"There is one thing to always keep in mind, my father said, summing up his views on choosing a wife, "Cooking lasts, kissing don't." Considering that my mother considered Spam to be one of the four food groups, I can understand why he thought this advice was essential. Still, it seemed that there should be more that I should know so when I began my own search for a mate I turned to Christian books on dating and marriage.
After reading dozens of books explaining how to kiss dating goodbye, how to say hello to courtship, and how burning desires can lead to burning for eternity, I devised a simple standard by which to judge their advice. The criteria was based on how they answered the question, "How do you find Mr./Ms. Right?"
In With One Voice: Singleness, Dating and Marriage to the Glory of God, Alex and Marni Chediak provide the ultimate answer: It is more important to become a certain type of person than it is to find a certain type of boyfriend/girlfriend.
What are you doing to become the sort of person who would be winsome and attractive to the kind of person you want to marry? (p. 45)
Such candid questions and refreshing candor is the hallmark of this supurb book on dating and marriage. It is filled with advice that is redemptive, realistic, and relevant.
Unlike many similar works written by Christians, the Chediaks do not advocate going back to the "good ol' days." Much of what passes today for "Biblical patterns of courtship" is, after all, simply the cultural norms of 19th century America. Instead, the Chediaks carefully delineate between biblical principle and optional cultural and societal norms and show how that must guide our choices.
Their approach is "counter-cultural" in the original sense of the term. For example, they address the very real problem of staying on the "search" too long and letting suitable candidates for marriage slip away.
It is noteworthy that women more frequently make this objection that the right man has not yet pursued them. Women do have a unique responsibility to respond to, nurture, and affirm male initiation in this area, and the last thing I'd want to do is make a women feel guilty for being committed to doing so. That said, women can also (perhaps unwittingly) make the mistake of settting unrealistic expectations. Many woman, for example, believe that there must be a "perfect match" for them out there, and its their job to wait for them. This may seem romantic, but it is horribly debilitating. As soon as she's lost that first rush of emotion and is getting to know him as a flawed human (and not the paragon of perfection her ignorance initially allowed him to be) she feels obligated to end the relationship. This happens with some frequency where women have been duped by the media into thinking that marriage must be a state of perpetual bliss and that, if it is not, something must be wrong with their partner. (p. 46-47)
With One Voice is filled with such practical wisdom. The Chediaks willingness to address the real struggles that singles face (e.g., "How far can a couple go sexually before marriage?") is what makes it a truly invaluable resource. This is the type of book that I wish I had found -and my wife had read-before I traveled down the path to lifelong commitment."
Joe Carter, The Evangelical Outpost