While reading Eddie and Dawn Leopard's Home Base Marriage, one experiences the feeling not of reading an advice book, but of enjoying a conversation around the table after a pleasant meal.
It's a conversation laced with laughter, tears and real-life stories, marked by honesty and openness from a couple who admit that theirs has been an "unconventional" pastor's family. Home Base Marriage also includes sections written by the Leopards' grown children and their spouses.
"God has graced us more than we deserve and redeemed so many decisions we made that could have taken us under," said Dawn. "We are far from perfect, but we serve a perfect God. He has taken so many of our blunders and made them beautiful, as only He could do."
The book begins and concludes with a prayer that Eddie, a pastor, prays at every wedding ceremony he performs, in which he asks God, "when life is done and the sun is setting," that the couple will be found "hand in hand, still thanking God for each other."
"The truth is," he added, "I do not care how romantic or faithful you are, if Jesus is not the foundation of your marriage, it will never be all that God intends for it to be."
And that's the recipe for Home Base Marriage - combining biblical teaching with practical advice and the writers' own (sometimes humorous) life experiences to help guide others in building a solid, fulfilling and mutually supportive life with their spouse.
The authors' transparency shines through as they take on such topics as family finances; sexual intimacy; learning to speak each other's "love languages"; how (and how not) to argue; real communication; dealing with challenges like illness, substance abuse, or pornography; work; raising kids; caring for aging parents; and adjusting to the empty nest.
"We have worked hard, and are still working, to have a healthy marriage," said Eddie. "And now we try to give back, whether by sharing what we did that worked or did not work, moments of success, or times of blowing it. And that is what this book is about."
Added Dawn: "Hopefully, when you read the last page, you will feel like you know us better, as it is our desire to be transparent on each page. Every story is different. Your marriage does not have to look like ours. How boring would the world be if we were all the same?"
Eddie, a former president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, is lead pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Greer. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, where he played football and baseball. He holds advanced degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Trinity Theological Seminary.
Dawn, who holds an associate degree from Southeastern Seminary, has spent most of her shared ministry with Eddie serving students and women. She owns her own essential oils business with Young Living and enjoys helping others with their wellness journey.
The Leopards, who have been married for 36 years, lead a group of young couples, and they mentor vocational ministry couples.
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