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Surprised By Remarriage: a Guide to the Happily Even After
Author: Ginger Kolbaba
Publisher: Revell Books
Pages: 191
Released: March 1, 2006

Author Ginger Kolbaba has stumped my efforts to identify one or two highlights in her book Surprised By Remarriage: A Guide TO The Happily Even After. This treasure from Revell Books is filled with highlights. Kolbaba provides us with a thoughtful witty expose on the joys and pitfalls of marrying someone who has been previously married or getting remarried yourself. I can hear the saints crying out taboo, holding their crosses high and genuflecting. Give it a rest this book is not advocating divorce but instead addresses the issues associated with those who want to remarry.

Did you know that a generally accepted figure in America today is that approximately fifty percent of the people who attest to having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ have been divorced or affected by divorce? Let me explain that statistic. Those who said they were affected by divorce either had an immediate or extended family member who was divorced. In Kolbaba's book she quotes statistics that ought to give anyone good reason to read this book or to support Christian based programs such as Divorce Care. Drawing upon the resources of The Step Family Association of North America she states; 76 percent of second marriages end in divorce, 87 percent of third marriages and a staggering 93 percent of fourth marriages.  She quotes two government bodies whose statistics are more conservative but still cite that 65 percent of all remarriages end in divorce.

If divorce is an epidemic in today's society and the church is to be socially active and ministering to families then we ought to be picking up books like Surprised By Remarriage, reading them and recommending them to others.

The author does not speak out of a vacuum but from personal experience. Although Kolbaba had not been previously married herself her husband was divorced. She shares from personal experience and anonymously shares the experiences of others who she has encountered through her role as managing editor for Marriage Partnership magazine. 

Kolbaba deals with ensuring that you have healed properly from your divorce. She talks about issues of forgiveness for all parties of a divorce. You encounter discussions concerning the phantom other spouse, that is to say does the ex wife or ex husband ever really leave you alone to be just a couple? Issues of co-parenting and how to address relationships with children in blended marriages are all confronted. She also discusses a situation from her own life where she made it known to friends that she did not condone the circumstances of their own divorce. Rather than me making a mess trying to explain this passage you are best to pick up the book and read it yourself.

The chapter entitled "Oh, Lonesome Loser Me" is particularly poignant because it serves as a forum for discussing those in the Christian community who are quick to condemn their divorced constituents even though the attackers have no knowledge of the circumstances for the divorce. The experience of Carol (not her real name) a highly respected believer underlines how painful it can be for Christians to even admit publicly that they are divorced. This chapter however isn't merely a critique of those who are quick to judge but the author points the reader in the direction of several passages of scripture that remind one that forgiveness and grace are found in God. 

Kolbaba quotes Jeremiah 29:11 and reminds us, "Jeremiah was quoting God and talking to the Israelites. Talk about God's chosen screwed-up folks. They were forever messing up." This is just one example of Kolbaba's wit that tends to lighten a very serious discussion.

The book is filled with an abundance of solid practical suggestions such as how to approach friends that your ex spouse and you still share and what should you and shouldn't you discuss with these mutual friends. Many of us will have heard the tips on communicating but it never hurts to be reminded. For certain they serve as a good discussion for couples planning on remarrying. 

Each chapter concludes with a brief summary and would provide a strong foundation for a bible study for couples who are remarrying or remarried. 

I am not aware of any books that are perfectly written but Ginger Kolbaba's work comes as close as any I have picked up. She is witty, frank and speaks from experience. This book reads like a novel, you don't want to put it down. Too often books that deal with serious subjects become bogged down but the author has done well to avoid that trap.

Pastors if you are reading this review you should pick up a copy of Surprised By Remarriage: A Guide To The Happily Even After. If you are a facilitator of a Divorce Care group recommend this book to your participants. If you know someone who is divorced even if they aren't contemplating remarriage at this time do them a favor and buy them a copy of this book. Most importantly if you are a Christian and reading this do yourself a favor and read the book because you need to know that nobody plans to get divorced but we all need to know how to minister to those who are.

By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague. 


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