Way back in September, a publicist contacted me in regards to the book Keep Your Love On! by Danny Silk. They wanted to know if I was interested in a book on relationships written by a pastor, and, if I liked it, could I review it. Now, admittedly, I had never heard of the author before, but I’m not one to turn down a free book on marriage. I gave my usual disclaimer of “I’ll review it, but if it’s not good, the review won’t be either”, and they were fine with that.
A few weeks later, the book was in hand with a promise that I’d read it as soon as I could. Well, life got crazy, and now I’m catching up on my reading. In 3 months, I got half way through the book, and then I finished the rest in a day. It really is that good. It just took me a while to find the time.
While this book says it’s about “connection, communication & boundaries” and bills itself as a book on relationships (with a lot of focus on marriage), it’s really more than that. This is a book on how to be a more authentic “you”.
Let’s take a look at the chapters
Section One: Connection
- Powerful people, powerful relationships
- Turn your love on
- The battle between fear and love
- Building healthy relationships
Section Two: Communication
- Communication: Exchanging the truth inside
- The trust cycle
- Communicating in conflict
Section Three: Boundaries
- Levels of Intimacy
- Guidelines for setting boundaries
- Did you learn to love?
The main theme of the book is looking at the difference between what he terms “powerful people” and “powerless people”. Powerful people are strong, yes, because their strength comes from God, and their actions are focused on Him, but he also shows us what sorts of things “powerful people” do vs those that are “powerless”. Through the book, this theme persists, and through the chapters, Danny Silk drew on a lot of lessons I’ve learned in my marriage, in studying to be a coach, in talking to people, in reading books, but instead of a jumbled mass of ideas and best practices, he tied them all together into a consistent, coherent theme.
Because that’s the problem with all this “marriage stuff” sometimes. It’s a lot of stuff, and it’s all over the place. Without some sort of system, you can’t remember everything you hear, let alone implement it. But based on the lessons in Keep Your Love On, one could build an avatar, one based on Jesus, the was powerful in their interactions with others. Not of their own power, but because they don’t let other’s dictate how they relate with God, their spouse, their friends, or the world. That’s, ultimately, what makes them powerful. They take responsibility for their actions, and they act responsibly. Not because someone made them, but because it’s what they truly want to do. No excuses, no delay, no hesitation.
However, this book is a good primer, not the whole library. You can’t replace every marriage book with this one. For example, he talks about connection, and at some length, but not compared to a book like Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, & Life Together by Mark and Grace Driscoll. He writes about communication, but not nearly to the extent that my marriage coaching classes did. He writes about boundaries, but not to the extent of the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud.
But, that said, it’s an excellent primer. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Anyone! Married or single, because the lessons contained go well beyond just marriage. It’s how you deal with your family, your boss, your co-workers and friends. I think it would make an excellent required reading book in pre-marital counseling, or even pre-dating. While I was reading it, I actually recommended it to a few people, because even half way through, I knew it was going to be an amazing resource.
I do want to point out one thing I disagreed with. In his chapter on communicating in conflict, Danny Silk writes:
Conflict is to the relationship what disease or injury is to a body. As with physical health, the goal in a relationship should be to prevent as much conflict as possible.
Now, those who have read my views on conflict before know that I think conflict can be good and healthy. Conflict is essential to marriage. Conflict brings growth, brings new perspective, brings knowledge of your spouse. Conflict is neither good nor bad, it merely has the amazing potential to be either. What matters is how you deal with conflict, because after all, if you want pasta for supper, and your spouse wants sushi … that’s conflict. You have conflicting desires. Simple as that. Is that bad? Is that evil? Would you consider that disease or injury? Only if you handle it badly. But, if you handle it appropriately, you can actually grow from the conflict.
Anyways, that’s my only sore point on the entire book, and even with that in it, I still easily put this on my recommended reading list. In fact, I was recently shipped a copy of his DVD course: Foundations of Honor and I’m looking forward to going through that as I’m expecting another great resource from Pastor Danny Silk contained within. So, hopefully I’ll have a review of it up … soon-ish.