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Making Marriage a Tie That Binds

June 15, 1989|ROSELLE M. LEWIS

Caring and Commitment: Learning to Live the Love We Promise by Lewis B. Smedes (Harper & Row: $14.95).

More than 4 million American couples take wedding vows each year, but only about half will keep their commitments. Can these marriages be saved? Indeed, most can, according to Lewis B. Smedes, a Southern California theologian and author of the inspirational book, "Forgive and Forget."

A lasting marriage is based on loyalty, sharing, listening with fine attention and the kind of commitment that transcends physical change and illness, says Smedes.

Though in some extreme cases he leaves the door open for marital dissolution, Smedes views marriage as the most important promise we make in our lives.

To illustrate his thesis that marriage is a bond, not bondage, Smedes uses numerous graceful and apt literary and philosophical quotations. One from "Married People" by Francine Brun sums matters up: "People who stay happily married see themselves not as victims, but as free agents who make choices in life."

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