Cover Image: With These Words

With These Words

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The book starts off with the author sharing how troubled his marriage was and how fast it started. Like so many marriages, their problems began with communication. From there he introduces a few couples who are also struggling with specific communication issues, and they are easily relatable.

With These Words is a marriage book with stories to identify with, practical tools to use, and Biblical wisdom to apply. From forgiveness to mirroring, there is a lot to digest and utilize. There is also a section at the end of each chapter to reflect and discuss.

I think any couple would benefit from With These Words. Like the author, their issues started on the honeymoon. Some, it’s when kids come. Or after a few years and you hide the conflict and let everything fall into complacency. Whatever the situation, I think you’ll find it in this book, and great wisdom to emerge from it stronger. I definitely recommend!

I received an advanced reader copy for review.
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What an incredible tool for marriages! Rob Flood has shared deep insights to the early years of his marriage, which were rocky at best, and backs up his reflections and experience with scripture. The tips for communication between couples are valuable whether your marriage is strong or struggling. Practical and thought provoking. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and was under no obligation to write a review.
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Rob Flood has made a valuable addition to marriage books collection with this focussed look at communication. He starts with his own honest story of bad communication in the early years of marriage, and how God saved their marriage through his grace and the application of communication tools. 

Section 1 covers the biblical foundation over three shortish chapters. 

Section 2  gets more practical with 5 tools for communication: first response,  prayer, physical touch, mirroring (reflective listening) and proper timing. All are well explained and contain good, solid advice. 

Section 3 puts it all together- so that couples can “learn how to move forward safely, successfully, and soundly in the will of God”, noting there is never a one-size fits all solution. He returns to the truths of the gospel, and how we are called to live in light of that, challenging spouses to be forgiving and compassionate and have that define their marriage, despite the sin we each bring to the relationship.

There are insightful questions to work through at the end of each chapter, which will really help couples apply it and consider their own strengths and weaknesses. Couples who read it together will benefit greatly. Even one spouse who reads it and tries to apply it will find positive change can be enacted.  

Overall, this is an excellent book, strongly grounding marriage communication in the truths of the gospel and how we are called to use our speech in ways that honour Christ.
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This book has its roots in experience. The Flood marriage got off to a very rocky start, with conflict, misunderstanding and anger. It was not until a breakthrough of repentance that the couple found grace in communication.

Flood provides a biblical foundation for marriage, practical tools for communication, and various ways of moving forward with what he has provided. He uses biblical illustrations as well as examples from his own marriage and marriages of others.

For me, the most thought provoking part of the book was when Flood wrote of the foolishness of saying “There is no God.” (Loc 501/1987) The foolishness is not in saying God does not exist, but rather, in this situation, at this time, I am going to act and talk as if God does not exist. What foolishness to live any part of life without acknowledging God and His design for my life, my conversation, my actions.

I really appreciate this book. Flood has a good method of communicating truth. He notes we must be willing to recognize our own weaknesses and be willing to change. He gives great principles for communication and insightful strategies for living them out. Questions for discussion or reflection are included at the end of each chapter.

Food for thought: “Words were designed to give life.” (Loc 336/1987)

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher My comments are an independent and honest review.
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With these words- A Communication Vow

With these words - I will seek to build you up rather than tear you down.
With these words - I will do all I can to reiterate what you mean on a way that honors and respects you.
With these hands - I will touch you caringly, seeking unity even through the hardest conversations.
With these eyes-I will look on you tenderly, avoiding judgment and scorn.
With these ears - I will listen intently to understand what you're trying to say.

I will seek to love the Lord first and foremost, loving you all the while.
With these words - I will share grace, mercy, and forgiveness as it has abundantly been shared with me by our Savior.
And with God's help, our communication will draw us more closely together, for the good of our home and the glory of God.

Communication can be broken in so many different ways in a marriage and in any relationship. If we think it is the other person, it may do you better to think how you are responding in your communication. Maybe you shut down others. Maybe you don't listen well. Maybe your words hurt rather than heal. Communication is not just about what is being said, but also what we hear and how we hear. Seeking to be right and win the battle is not how marriage is won but is the way for a marriage to be lost. There is hope.

