Greg and Erin Smalley encourage couples to examine their understanding of marriage in light of God’s plan for their marriage.

The Smalleys share plots from movies and television programs, their struggles, and other couples’ marriage experiences to provide practical tips for the twists and turns, uphill and downhill through the adventure of marriage.

This book caused me to rethink my definition of spiritual leadership. Some women may struggle with an unrealistic definition of spiritual leadership. Their expectations may be just short of a husband who leads her like a pastor might lead his congregation.

“I want to challenge each woman to broaden her definition of what it means to be a spiritual leader and to notice all the ways that her husband loves and cares for his family. … Certain gifts help men lead the family toward God, using His methods of humility and grace.” (pp. 40-41)

He then, lists the ways men lead their families, giving Scriptural references by each leadership trait.

I thought it was interesting that the 12 “secrets” were action verbs. Love acts; love is not passive.

At the end of each chapter, readers are encouraged to visit the website for the book,, for date night tips based on the theme of the chapter.

Formulas, lists, and abundant quotes fill the chapters with poignant thoughts. Greg Smalley’s humor and pranks demonstrate his delight in marriage, friendship, parenting, and life. For example, he thought their 15-year marriage had “come full circle” when Erin took him on a hike in Hawaii and ended up at the waterfall they found on their honeymoon. In spite of the “No Swimming” sign, she jumped into the water, swam around and invited him to jump in. On their honeymoon, Greg had defied the sign and jumped in, much to the horror of Erin.

“Just as the ancient Israelites had needed to get past the massive walls of Jericho to enter their promised land, I guess we needed to get past a waterfall.” (p. 259)

I struggle to understand how Erin disobeying the “No Swimming” sign like Greg did on their honeymoon demonstrates that their marriage had improved.

I was intrigued by the title of this book, Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage … 12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance.

Keith and I have been married for 45 years, and marriage is a “big thing” to us. A 45-year love-filled marriage takes the practical steps that Greg and Erin Smalley have shared, but it takes more than these “secrets.” It takes a husband and wife living for God and for each other.

A love-filled, lifelong marriage, like a love-filled Christian walk, takes dying to self and living and loving for God and each other.

A love-filled, lifelong marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for His bride, the church.

Marriage is a shadow of big things to come.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book for my honest review.

My prayer

Giver of marriage, Lover of our souls, Thank You for giving us marriage. May the readers of this book deepen their walk with You and with each other. Bless Greg and Erin Smalley with a day-by-day deeper walk with You and with each other. Thank You, Father.

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