Ten Great Dates by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp

Ten Great DatesLast night I finished reading Ten Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp. I chose to review it because it looked more interesting than the other three or four nonfiction options Bethany House had available. Unfortunately, while it has some good stuff in it, I was disappointed.

Ten Great Dates—written by two couples who have a lot of experience with marriage mentoring, counseling, and conferences­­—sets out to “help you connect faith, love, and marriage in ways that result in spiritual connection—all in the fun, guilt-free, safe format of Great Dates” (pg. 9). It was a quick read that contains some good marriage advice, and I like that it focuses on incorporating your faith into your marriage. I also liked that it included some Bible study questions to get you reading what the Bible has to say. But there were quite a few things I didn’t like.

The concept is interesting—plans for 10 different Dates with your spouse—but it wasn’t laid out the way I expected. Based on the back cover copy, I was expecting more ideas for the actual date activities/locations, but the focus was on what you should discuss. The most specific instructions for a date activity was were to “go to a nice restaurant” and “find a quiet place to talk.”

The authors used a lot of personal stories to illustrate their points. While examples like that can be helpful, I thought there were too many stories, and they were so long it was easy to forget the point. I grew bored with them and found myself skipping those sections.

The tear-out sheets at the back of the book are designed to guide the conversation for each Date—each person is supposed to get a copy and prepare for the Date by answering the questions. I knew after reading just the first one that my husband (who is a committed Christian and usually a good sport) would never agree to do all ten Dates. By the time I finished the book, I didn’t want to do them either.

Ten Great Dates could be helpful for couples who aren’t married yet or who became believers after they got married and haven’t figured out how to incorporate their faith into their marriage. But if you’re already married and doing things like praying and reading the Bible with your spouse, there are better marriage resources out there (Love & Respect, Sacred Marriage, Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage, and The Five Love Languages to name a few).

(P.S. It would probably go unnoticed by most people, but the ridiculous amount of exclamation points drove me crazy. One page had four in just two short paragraphs—that’s more than I would allow for an entire book.)

*I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review. My opinion of this book is my own and was not influenced by the publisher or the author.

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