When I read a book that I really like, I should purchase stock in its publishing company, because I end up buying dozens of copies and handing it out to everyone I’ve ever met. Books I really like include Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.
Earlier this summer, a good friend recommended to me The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler. Since then, my husband and I have both read the book, and we’ve given away nearly 20 copies. It’s that good.
What’s it about
The tagline of Mingling of Souls is: God’s design for love, marriage, sex and redemption. Matt Chandler takes Song of Solomon, breaks it downs, and applies it to the various stages of relationships. The eight chapters chronicle the progression of relationships from attraction to dating and courtship, to marriage and consummation, wrapping up with married life forever and ever, amen.
I wouldn’t say this is the most accurate exegesis of the Song of Solomon. But, the Song of Solomon was written as a love song before it was ever interpreted allegorically or spiritually. So, bear that in mind as you read.
Why I like it
1. This may be the first book I’ve ever read from a Christian perspective that teaches that sex and sexual attraction is a good thing. I know we as believers know that, but we also have attached much guilt and shame to sex. Premarital sex, fornication, pornography, adultery-it’s all sin. We’ve taught purity and modesty-which is great. But, we’ve neglected to teach the beauty, holiness and goodness of sex between a man and wife. No guilt, no shame. Only good.
God created man and woman. He declared in Genesis 1 that this particular creation was very good. God created men and women with uniquely different bodies that fit together. He created testosterone and estrogen, libido and all the rest. Sexual attraction is a God created thing, and logically increases in each level of relationship.
2. This book is a candid look at God’s perfect plan for marriage and the physical relationship. But, because we are sinners, we need grace and forgiveness. Sexual sin is not the unforgivable sin. Many of the chapters contain sections that show how God’s grace is extended, and His redemption is applicable, even when we’ve messed up in this area.
3. Matt Chandler differentiates between dating (getting to know someone) and courtship (coming to understand what makes someone tick.). I loved the list of questions in the courtship chapter. Brian and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary next week, and we still need to discover some of the answers to those questions.
4. The chapter on Fighting Fair is pure gold. There are practical steps on what to do or not do when you fight. There is a list of ways to improve your listening skills. Forgiveness is urged, as is responding not reacting. Maybe you all have this down, but we are still learning.
5. My favorite quote: “Given the ‘normal’ sins of marriage, the messiness and brokenness, as difficult and wearying as it can be, we must remember that the vows exist for precisely such circumstances. You really don’t need to make a vow to stick with someone in the best of times. The inclination to run doesn’t exist then. It’s the low times the covenant is made for.” (page 206)
Who’s it for
Obviously, I think The Mingling of Souls is for everyone. I have the Amazon bill to prove it…
In all seriousness, this book is applicable reading for anyone who is dating, engaged, newly married, or well seasoned. It would be perfect to use in premarital counseling or in marriage counseling. I would recommend it for any young man or woman not dating currently, but interested in dating at some point in time.
My caveat would be that it is not PG. It is tastefully explicit, but explicit nonetheless. While Song of Solomon is poetic, this book is not. It says what it means in no uncertain terms. I would not recommend it as reading for a child or young teen.
Where can you get a copy
While I would love to purchase a copy to give to every one of our AssemblyHUB readers, that is not a very feasible plan. You can purchase your own paper or digital copy through Amazon for less than $10. There is also a study guide available. I have not yet done that, but I can see how it would be very helpful to use individually, as a couple, or in a group setting.
Our marriages are very important. The Church is the bride of Christ, and our marriages are a picture of that relationship. May this book spur on each Christian marriage to be more accurate and God-glorifying in this picture.