Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage is aptly titled. In this fourth volume of Dr. David R.L. Stevens’ series on relationships, he takes readers from “first date” to “empty nest” with guidance, anecdotes, biblical scripture, and advice.
Chapters 1 through 4 address dating, 5-8 the engagement/preparation for marriage period, 6-16 issues married couples grapple with, such as differences in points of view, his needs/her needs, roles, and planning for the future; Chapters 17-20 deal with raising children, or alternative roles if a couple is childless. Chapter 16 on “Essential Partnering” is especially interesting as he compares certain aspects of marriage to a business partnership, highlighting the need for “relentless and ongoing communication.”
Stevens’ style is pleasant, open, and engaging. It seems he’s just across the coffee table, sharing from his heart and over 40 years’ experience as a pastor, counselor, and relationship coach. Often he injects humor into his anecdotes, keeping the tone light, yet direct. Although at times the chapter content goes off topic, he brings it back eventually. For example, in his chapter on childless couples, he segues into a discussion of whether children should attend church with their parents every Sunday. This material would have been more appropriate in Chapter 19, “Standard Parenting 101,” which discusses discipline.
The book is in dire need of editing for punctuation and capitalization. In addition, in several instances the author repeats material, almost verbatim. For example, the information about why men and women communicate differently based on the types of toys they played with as kids, appears in Chapters 14 and 19.
It’s unusual to find “soup-to-nuts” in a book on marriage — and perhaps Stevens’ sets out to cover too much in one volume. Nevertheless, his no-nonsense, biblical, and professional approach to the topic of “love, marriage, and the baby carriage” will be a useful tool for readers at any stage of their relationship journey.
Also available as an ebook.