Monday, August 8, 2011

Don’t Give Up: Unexpected Answers to Marital Challenges by Gary Hoffman

Don’t Give Up is born out of the Men on the Edge Ministry that began at Saddleback Church, of which Hoffman is the leader. This book contains the material used in the support group for men with marital struggles. Hoffman’s book makes a good tool for support groups as well as being a complete resource for men to use on their own. A study guide style suits this book well and it also offers graphs, charts and a few questions to ponder.
Hoffman has a very specific target audience for his book, men in a marriage that is/did fall apart. It’s easy to determine whether or not Don’t Give Up is for you. I also feel the book is geared more towards men who either don’t have a personal relationship with Christ or are on the fringe. I say that because, as a Christian, some of the points Hoffman makes seems elementary. Having said that, there are some tidbits that are useful for women and couples who have a solid marriage. I was pleased when I read Hoffman’s reasoning for not using lawyers and I was glad to read his instruction on behavior during a separation.

A few nitpicks: redundancy, long sermon passages and overall not the caliber of writing I expected. First, I did not like the restating. There were many times the exact same sentence was written twice in the span of half a page. Verbatim. And many chapters could’ve been shorter if the repetition was eliminated. Several scripture passages were used over and over throughout the book, as well. Second, Hoffman prints long sections of sermons giving by Rick Warren. Whose book is it, anyway? And finally, Don’t Give Up fell short of my expectations. Saddleback Church is well-known and well-known for putting out excellent materials. I felt like Hoffman tried too hard to sell the ministry and relied on the reputation of Saddleback to carry the book along.
Don’t Give Up is a good resource and study guide for men who are trying to hold together their marriage. Everyone has to start somewhere and this book is a good beginning place. The format lends itself nicely to a group setting which is also a good place for struggling men to be. Hoffman has a great ministry going and is meeting the need of many men—I can’t criticize that!

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