The Purpose of Passion: Dante's Epic Vision of Romantic Love by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware
The authors of The Purpose of Passion take a unique approach in writing about the matter of love. Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware use the literature of Dante to show us how Dante viewed love and how we should view it too. The first section discusses Dante's book La Vita Nova (the Good Life). In it Dante first meets the love of his life, a beautiful green eyed woman named Beatrice. This woman becomes the symbol of all love to him. Dante is mesmerized and obsessed with her.
He's eight years old.
However, his first love is not extinguished as time passes but becomes fuller and richer. Never mind that Beatrice dies while still very young and he ends up marrying someone else. The authors show us Beatrice came to represent for Dante an ideal rather than actual romance.
The next two sections takes the reader through Dante's Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. In Paradise Dante finally meets Beatrice again. This time she is not only the embodiment of romantic love but points Dante to the love of all loves, Christ's love.
This may all seem far fetched but Bruner and Ward actually do a very good job escorting us through the different stages of the Inferno, where we meet love gone wrong, to say the least. In section 2 of the book (called Love Gone Astray) Dante encounters different people who are in hell for their wrongful love. Which is to say they didn't love at all. They cheated, lied and murdered justifying their crimes by calling them "love." Or their love became perverted, but we don't need to go into that. Reading Dante's Inferno is not for the faint of heart. The section ends with a quote: “Love your neighbor as, not for, yourself.
From there we move to paradise where people got love wrong on earth but are corrected and are able to move finally to Paradise where all love is right, all our imperfect love is made perfect and how all types of love- filial, romantic and agape -are combined to marry us to our perfect lover, Jesus Christ.
For those who have experienced the “inferno”: a broken heart, rejection, a perversion of what was supposed to be a good love, they will find the authors comments about Dante's beliefs and our current trends in society relevant and meaningful. For those who are currently in love and in a serious relationship, Purgatory and Paradise have many thought-provoking chapters that give insight and direction. Ward and Bruner attempt to show us how one cannot have true romantic love without surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ and having a love affair with Him first.
If you like classical literature and enjoyed Dante's famous works then you will enjoy reliving them while having a new light cast on them. You'll probably want to go and reread them. In conclusion, I recommend the Purpose of Passion as a great premarital counseling resource.
7 Things He'll never Tell You...but You Need to Know by Dr. Kevin Leman
Dr. Kevin Leman takes us on a hilarious tour of the mind of man (according to him it just has one button). Each chapter is written in a humerous yet telling way (Chapter 1: “It's Thursday, and I'm out of words already but if you want to keep talking, honey, go ahead. Chapter 2: (“Think of me as a four year old that shaves.”) If you're married (and if you're a woman reading this) you will discover with relief that your husband is not weird, he's a normal male (Chapter 5: “I've thought about sex 33 times today, and it's not even noon.”)
Underneath all the humor are truths that are crucial to the emotional health of your husband and to the happiness of your marriage (Chapter 6: “What your man fears more than anything else... and how you may be doing that very thing in subtle ways.”)
For women that care enough about their man to get inside his head and understand him better this is the book for you!
Kiss Me Like You Mean It: Solomon's Crazy in Love How-To Manuel by Dr. David Clarke
Kiss Me Like you Mean it by Dr. David Clarke is probably my favorite book. Warning: It's pretty hot and steamy and I recommend it for couples that either are already married or are shortly about to get married. Dr. Clarke uses lots of case studies from his years as a marriage counselor that make his book interesting and easy to bring home. Interwoven with the personal stories is a step by step walk through of the Song of Solomon. Clarke explains each chapter and section in this exceptional book of the Bible to reveal what King Solomon had to say about passion and romance in marriage. A wonderful Valentine's day gift for the significant other in your life. One you should read together.