Harrison (MSW, LCSW)
Publisher: CFI/Cedar Fort, Inc.
Published Date: August 2012
Hardcover/Kindle; 220 pages
Reviewed by: Shanda
FTC FYI: received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review
Based on doctrinal principles and years of professional experience, counseling real people, this uplifting volume approaches marital intimacy with a genuine desire to help couples. Learn to lovingly discuss your physical relationship with your spouse, identify false worldly ideas about sex, and reconcile your differing perspectives. Informative and engaging, this book will answer all your questions as you learn to truly become one.
A quick personal history: My parents divorced when I was 18 and are now each on their third marriages. My husband’s parents divorced when he was seven, his mother remarried, and his father divorced his third wife shortly before we met. By this time, both of us were frustrated with seeing marriages fail.
We were engaged within three weeks of our first kiss (yes, that was fast) but we ended up having a nine month engagement. During that time we spent almost all of our non-kissing time talking about everything we could think of before tying the knot. We wanted to know as much about each other as we could before entering marriage. We gave each other “outs,” saying if we weren’t committed to making this marriage work, we could end it all right then and move on with our lives.
Today we are celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary. Two homes, three jobs, and four kids later, we are still going strong. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, but I believe the reason we have overcome these struggles so well is because we talk to each other about everything. Mutual respect and devotion to each other has resulted in what both of us consider a happy marriage. (Note: I removed the “very” before that happy because my hubby is right – there is always room for improvement.)
I am so glad I agreed to review Real Intimacy. I’ve connected with and related to more in this book than any other marriage book I’ve read.
Each section is set up with an in-depth look at the topic, a “Nuts and Bolts” overview (for those who just want to read the basics), and follow-up questions for self-evaluation and discussion with your spouse. I enjoyed reading in-depth, while my husband (who isn’t a big reader) appreciated the “Nuts and Bolts” overview. I thought that we knew each other pretty well after all of our talking these past 16+ years, but several of the discussion questions at the end of each section covered new ground for us.
Even more importantly, I am glad to have this book for my children. My oldest is almost 15, counting down to getting her driver’s permit and not really thinking about marriage yet. In just a few short years, that will change. I appreciate how the authors clarify that there are many levels and aspects to intimacy, that sexual intimacy is only one part of that, and that sexuality is a gift from our Heavenly Father with the power to bond husband and wife together as well as create life.
I love how the authors clarify that a woman’s virtue and purity doesn’t change or disappear after marriage. Here is a quote from that section:
We teach our young girls to be pure and virtuous, which they should be, but don’t discuss with them how pure and virtuous they will continue to be within the confines of an intimate, marital relationship. Their virtue doesn’t change, it becomes enhanced with the added ability to create life as well as bring “life” to the relationship with their husband.
Real Intimacy covers all four aspects of intimacy: physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual. It also covers the basics of human anatomy (“Sex Ed 101”) and later, the differences in the way men and women’s brains function. The authors don’t shy away from addressing other topics such as husband and wife acting as stewards of their sex life and decided together what specifically is okay or not okay, as well as pornography, internet infidelity, sexual disorders, and when to get professional help.
In the last few years I have witnessed more than one marriage struggle and fail because of neither the husband nor wife understood the concepts addressed in this book. I appreciate the upfront and direct way that the authors address intimacy and sexuality, not as something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of, but as a sacred gift from Heavenly Father to be appreciated and enjoyed.
I wanted to include this excerpt from the back cover:
This book will teach you how to:
- lovingly discuss your physical relationship with your spouse
- resolve your divinely different masculine and feminine perspectives
- overcome guilt from past transgressions
- identify and counter false worldly ideas about sex
- physically cherish your partner over the course of a lifetime into eternity
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