A Marriage Carol - Chris Fabry & Gary Chapman
Released September 2011
Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth
With their marriage in a state of shambles, Marlee and Jacob Ebenezer head to their lawyer's office on Christmas Eve to sign divorce papers. They don't know how they'll tell their children, but they know they simply can't remain in a loveless marriage any longer.
On the way, their car slides off the road. Marlee awakens to find her husband missing and walks to the nearest house seeking help. There she meets an unusual man who helps her reflect about her past, present, and future while trying to figure out what she wants most from life.
A Marriage Carol is a spin on Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol. It's short and sweet at just under 120 pages. Readers should have no problem reading through the story in one sitting.
At heart, I think the message in A Marriage Carol is strong and worthwhile to many couples. I'm always a little ill at ease when a book with a strong pro-marriage theme comes out. Many I've read, non-fiction particularly, are always written by singles who came from a failed marriage or have never even been married. In my opinion, that makes their message worthless because they really haven't experience the highs and lows and struggles to get back on track.
I've been married 20 years and divorce hasn't entered into our heads, so I like to think I know what I'm talking about. I do see situations where I think divorce is the best option and it was refreshing that Gary Chapman had his character point out abuse and infidelity. Many of the Christian books I read seem anti-divorce in any reason and that's where I disagree. I have a friend who was in an abusive marriage. She left when he pointed a gun at her. I am thrilled she finally gained the courage to file for divorce and get herself out of a dangerous situation.
In situations like that, I do believe leaving is the better option. However, many don't stop and think about the whole picture, they're too caught up in the "what if." That's what's done right in A Marriage Carol; Marlee's character really must think about her expectations and experiences rather than acting impulsively. It makes for a thought-provoking read that's followed up with book discussion questions that should make for interesting conversations.