On the shelf of your church's bookstore, Are You Waiting for 'The One'? (InterVarsity), by Dwight N. and Margaret Kim Peterson, might look like any other Christian book on dating and marriage. Look a little harder.

The new book, subtitled "Cultivating Realistic, Positive Expectations for Christian Marriage," is refreshingly different, captured in those two words realistic and positive. Instead of hard-and-fast statements about the One Best Biblical Way to Do Relationships, the Petersons offer a gentle, reasoned approach that allows room for Christian singles and couples to discover, within the context of faith, what works best in their own unique relationships.

The couple says the book was born out of a course they've taught for years at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. And they say the course has been as much of an education for them as for their students.

"Neither of us was really familiar with the large collection of Christian marriage literature out there," Dwight, a professor of New Testament at Eastern, recently told me. When students started bringing in popular Christian relationship books for the couple to look at, "we were sort of …"

"Aghast," supplies Margaret, an associate professor of theology. "Disappointed," Dwight adds, "at their lack of depth and wisdom." Many of the books, written by young Christian leaders who knew firsthand the contours of the current dating scene, tended to apply a "black and white, there must be an answer to everything" mindset that can lead to problems down the road, says Margaret.

The Petersons were inspired to write a book of their own, one that goes beyond the rigid gender roles that don't always work as well as they are supposed to. "Some of [our students have] ...

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