Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Review: Every Man's Battle

Book Review: Every Man's Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker

Sometime during my last few years at Bible college I got excited about purity. I mean really excited. I became absolutely convinced of not just the importance of being sexually pure but that it was one of the greatest gifts of God we could choose for ourselves. I started a new, purity focused relationship and began talking with many people about the topic. Encouraging men and couples in this area became one of my strongest passions. My relationship with Jobina was one of purity and integrity and I took that passion into marriage, youth pastoring, and camp directing.

Last week I was looking at my co-worker Gerry's library, looking for next book to read when my eyes rested upon Every Man's Battle. I thought it might help me with some of my clients who struggle with sexual issues. I read it in a couple of days and it kind of rocked my world. I realized though that my old passion for purity had kind of . . . faded. I'm not sure why, but when I encountered the brazen honesty and passion for purity in this book, I knew that it had happened and I hadn't even realized it. This book restored my vision for purity and helped me to see it's importance not just before marriage but after as well. The book is unique in that it mostly addresses "fractional addiction." This is where you are addicted to getting some of your sexual needs met outside your marriage relationship. So while most men are not like Tiger Woods, full blown sexual addicts, many have fractional addictions. Many young Christian men think marriage will be a kind of sexual nirvana where they won't have to fight against sexual temptation anymore (since they can now have sex)- and they are shocked when the battle changes but continues.

Personal purity is a delicate subject and so too often we don't talk about it, and if we do, we talk about it in code or vaguely. I liked this book because it was terribly honest and specific. Honest enough that you cringe when the authors tell their stories and you realize their wives have heard everything they've said. This would be a difficult book for a woman to read - and so at the end of each chapter there is special section addressed to any female readers, trying to help them understand the uniqueness of the male makeup. The authors differentiate between being male (our unique proclivity to getting our sexual needs met) and being a man (choosing to be pure to honor God). They then present a simple battle plan. Part of this plan is to "starve your eyes" and "bounce your eyes," two great strategies which when mastered will protect a man and his marriage in powerful ways.

I liked this book alot. I don't think it would be helpful for full blown sexual addiction but for fractional addiction (the vast majority of men) it is practical and easy to understand. It certainly is not boring! There is a female version as well called Every Woman's Battle: Discovering God's Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment, which I would love for a woman out there to volunteer and review for me. Any takers? I rate Every Man's Battle 4.4 stars out of 5.


Julie W said...

Hi Mark, how about if you get/borrow/acquire a copy for me and then I'll read and review it?
I've listened to some very good Focus on the family broadcasts on marraige and purity from a woman's perspective. i would love to read this book!

Mark said...

Hey Julie, thanks for volunteering! I could buy the book and then get it to you but it might be faster just to "order it in" from your local library. Can you check to see how long it would take to get it in? If it more then a week or two I will just order it myself and figure out a way to get it to you. Thanks!

Dayna said...

you're right mark, about purity being a seldom-talked about topic and even though it is very important to me, i wouldn't say i'm passionate about it as you described... i'd love to borrow that copy once julie's done, unfortunately postage to germany isn't cheep... but i'm looking forward to the review and might even have to order it for myself.

Lindsey Dueck said...

I am reading Every Young Woman's Battle with my small group, and it is very good. It has really opened my eyes about a lot of things! I wish I would have read it when I was a kid! I also have a daily bible study book with excerpts of EYWB and EWB and Every Heart Restored.

Mark said...

Julie: I found out that one my counselling centers that I work at has the book - so you could borrow if off of me from there if you wish. Just let me know the next time you are coming to the city.
Lindsey: Really, a small group of women reading it? Very interesting. That is the first time I have heard of women's group specifically focusing on women's sexual issues. Perhaps you could put a review of it on your blog when you are through?