Why You Should Read “Choosing Marriage” by Debra Fileta

Choosing MarriageI don’t often recommend Christian relationship books.

I’ve found Christian authors take one of two tacks: either the author treats love with a measure of whimsy that makes them sound stupid, or they quote, “Marriage is HARD,” enough times to show they have no faith in the reader’s ability to retain information.

Licensed counselor Debra Fileta embodies a perfect combination of practicality and hope. Combining Scripture with modern psychology, she finds a balance between empowering readers to make good choices and encouraging them to trust God.

Her perspective is both realistic and refreshing. She never presents formulas, hoping instead readers will take the path toward health. Using examples from her own life, Debra outlines common difficulties that come up in marriage and how to solve them. Unlike others, however, she doesn’t make her experience The Standard; she acknowledges often that every marriage is unique and couples need to find what works for them.

I can tell Debra loves her husband, Jon. That’s what has turned me off about marriage advice in the past; Christians can fall so heavily on the “difficult duty” view of marriage that it’s hard to tell they even like their spouse. Debra writes about the differences between herself and Jon without dinging her husband. As she writes in her book, she and Jon are a team, a fact evident with every page.

The best part of the book, a true miracle in Christian writing: with Debra’s readable style, the 200+ pages fly by.

Want a good marriage, either present or future? Say hello to your new best friend.

 

Release date: May 1, 2018

Purchase here

Advertisements

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 15

FINAL ROUND!!

For round 15, I picked

Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars
and
Cress Darnell from The Lunar Chronicles

Background
Anakin Skywalker feels very attacked right now because EVERYONE KEEPS TREATING HIM LIKE A CHILD. Thought to be the Chosen One, Anakin excels in acting rashly and crying about it later. His flirting skills need WORK.

Sand

Forced out of Lunar society, Cress Darnell spent most of her youth on a satellite hacking Earth’s security feed. Easily impressed, Cress swoons over scoundrels and expresses delight in mundane things like sand. Her flirting skills, along with her life skills, do not exist. Girl is DUMB.

Trustworhty
“HE SEEMS TRUSTWORTHY.”

The Couple
Alas, Anakin’s hatred for sand might keep these two apart.

I find it hard to ship someone as unlikable as Anakin. Who wouldn’t be disillusioned by all that child murder? Or, you know…regular murder?

Sand people

But come on. These two have plenty in common, including childhood enslavement and a love of space travel.

Sure, there are things to dislike about this pairing. Rage. Jealousy. A disturbing height difference.

And, yes, the character Cress fears most is an angry giant with murderous instincts…which pretty much describes Anakin.

Know what? I don’t care.

At least this dynamic is interesting.

At least there’s contrast.

IT’S NOT TILNEY AND LUPIN. THAT’S ALL I CARE ABOUT.

This is the final round and I’m calling it.

Verdict: SHIP IT

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 14

For round 14, I picked

Remus Lupin from The Harry Potter series
and
Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey

Background
Remus Lupin taught at Hogwarts until Lucius Malfoy outed him as a werewolf. He loves chocolate, books, and acts of bravery. He also briefly abandoned his pregnant wife and I’m still not over it.

Weirdest ship
WHY WAS THIS A SHIP?

Perfect party host Henry Tilney flirts with everyone without making it weird. He teases without overstepping. He even puts up with idiotic heroines for the sake of romantic resolution. That takes class.

Related image
R.I.P. IT.

The Couple
I can’t think of a more boring couple.

What would they do together? Drink tea? Talk about books? Hide Lupin’s monthly transformations from Henry’s family?

Related image
“I heard ‘werewolves.'”

You KNOW a ship is boring when I have to use CATHERINE MORLAND as my punchline.

Sure, Henry’s shares personality traits with Remus’ closest friends…but is that enough?

And Remus used to be a notorious prankster…but now? He’s so stodgy! He would grade papers during Harry’s parties…while wearing a cardigan. (Sidebar: Why was Remus friends with the Marauders? Why am I questioning canon? THIS SHIP IS DESTROYING MY LOVE FOR HARRY POTTER!!)

Until this pairing, I didn’t think anything could be worse than both these characters’ ACTUAL CANON SHIPS.

I didn’t come here to be bored.

Verdict: R.I.P. IT

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 13

For round 13, I picked

Kate from You Know Me Well
and
Shigure Sohma from Fruits Basket

Background
Kate runs away from things. She dedicates her painting portfolio to a girl she won’t speak to and ditches a lifelong friend for an understanding acquaintance. She freaks out and changes her mind over and over but rarely tells people why.

Shigure plays dumb so well almost no one suspects him. He uses his trashy romance novels as a cover for more devious schemes. His closest friends don’t know what he wants; they just know he’s up to something.

The Couple
know I said I aged up the characters, but…

…Shigure loves high school girls.

Why am I saving this
It’s canon.

One of Shigure’s exes described him as a ripple on water; every time you try to get close, he moves away. Now that I think of it, he embodies the lyrics to “Marry Me A Little” almost perfectly. I didn’t think that was possible.

Kate admits she’s kind of a mess. Romance terrifies her; college freaks her out. She buys people artichokes instead of flowers…when she decides to show up. With the amount of overwhelm she experiences, Kate can only handle one day at a time. (There were several solid title puns in that sentence, but I resisted.)

