Extending Grace to Your Mate

Doug Britton, M.Ed., MFT


Book 4 of “Marriage by the Book
This practical, biblical book is for every kind of marriage—old to young, great to not-so-great. Based on Doug Britton’s experience counseling approximately 1,000 married couples, it will help you:

  • Forbear and forgive when appropriate.
  • Confront or set boundaries when appropriate.
  • Appreciate the weird ways your spouse does things.
  • Handle disappointments wisely.
  • Escape the trap of self-pity.
  • Overcome bitterness and anger.

Doug Britton, M.Ed., MFT. LifeTree Books. Paperback: 5½ x 8½. Wire “spiral” binding. 160 pages.


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Part of the “Marriage by the Book” Series

Many couples and small groups read all eight books. However, each book also stands complete by itself. Click on the following links to read about each book:

Book 1:
Laying a Solid Foundation

  • Overcome common marriage problems
  • Learn marriage-building exercises
  • Apologize without groveling
  • Forgive without holding a grudge

Book 2:
Making Christ the Cornerstone

  • Find ways to make room for Jesus in your daily lives
  • Pray as a couple
  • Learn how your spiritual gifts can work together
  • Strengthen your personal walk with Christ

Book 3:
Encouraging Your Spouse

  • Figure out what matters to your spouse
  • Serve your mate without being a doormat
  • Show respect even if you don’t feel like it
  • Choose to love your mate

Book 4:
Extending Grace to Your Mate

  • Appreciate your spouse’s weird habits
  • Resolve conflicts as friends
  • Handle disappointments wisely
  • Overcome bitterness and anger

Book 5:
Talking with Respect and Love

  • Talk about problems without fighting
  • Replace silence with words that matter
  • Listen to your spouse’s heart
  • Avoid misinterpreting your spouse

Book 6:
Improving Your Teamwork

  • Understand what “submission” means (and doesn’t mean)
  • Make decisions as a team
  • Practice mutual submission
  • Overcome problems in your teamwork

Book 7:
Putting Money in its Place

  • Make financial decisions as a team
  • Get out of debt (and stay out of debt)
  • Make a budget or spending plan
  • Give generously

Book 8:
Celebrating Intimacy and Romance

  • Learn the difference between “making love” and “having sex”
  • Find freedom from anything that stops you from enjoying sex
  • Overcome your sexual sins (past or present)
  • Find healing from rape and sexual abuse

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Save time — Order all eight books in the “Marriage by the Book” series as a bundle!


Doug Britton’s humbleness and sincere love for people allowed God to use him to transcend cultural and racial differences with biblically based writings that truly blessed our congregation. Doug’s gifted insight and real-life experiences expressed in his writings have and continue to assist couples in our congregation to discover the principles for a successful marriage and a healthy family.”

Isaac Cotton
Pastor, St. Jude Christian Tabernacle (Sacramento, CA)

“There are thousands of marriage books, but so many of them draw upon humanistic ideas instead of the Bible, or they aren’t practical. ‘Marriage by the Book’ stands in a class of its own. These are without question the most practical marriage books I have ever seen.”

Rick Cole
Senior Pastor, Capital Christian Center (Sacramento, CA)

“What’s the greatest gift a couple can give its children? The example of a great marriage. I have seen numerous marriages improve by leaps and bounds as people studied ‘Marriage by the Book’! I love its Bible-based step-by-step approach to making giant changes. I highly recommend these practical books.”

Earl Radford
Board Member and Children’s Pastor, International Network of Children’s Ministries

“We have been very pleased using the ‘Marriage by the Book’ series in our marriage class at church. There is always plenty of information to cover, and we receive great input into our group discussions. One couple in particular came with major problems in their marriage. They have now made big improvements and are on the way to making their marriage work. We believe marriages need all the support they can get in this day and age so that we can be an example to the world, and this series helps provide that.”

Frank & Sharon Bassett
Small Group Leaders, Redeeming Love Church, (Maplewood, MN)

What is “Marriage by the Book?”

Extending Grace to Your Mate is book 4 of the eight-book “Marriage by the Book” series.

This eight-book series covers every aspect of marriage. Each book covers a different topic. Although the books are part of a series and build on one another, each book can be studied on its own.

Each book is written by author, speaker, and Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist Doug Britton.

This book works as three-in-one:

  • Book — with practical, Bible-based real-life information.
  • Workbook — with quizzes and “Make it personal” questions scattered throughout each chapter.
  • Small group leader’s guide — with guidelines for small group leaders and chapter-by-chapter discussion questions at the back of each book.