Flood brings marriage communication scenarios for us to see. Maybe you will see yourself. I know I did. The text starts with 3 parts. Part one - Truth for Communication.- There are rules to follow. Part two - Tools for Communication- the practical application to the rules and Part three- Working it Out- If you will, I took this to mean the same way as we work out our salvation. Let me explain. Communication is about the gospel. How we treat others with our words- do they give life or death and how we listen to the other, how we respond. The gospel is about the response to those words . This is what makes this a fantastic text on communication, because it is not well for just our marriage but any relationship we have. Is it God glorifying or is it about elevation of self.

Highly recommend.

A Special Thank you to New Growth Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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Whether you see your marriage as healthy or struggling, you'll find a balance of biblical wisdom and practical tools for better communication in Rob Flood's book, With These Words.  Can I just say that I found this book extremely hopeful, encouraging, and exciting!  Honestly, the tools are simple, but that doesn't mean they're easy.  We're talking things like the tool of first response and the tool of mirroring.  You'll read about these tools and think, "Duh, I should have thought about that."  But while the principles themselves are not overly complication, that doesn't mean these tools are easy to use.  It will take intention and focus to put these tools to use every day.  But that's part of the beauty of With These Words.  Flood doesn't just give you the biblical background.  He doensn't just give you tools.  He actually takes time to show you HOW these might play out in some typcial marital conflicts or situations.

Practical, helpful, useful.  tha'ts how I'd describe With These Words by Rob Flood.  You'll learn how to take resonsiblity for your words and how to use them wisely.  You won't regret buying a copy of this book.  Read it prayerfully, take it seriously, and practice it intentionally.  You WILL see results.  Honestly, you can't change your partner.  You an only be responsible for yourself.  But as you cooperate with the Holy Spirit and begin to communicate and respond differently to your spouse, your spouse will likely respond differently to you and change will be effected.

For those of you who want to know a little more about the book, Section 1, Truth for Communication, leads readers to dig into God's Word to learn more about communication.  Flood discusses the fact that what comes out of our mouths is simply a reflection of our hearts, and he also addresses the purpose of communication, principles of communication, wise and foolish words, and taming the tonegue.

From there, Flood moves on to Section 2, Tools for Communication where it gets practical.  He offers five specific tools that, practiced faithfully, will make a difference in their marital relationship--including the tools of first response and mirroring.  Just in caser readers are left thinking, "that's a great tool, but how does it work in the real world," Flood provides some scenarios to show how these tools might play out in various types of marital conflicts or situations.  That's in Section 3, Working It Out.

Again, I can't recommend this book highly enough.  And, while Flood specifically targets communication in marriage, it's true that these are principles that can be applied in most relationships.  With These Words is one book I'll be referencing over and over again as I try to become a better communicator.  And, it's a book I'll probably be giving as a gift to others.

Note:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.  However, the opinions expressed are my own.
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Some books come our way that have a potential to change the way we live. “With These Words” by Rob Flood is one such book! In it, the author presents five communication tools that could help change the way we see and interact with our spouse. What a deeply convicting book this is!

Rob begins by laying a solid foundation from Scripture, followed by insightful practical applications. The first three and last three chapters look to various Bible passages to teach us valuable principles of communication for our marriages. These chapters also look to the lives of the Butlers, Wilsons and Joneses who often struggle with communication in their marriages and how, with proper use of the tools can develop healthy communication patterns in their marriages. The middle section covers the five communication tools: the tool of first response, the tool of prayer, the tool of physical touch, the tool of mirroring and the tool of proper timing. This middle section is loaded with such valuable practical insights!