Luckily for her, Shigure wouldn’t care. He wouldn’t invest either. Shigure’s not one for moving forward; he stays firmly in the moment. Others running away has never bothered him; he’s good at biding his time.

These two wouldn’t help each other grow. This pairing doesn’t burst with health. I don’t want to be on board, but the rapport between these two makes sense.

To be clear, I don’t condone settling. AT THE SAME TIME…these characters both struggle to make healthy choices. Why push them to do better when this easy dynamic exists?

IN CONCLUSION, these characters are confused…and so am I.

Related image
Sorry, dawg.

Verdict: SHIP IT????

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 12

For round 12, I picked

Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries
and
Princess Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender

Background
Mia started as an awkward nobody with bad hair until her father revealed their royal lineage. Now she’s an awkward somebody with slightly better hair and control over a small European principality.

Related image
Much to her dismay.

Azula, the Fire Lord’s favorite child, prefers flunkies to friends. She pursues fratricide with dogmatic devotion and nearly succeeds. World domination she saves for her nights off.

Casual
This is CASUAL Azula.

The Couple
For eight books, Mia’s main antagonist is Lana Weinberger, a catty cheerleader who bullies Mia’s friends.

To get Azula, take Lana and add firepower and a predilection for murder.

Yeah, that’ll work. Nothing says love quite like torment.

I love villain ships, but come on.

“Opposites attract” won’t fly here. Mia donated her entire salary to Greenpeace. Azula eats puppies.

Image result for sad puppy
Probably.

Mia has never been much of a flunkie. She lacks the sunny confidence or cool indifference necessary to put up with Azula. Mia is too high-strung to handle a princess one bad hair day away from a breakdown.

There it is
Too late!

Verdict: R.I.P. IT

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 11

For round 11, I picked

Alanna of Trebond from The Song of the Lioness Quartet
and
Emma Woodhouse from Emma

Background
Alanna of Trebond switched places with her twin brother and posed as a boy for years to become Tortall’s first female knight. Her world consists of swordplay, jousting, and magical powers bestowed upon her by the Goddess. She hates social climbers and weak women alike, preferring the company of thieves and warriors.

Alanna
As designated by magical sparks

While Emma Woodhouse has depths, they’re buried deep beneath layers of social niceties and subtle manipulation. Emma loves the power she wields over others. She’s not much for deep conversation, but she throws a mean picnic. Like…actually mean.

Box HIll
Pictured: Box Hill

The Couple
Alanna’s appreciation for other women is limited to those who look fantastic while cutting down enemies. She likes underdogs, oppressed peoples, and magical cats far more than she likes lords and ladies. Don’t get her started on fancy parties.

Emma has no interest in the gritty side of knighthood. She’d be down for songs composed in her honor or daring deeds performed for her praise…but those chivalrous concepts  come from literature and Emma doesn’t read. She prefers wit and throwing the same fancy parties Alanna so despises.

In terms of grit, these two are equals. In any other case, that would be enough. Too bad Emma doesn’t WANT an equal. Look who she picks for a best friend!

Image result for emma harriet smith
UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHH.

Compare Alanna to Harriet Smith. Alanna goes after what she wants and challenges people she dislikes. She’s handy with a sword and once killed a man by breaking his nose.

How would Emma control someone like her?

In the second book of her series, Alanna encounters a rival for Prince Jonathan’s affections. Tamora Pierce describes Princess Josiane of the Copper Isles as tall and blonde, a good dancer, and an annoyingly coy flirt. Hmmmmmm….

Emma

Yes, Alanna. Hook up with someone who reminds you of the woman who killed your cat.

Related image
…spoilers.

Verdict: R.I.P. IT

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 10

For round 10, I picked

Kyo Sohma from Fruits Basket
and
Mark Cohen from RENT

Background
Kyo Sohma can turn into a cat. That’s kind of his thing. If involuntarily turning into an adorable animal isn’t embarrassing enough, he’s an outcast in his own family, forced to spend the remainder of his life in a locked room.

Image result for kyo sohma true form
Mostly because this…happens…sometimes…

Mark Cohen hates paying rent almost as much as he hates the virus that keeps killing off his closest friends. He struggles to create while squatting with his best friend Roger in New York.

Art
Art is hard, guys.

The Couple
Kyo hates everything and everyone and expresses all emotions as poisonous rage.

Kyo gif
Our romantic lead, everyone.

Mark hates plenty – his parents, his job, Roger’s abandonment issues – but prefers to observe rather than engage. According to Roger, Mark uses art to numb his emotions so he doesn’t have to face them…ever. In fact, he only really brings up his feelings as a way to win arguments or push people away.

Blow off auntie Em

Two people actively pushing each other away? That screams health to me.

Maybe, despite all this, these two can work it out. The two have complementary personality traits: Kyo is loud, Mark is quiet; Kyo is aggressive, Mark is passive-aggressive; Kyo perceives constant rejection as a result of his family’s hatred, Mark experiences crushing loneliness despite group acceptance…

Now that I think about it, Mark has a lot in common with Yuki Sohma, Kyo’s canon rival.

How did that relationship work out again?

Adorable fighting
Oh.

Verdict: R.I.P. It