Marriage, Faith and Love, by Jack Dominian (Darton, Longman and Todd, £7.50).
MARRIAGE is an institution which appears to be increasingly at risk of devaluation in our society, even among practising Christians, Yet never has the married relationship been better understood, never hal there been such opportunity of achieving successful marital union at every level on which the married partners must meet — physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual.
In his latest book on the subject, Dr Jack Dominian, senior consultant psychiatrist at the Central Middlesex Hospital, explores the potential of Christian marriage in the context of today's society with his customary sensitivity and insight.
Dr Dominian deals with the three essential elements without which the marriage has little chance of survival: sustaining, healing and growth.
He emphasises the necessity for permanence in the relationship. which ensures continuity, reliability and predictability, and then goes on to deal with the sexual aspect of the relationship.
Dr Dominian describes the uniqueness of Christian marriage as being the Interaction between nature and Faith', and insists that the married couple need continuous pastoral support not only when making preparations for marriage, but also at the various stages through which a marriage must pass.
His view of the marital relationship is dynamic and exciting. He warns of the pitfalls and points to the happiness which can be achieved by partners who are willing to work towards that unity which constitutes ideal marriage.
The breakdown of between one in our to one in three marriages. he points out, is a "sombre reminder that love does not persist" in many cases.
It is only if the love of husband and wife mirrors that of Christ for the Church, and that of the Trinity, that marriage achieves its real potential.
He concludes by reminding us that "in marriage, and particularly sacramental marriage, God has placed in our hands one of the principal means of developing relationships of love which prepare us for our eternal state".