RJ Hesketh, Director of Discipleship & Education
“You should never judge a book by its cover.”
An old cliche to be sure, but cliche or not, it is usually true. In terms of “The Christian Husband” by Bob Lepine, I would take that notion a bit further and add that you should not judge a book by your own skepticism.
I have to admit when Pastor Joshua added this particular volume to my study and review list I took one look at it and assumed that I already knew everything I needed to about it. There was no doubt in my mind that the author would go one of two common directions. Either he would be preachy and lofty, excluding the down and dirty reality of marriage and replacing it with biblical idealism. Or he would subject me to a watered-down self-help mess, devoid of any real biblical truth. In my mind, at the time there was no in-between. I could not have been more wrong.
As it turns out Mr. Lepine had written something very different than my expectations could have anticipated. From page one, this book is designed not only to educate the reader but to engage them as well. It addresses the reality of the struggles and failures inherent in being a husband while at the same time unapologetically holding them up against the biblical standard.
“The Christian Husband,” is broken into three main sections each with several chapters that tease out the primary theme of that section. It opens with the dialogue of an interview for the position of husband. In the back and forth we begin to see that the applicant, though excited about the position, is woefully ill-prepared to execute or even understand what duties are expected of him. This interview theme runs throughout the book and allows the reader to continually return and recalibrate as new ideas are placed before them. At the end of each section, we are given a list of questions to consider before we move on to the next section. This allows the reader to move from passive reader to active learner, fully engaged with the material.
Now for the big question. “Is this book only for husbands?” I would have to answer that question with a resounding "NO". Though married Christian men may be the initial focus of this book, much like the Scriptures, the initial audience and the total audience are not the same.
I would recommend this book to several different categories of people. The first is obviously men who are currently married or about to be married. But we should consider the value it could have for parents of young boys as well. I believe that this could be a great road map for parents as they train up the young men in their lives and prepare them for the covenantal calling of marriage. Or, how about women and young girls? As a father, I desire that the man my daughter marries be a biblical husband, and one way to help her achieve such a union is to prepare her for what to look for in a potential suitor. Furthermore, in Eve we find that for a woman to be a godly wife, she must act as a “help-mate” to her husband; and it is my opinion that the greatest help a wife can be, is to be ready and willing to call her husband back to a godly standard himself and this book is a great jumping-off point for that endeavor.
In conclusion, “The Christian Husband” by Bob Lepine is a solid read that will challenge the reader without isolating them and has earned a place in my marriage counseling library. I hope that if this is a subject of interest for you that you will take the time to prayerfully consider this work.
Other readings to consider:
From the author: “Love Like You Mean It” “Helping Your Children Know God”
On the subject: “The Masculine Mandate” By Richard D. Phillips