In chapter 1, Rob looks to 1 Peter 4:11 and Ephesians 4:29 to lay down four principles that function as user instructions for our communication. The four principles are as follows: 1) We should speak so people encounter God. 2) We should build up with our words and not tear down. 3) We should speak in a way that fits the occasion and 4) We should give grace to others through our words. He reminds us that corrupting words are words that tear down. We should instead use our words to build up. In summary, they must be used to serve others, not ourselves! In chapter 2, Rob looks to the outcome of folly from Proverbs 10 and 18 (which is ruin). A spouse who continues in folly brings ruin to the marriage! Rob also shows us that our words reveal something deeper within us -  our heart motivations! He gives us four categories of folly from Proverbs 18 that provide a lens through which to look at our marriage and ourselves: 1) Fools do not seek understanding (vs 2). 2) Fools rush to judgment (vs 13). 3) Fools look for a fight (vs 6-7) and 4) Fools sow discord (vs 8). He reminds us that hope for the fool is found in Jesus (see Romans 8). Realizing our folly is often the beginning of grace. The real danger is in staying a fool! These two chapters are pure gold! Chapter 3 points to our fruitless efforts to tame the tongue. Our tongues are a problem (and we must embrace that fact) - we use it to both bless and curse, we use it for good as well as evil, to encourage as well as manipulate, to build up as well as tear down. It boasts of great control and influence over us. And there is no taming it! But when God conquers a husband and wife, he conquers their hearts, minds and tongues! Our only hope is Christ. We stand and fight in the great power of our divine advocate (Ephesians 2:4-7). Rob then points to four kinds of work to deal with the problem of the tongue: 1) Devotional work. 2) Proactive work. 3) Repenting work and 4) Community work. Again, brilliant insights from God’s Word!

In chapter 4, Rob brings into focus the first tool – the tool of first response. He says "The course of a conflict is determined by the person who responds, not the one who initiates." Now, that statement was an eye-opener for me! From the gospels, he shows us that those who schemed against Jesus failed time and again because the power to decide the direction of each conflict rested with Jesus. We too are to respond redemptively, even when the initial reaction taken toward us is ungodly - how difficult is that! The other person's sin does not give us free license to sin in return. We respond redemptively because that is how God has acted toward us - in grace! Chapter 5 reminds us of the tool of prayer and how it must be an ongoing lifestyle for every believing couple. He also reminds us to pray as a couple, for our daily communication, at all times and especially when it gets tough. Chapter 6 focuses on the tool of physical touch with the thoughtful question, "Have you ever noticed how hard it is to grow in anger toward someone whom you are touching affectionately?" This tool especially helps in 3 different situations: 1) When you are preparing for challenging conversations. 2) When communication suddenly becomes tense and 3) When you are recovering from a failed attempt at healthy conversation. Chapter 7 looks at the helpful tool of mirroring. In Rob’s words, "Mirroring means one person repeats in their own words what they understand the other to be saying." The surprising result of the tool is that it will help better understand the intention behind our spouse's words. Chapter 8 looks at the final and important tool of proper timing. He urges us to study the rhythms and normal routines of our lives, especially these four occasions: 1) Times of chaos. 2) Times of fatigue. 3) Times of charged emotion and 4) Times of vulnerability.

The concluding chapters look at key passages from Scripture on forgiveness, grace and compassion. Rob asks, “How do you now trust someone whose words have been so harsh and unloving?” Forgiveness, he suggests, is the remedy for brokenness in our marriages. Why should we forgive? Because Jesus calls us to do it and because Jesus forgave. He points to Matthew 18, especially the story of the unmerciful servant in verses 23-35. Jesus is making the point that how we forgive others flows out of how we've been forgiven by God. We are supposed to forgive others because God has forgiven us! The final chapter looks at the anatomy of mercy from Colossians 3. In order for mercy to exist, Rob says there must be the offender (the one who sins against someone) and the offended (the one who is sinned against). The offended can then either bring the final ingredient of anger, self-pity or compassion. Here are the three equations he concludes with: 1) Offender + Offended + Anger = Revenge. 2) Offender + Offended + Self-pity = Victim. 3) Offender + Offended + Compassion = Mercy. The fundamental problem with both anger and self-pity, he suggests, is that they reflect a self-focus rather than a Christ-focus (we look to the mirror instead of the cross). If we look rather to Christ instead, we see that we have received so much mercy and so we are willing to give it to others, especially our spouse. Colossians 3:12 teaches us that we (as God's chosen and dearly loved ones) are called to compassionate hearts. This means that we see each offense and each weakness as an opportunity for compassion! Tremendous insights! And brilliant exposition and application of God’s Word!

What a thought-provoking and insightful book this is! Who doesn’t have room to grow in their communication, especially in marriage? Our words are important, and we need to learn God’s standard if we are to live in a manner worthy of our calling! Rob flood succeeds admirably in this book, showing us God’s way and His standard. I rate this book very highly and commend it for the good of your soul. May God use our tongues to build up our marriage partners! 

*I thank Net Galley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review*
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