Just How Married Do You Want to Be?

Just How Married Do You Want to Be?

Practicing Oneness in Marriage

by Jim Sumner and Sarah Sumner

Just How Married Do You Want to Be?
  • Length: 178 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: August 28, 2008
  • Item Code: 3393
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-3393-1

*affiliate partner

Men Are from Strip Clubs. Women Are from Seminary.

Jim and Sarah Sumner met at church. Jim, a new Christian and former male stripper, impressed Sarah with his desire to grow in his faith and to see people meet the God he had met. Sarah, a Ph.D. in theology and a division leader in evangelism, impressed Jim with her depth of knowledge and heart for discipleship. Their mutual admiration slowly turned to love, and the

two were married. Just how married they're becoming is the story of this book.

Sarah and Jim lay out a fresh approach to how husbands and wives relate biblically in marriage. In a culture where gender roles are often misunderstood, the Bible's teaching on the marital relationship is made more complex than it need be. What does it mean when we read that "the husband is the head of the wife"? How should the husband's headship play out when married couples deal with such issues as conflict and decision-making?

Read this book and discover a fresh vision for how couples can become "one flesh" in a marriage that honors God.

"Every Christian couple contemplating marriage can profit from this highly personal and thoughtful address."

Cornelius Plantinga Jr., president and Charles W. Colson Professor of Theology, Calvin Theological Seminary

"Jim and Sarah Sumner's book provides a biblical model for marriage, enabling you to strengthen your relationship's foundation. They show you that marriage is a covenant and a commitment, not just feelings and emotions. They teach you how to get together on the vertical, so that things will go well on the horizontal. This emphasis on the primacy of the spiritual is refreshing."

Barry C. Black, Ph.D., chaplain to the U.S. Senate

"Matching faithful, Christ-centered scriptural exposition with honest, down-to-earth sharing, the Sumners show how marriage minus role-play becomes relationally real. This is a truly health-giving read."

J. I. Packer, author of Knowing God

"Just How Married Do You Want to Be? delivers the best of both worlds--an insightful, fresh, biblical framework for marriage along with real-world application. Jim and Sarah's straightforward honesty is compelling, raw and powerful. This is a great marriage resource not simply to read but to reflect on and study."

Jud Wilhite, senior pastor, Central Christian Church, Las Vegas, and author of Stripped: Uncensored Grace on the Streets of Vegas

"Jim and Sarah Sumner have written perhaps the most honest marriage book we have ever read--an honesty born of the real-life pain and struggle of two people with very different backgrounds and personalities. The really good news is that they have looked straight into the heart of those differences and discovered that Jesus is the one who makes marriages work. Here is a marriage book without syrupy formulas or platitudes that tells us the truth that Jesus works through flawed vessels to create something beautiful."

Frank James, president, Reformed Theological Seminary--Orlando, and Carolyn James, author of The Gospel of Ruth

"Sarah and Jim's book has theological depth, and is a great and timely teaching tool for changing the way people think about marriage, Christ and the church."

Chuck Colson, founder, Prison Fellowship

"Just How Married Do You Want to Be? is the memoir of a marriage--riveting, honest, self-revelatory and full of evidences of the grace and mercy of Christ--and a reexamination of the meaning of headship in marriage. Readers will walk away from this book with a vivid memory of the fascinating courtship and marital journey of Jim and Sarah Sumner, and with important new insights related to a biblical theology of marriage. I highly recommend this book."

Dr. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, McAfee School of Theology, and president, Evangelicals for Human Rights

"We each read Sarah and Jim's book in one sitting . . . and since then we have gone back and reread several passages that we found especially helpful. One of the things that we love about Just How Married Do You Want to Be? is that it contains profound biblical theology that is incredibly practical. We believe you will find this book to be an enjoyable read that has the potential to change your marriage."

Greg and Julie Nettle, senior pastor and worship leader, Rivertree Christian Church, Massillon, Ohio

"'More than ever' is our response to Jim and Sarah's literary question, just how married do you want to be?--and we're celebrating fifty years of practicing oneness!"

Stuart and Jill Briscoe, authors and speakers on "Telling the Truth"

Unpacking the passage's loaded themes of headship, submission, mystery, sacrifice and the husband's call to cleave, the Sumners offer help on how this theological concept plays out in ordinary life. The heart of the book is its fresh approach to the egalitarian-complementation theological wars that revolve around the place of women in Christian ministry and family. The book reframes the egalitarian side as the "diplomatic" model, the complementation side as the "business" model, and then offers what they call the "biblical" model. They able present a compelling case.

Jim Miller Book Review, July 29, 2009

The Sumners explain how oneness, produced by putting Christ and then your spouse before yourself, is the heart of marriage. This book develops the deepest undesrtanding of the head-body dynamic described in Ephesians 5.

Charles W. Tackett, Christianity Today, April 2009

The book deals honestly with marital issues drawn from the Sumners' own lives. They show how the biblical model is rooted in the mystery of a man and a woman becoming "one flesh."

Susan Olasky, WORLD Magazine, November 15/22, 2008

Overall, it strikes me that their proposal of the "Oneness Model" seems to be an important piece missing in the discussion at large about marital relationships.

The Link Between (thelinkbetween.wordpress.com), September 7, 2008

. . . Enough accessible nuggets of marital wisdom for even the casual reader.

DeWayne Hamby, Christian Retailing, September 8, 2008



Foreword by Kathy and John Burke
Introduction: Becoming One Flesh

1 An Unlikely Couple
2 Two Popular Models of Marriage
3 A Deeper Understanding of Headship
4 A Biblical Model of Marriage
5 Practicing Oneness in the Grind of Daily Living
6 Resolving Conflict
7 Defining Expectations
8 Hot Button Issues
9 Building a Christ-Centered Marriage
10 Every Couple?s Need for Christian Community



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Jim Sumner

Jim Sumner is on staff at NewSong Church in San Dimas, California.

Sarah Sumner

Sarah Sumner (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is dean of the A. W. Tozer Theological Seminary in Redding, California. She is also an author and speaker who travels both nationally and internationally to address church congregations and institutions of Christian higher education. In addition, she is a consultant who addresses businesses and nonprofits on the subject of leadership and organizational health. Dr. Sumner is the first woman to earn a PhD in Systematic Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Her formal training includes a BA from Baylor in Education, an MA in Theology from Wheaton College, an MDiv equivalent from Trinity, and an MBA from Azusa Pacific University. For nine years Sumner served as a core teaching pastor at New Song Church in San Dimas, California. For almost thirteen years she worked primarily as a faculty member in the Graduate School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University.