Few issues in our contemporary culture are as volatile and spark as much controversy as sex and gender related issues. Combine that with a lot of confusion and revision on crucial biblical texts related to sex and gender roles and you have a recipe for a disaster. When you add all of this up its understandable why many don’t want to write or speak on Song of Solomon. Enter into these and other related issues Matt Chandler with Jared C. Wilson new book The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design For Love, Marriage, Sex and Redemption.
The Mingling of Souls is an exploration into the Song of Solomon. At the outset of this review it’s important to note that this is not a commentary on the Song of Solomon but rather a popular level treatment of the Song of Solomon. As such the reader needs to understand that while the biblical text is central to Matt’s message he doesn’t walk the reader through every single passage of this book. What he does cover of the book of Song of Solomon is excellent, will challenge and be convicting to the reader. To this end Matt looks at attraction, dating, courtship, the wedding, marriage, fighting fair in marriage, growing the kindling of love in marriage, and faithfulness in marriage.
As I read this book I was greatly challenged in all the right ways by Matt’s unfolding of the biblical passage and the gospel. Matt’s emphasis on the text of Scripture, his use of personal examples, and his excellent advice to married couples will help men and women alike. As one who ministers to men weekly I can tell you that we need the type of teaching that Matt is offering in this book. Some people think that men should be able to figure it out as they read the Bible. While it is true we should be opening our Bible’s, we men are often slow and need help. Many men need this ‘spelled out’ for them and that is ok. Matt does this well and draws the reader into his teaching from the Word in a very relatable way.
Mingling of Souls is a good book for those who are struggling in their marriage. As Matt writes about in chapter seven, men we need to be listening to our wives for they are always telling us what they are interested in. By putting “logs on the fire” of our marriage to our wives, men we are stoking the flames of love. We may not always feel lovely or loved by our wives, but we can be proactive and do something about that by paying attention, caring, shepherding, and loving our wives. Secondly, this book will be uncomfortable for many men. It calls us away from our apathy and towards actively loving Jesus and our wives as the Lord commands. Thirdly, this book is thoroughly gospel-drenched. Over the years I’ve read many, many books on marriage. Most of them in my view focus on what we’re to do in marriage. The heavy load they often place as Matt notes in his book often give us good advice but perhaps not for our marriage. Thus, when we as men see that this advice we got from a marriage counselor, pastor, and so on didn’t work we wonder why. It’s not that the advice was bad, perhaps it worked for the writer or speaker. After a while though we can become disillusioned to marriage advice and marriage books. Thankfully Matt knows this as a seasoned pastor. What he offers is time tested advice from God’s Word, and yes, what has worked in his own marriage to his wife, Lauren. What makes this book stand out from other marriage books is Matt’s advice is grounded in the finished work of Christ. Matt knows that only the gospel can change the heart. While marriage books like the one’s by Dave Harvey, Tim Keller, and Paul David Tripp also do this well—what Matt does (along with those other writers I just mentioned) is point people at the end of each chapter to Jesus. This makes this a truly excellent book that will not only help address the failures of married couples but also help those couples to deal with their issues in a way that honors God and helps them to grow in the grace of God.
Whether you’re a married man or woman who’s struggling in your marriage, or you have a healthy, happy, and holy marriage, The Mingling of Souls has something for you. First, this book will help you to deal head on with your issues in your marriage. Every single one of us who are married has issues in our marriages, and what we need is the help of seasoned married men like Chandler to help us learn to be godly loving and caring husbands. Finally, perhaps as I’ve mentioned already your marriage is struggling with the weight of financial pressure, sexual frustration, or other issues. I encourage you to not only in those cases to read this book, but to pursue help from your pastor, and other older godly seasoned men or women (if you’re a man find a godly older married man, or if you’re a woman, a godly older married woman) in your local church. Reaching out for help isn’t bad. As Christians we are to live in community and to love and care for one another.
This book will challenge you in all the right ways as you read it. It may even be a catalyst that will change your life and marriage. Men, this book will help you learn to be the man your wife need you to be. Go pick up Mingling of Souls, a book that by God’s grace will open your eyes to areas you need to grow in Christ. As you read this book, pray that the Lord would address areas of sin/weakness in your own life and marriage. For, as you read this book, Matt will point you again, and again, to the beauty and wonder of the grace of God. I highly recommend this book and believe it will be a blessing to married couples looking for help from God’s Word, and for singles looking for solid teaching on dating and courtship. This book would also be good for pastors to use during premarital counseling or even in small groups focused on marriage. However this book is used, I believe the Lord will use it to help and equip single and married couples to understand what biblical manhood and womanhood is all about.
Buy the book at The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Love, Marriage, Sex, and Redemption, or from David C Cook.
Author: Matt Chandler with Jared C. Wilson
Publish: David C Cook (2014)
I received this book for free from David C Cook for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”