Review: Danny Silk’s Defining the Relationship

I’ve been meaning to get a post out on this for a while. I received Danny Silk’s book on Defining The Relationship Workbook: A Relationship Course For Those Considering Marriage a while ago from a family member.

The chapters in this book are as follows:

  1. Series introduction
  2. Powerful people, powerful decisions
  3. Pillars of Healthy Relationships
  4. Love Languages
  5. Your “Normal”
  6. Communication Dance
  7. Conflict Management
  8. 90/10 Factor

Having heard Danny Silk preach before, I thought this would be good. Unfortunately, this book falls flat on its face.

The vast majority of Scriptures used in this book are randomly cherry picked from general Christian living — namely, 1-2 verse Jesus quotes and 1-2 verse Paul’s epistles quotes. Most of these cherry picked Scriptures are used in context which is good. The issue is that most of the general Christian living Scriptures are supposed to be used in the context of the Church and community not just within relationships. They’re useful for same sex relationships and opposite sex relationships. The fact that anyone can use them is not a bad thing, but this is supposed to be a book that prepares you for a marriage relationship with the opposite sex. You’d think there would be some more information specifically on relationships between the opposite sex.

The very bad. I read through the book the first time and was amazed because I found zero references to the Scriptures on marriage such as Eph 5, Col 3, Tit 2, 1 Pet 3, and the like. I was stunned about this so I went through the whole book again and found nothing again. I came back to it later and went through it again and found none the third time too.

If you’re a Christian and considering marriage, you would think a book about relationships would have some direction and discussion about what God says about marriage (ESPECIALLY with marriage in the title of it). Nope, you can’t find it in this book. The “5 love languages” made it into this book, but the Scriptures on marriage didn’t make it. That’s just terrible.

Additionally, this book was also missing a large discussion male and female nature, in the context of the Scripture. It would’ve been a great idea to reference how males and females relate differently and how this can lead to misunderstandings between the sexes. Unfortunately, there are only small tidbits here and there, and it doesn’t paint a good picture of the nature of interaction between the sexes.

The section on conflict management is good. Silk generally does a good job at explaining how conflict management is supposed to work in terms of Christian principles. Obviously, it’s not as simple as say “love your neighbor as yourself” or Jesus’ “love one another as I have loved you.” There are solid actionable steps that you can take to resolve conflict, including putting your heart and attitudes in the right posture. However, as I mentioned earlier, these steps could be applied to any type of relationship, not just one between a potential husband and wife.

Rating: 1/5 — I wholeheartedly would not recommend this book, at least until the glaring holes are fixed.

Danny Silk is one of the more well-known evangelical pastors (as he is from Bethel), so to see a book like this on preparation for marriage without references to any of the Scriptures on marriage and no references to the Scriptural differences in male and female nature is very disappointing. The sad part is that it’s not unexpected either, given the watered down message of the whole Church in our culture.

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12 Responses to Review: Danny Silk’s Defining the Relationship

  1. Out of Nod says:

    I’m starting to wonder, after a review like this, if the church leadership is clueless about such matters as sex differences and how they play out in matters of relationships and sin. Most pastors I know married their wives when their wives were young and when they themselves were clueless and naive. They have no clue on how to equip their churches in this regard considering normal human relationships when they have been blessed with the ideal.

  2. @ Out of Nod

    It sure seems that way

    For the most part, it also seems like most pastors were training to be pastors when the met their wives and married or were pastors already before they married. I think the pastors often confuse their ‘godliness’ for being attractive as opposed to their leadership and status.

    There’s also no shortage of stories where the wife becomes unhappy in their marriage, and the husbands turn up the godliness and it doesn’t work. Then you have stuff like the ‘godly temper tantrums’ and ‘walking out the door ready to divorce.’

    All in all, they’re operating under culturally influenced perceptions of Scripture which skew their notions of what godliness and attractiveness are.

  3. Pastors lack Wisdom, thus they can’t properly process introspection. Their Vanity is getting the better of them, even if they don’t know it.

  4. feeriker says:

    Inexcusable hackwork like this is enough to make one wonder if the church and those who “lead” it are trying to deliberately sabtage Christian marriage.

  5. feeriker says:

    sabotage. Sorry.

  6. @feeriker:

    They’re blind fools. So the blind are simply leading the blind. After you’ve swallowed enough of it, you’ll act the same.

  7. Coastal says:

    At this point I more or less mentally tune out all “Christian relationship books”. I stick with the biblical standards for husbands/wives and go from there. Christian books have done far more harm than good when it comes to churchian dating/marriage culture, so I’d rather just go to the true source.

  8. @ Coastal

    Exactly my mentality.

    The Scriptures have power and revelation.

    Any random Christian book *may* have good insight at best.

  9. feeriker says:

    Any random Christian book *may* have good insight at best.

    Rarely ever. Such books are the “junk food” of Christian spiritual nutrition, literary McDonalds, the natural market response to demand for prepared, tasty, pseudo-biblical pablum by people too intellectually and spiritually lazy and ignorant to read the relevant Scriptures for themselves. Perfect tools for the wolves in sheep’s clothing who “lead” most churches today and whose goal is to keep their congregations as scripturally blind and ignorant as possible in order to further their own agendas.

  10. Pingback: Biblical prescriptions with no Bible | Christianity and masculinity

  11. Scholtz says:

    We experienced good fruit from this course.
    Knowledge of Scripture vs living it in relationships….that is not so easy if you don’t have skills
    Biblical principles practical

  12. @ Scholtz

    Communication skills are useless if you’re not living according to the Scriptures roles and responsibilities for marriage.

    ~ Love and respect
    ~ Headship and submission
    ~ Etc.

    Christians bear faithful witness to Christ and the Church by living in their godly roles and responsibilities.

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