Worthy of Her Trust by Stephen Arterburn & Jason B. Martinkus is a well-written, well-structured book that will likely help a number of people. I found myself, at times, engrossed in the narrative elements of the story when we learn about the author’s challenges with fidelity, addiction, and honesty. The areas with which I struggled were some of the areas of advice. In many cases I found them either inapplicable, in the average situation, or not advantageous to the healing of the marriage.
There was great attention given to creating equanimity between the advice of the two primary authors. Sections of personal experience we balanced general advice. Sections than ran high with emotion were countered with practical application. Long narratives were offset by clear, structured exposition. I particularly liked the sections where we got a wife’s perspective in what was going on. All in all, this was a well thought-out book.
There were only two elements that I found distasteful. The first and foremost was the inapplicable nature of some of the advice. While most of the advice was both good and Biblical, there were some elements that were bothersome. One example of this was the “five minute phone call”. In brief, the author explains that when his wife calls he must pick up the phone immediately or dial back within five minutes. If he doesn’t, she is allowed to become angry and suspicious without concern of correction. The other element was statements made like “Your infidelity was the best thing that could have happened to our marriage.” This sends an overwhelming message that the “ends justify the means”. While it is a kind thing to say to assuage guilt, it is an unwholesome and potentially dangerous attitude. I spoke to many people about this and other elements offered in the book and all of them felt that occasional odd-solutions and comments were unbalanced and unhealthy. Overall, however, the book was good and useful.
I would likely suggest this book to other pastors with the caveat that they should prayerfully consider the solutions offered and feel free to apply discernment to what they shared with others. I would not suggest the book to a man in the middle of rebuilding his marriage, however, since his relationship is in a precarious place and even one piece of bad advice could offset all the good that could come from this book. While this book is clearly directed to the adulterous husband intent on fixing his marriage rather than ending it (an import and laudable goal) it should instead be used by a counselor or pastor that can sift the gold from the dross.
Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson’s blog at drtnicholson.wordpress.com.
A copy of the book was generously offered to Dr. Nicholson by christianaudio.com in exchange for this unbiased review.