How will reading “Extending Grace to Your Mate” help us change?
This book doesn’t just tell you what to do. It shows you how to do it, with:

  • Self-assessment quizzes to identify reasons for problems
  • “Make it personal” questions throughout the book (with space to write your answers) that help you apply the lessons
  • Exercises you and your spouse can do together
  • Personal plans to help you grow in six key areas of your marriage

Is “Extending Grace to Your Mate” only for troubled marriages?
Nope. It is for every kind of marriage, great to not-so-great. Whatever your situation, you will find practical insights and tools that will help your marriage flourish and grow.

Is this book for new marriages or long-time marriages?
Its practical, Bible-based advice will strengthen and bless your marriage, whether you are newlyweds or you have been married for decades.

Is this book cross-cultural?
Yes. Since it is based on the Bible, its truths apply to every racial and ethnic group. When you place your order, you can choose a multicultural cover or an African-American cover.

Can we use this marriage book for a small group study?
Yes. Extending Grace to Your Mate includes a small group leader’s guide with:

  • Tips for leaders
  • Step-by-step meeting plan
  • Discussion questions for each chapter

What are some topics covered in “Extending Grace to Your Mate”?
In these pages you will discover many Bible-based insights and practical tools. A few examples:

  • When forbearance and forgiveness are appropriate
  • When confrontation and boundaries are appropriate
  • How to help your spouse in difficult times
  • How to appreciate the weird ways your spouse does things
  • What to do when you are disappointed with your spouse
  • How to know if you are asking too much of your mate
  • How to escape a pity party
  • What to do when you are angry

What if my spouse won’t read this book with me?
It’s ideal if you both read this book. However, if your spouse doesn’t want to join you, don’t say, “I’ll read it, but only if you will.” Instead, learn how to be the best husband or wife possible. God can perform miracles in your personal life—and in your marriage—even if you study on your own.

Is this a good book for pre-marriage mentoring?
Yes. It covers the most important truths couples need to know at the beginning of their journey together.

Why do so many marriages have problems?
That’s a great question. After all, most marriages start out with two people who are certain they can craft a wonderful union. Yet as the years go by, many never experience the passionate, joyful life they expected. After helping approximately 1,000 marriages, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist Doug Britton says a key reason is that most people do not know the Bible’s instructions about how to create a great Christian marriage—or they don’t know how to apply the instructions.

Why do readers say they like “Extending Grace to Your Mate”?

  • It is practical, cross-cultural, and Bible-based.
  • Text is broken into small, easily-digested portions.
  • Points are clearly identified with headings, bullets, and check boxes.
  • The writing style is direct and straight-forward.
  • Real-life stories and examples illustrate key points.
  • “Make it personal” questions help couples apply the lessons.
  • Each chapter is summarized at the end of the chapter.
  • Wire binding makes it easy to write in the book.

Digging deeper
How do you respond when the person who seemed so perfect when you were first married turns out to have habits that bother you? When the person who seemed to be an ideal Christian has imperfections? How do boundaries, forbearance, and forgiveness work in marriage?

What do you say when your spouse lets the car run out of gas or doesn’t remember your birthday? Or how do you deal with it when your husband or wife spends too much, talks with a mouth full of food, or interrupts when you are talking?

In this cross-cultural, Bible-based book, Doug Britton writes about a woman who was deeply disappointed with her marriage. When she and her husband were engaged, they had wonderful talks long into the night, right up to the day of their wedding. Then they married, and the talks stopped. To her horror, he retreated into the living room night after night to watch TV. Their intimate talks were replaced by replays of TV sitcoms.

He also writes about a man facing a different type of disappointment in this Bible-based marriage book. When Frank and his wife dated, he was amazed that such a beautiful woman would love him. He imagined the sensuous love life they would have, but once they married, she seemed more interested in talking with friends on the phone, or in cleaning the house, than in making love.

Solomon described the pain of unfulfilled expectations and dreams when he wrote, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).

Each day of marriage can bring another crushed dream and more frustration, anger, bitterness, depression, or self-pity. The Bible is full of stories of unhappy marriages.

You too may face the pain of unmet expectations in your marriage. You may be dealing with major disappointments with your husband or wife. Or you may be handling minor frustrations or annoyances. Whatever your situation, take heart. You are not doomed to become a resentful, suffering martyr. The Bible provides solutions, and God offers us understanding and grace. Extending Grace to Your Mate will help you apply the truths of the Bible to your heart and in your marriage.

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