Laying a Solid Foundation



Book 1 of “Marriage by the Book”

Experience the joyful marriage God intends. Discover what it means to be “one flesh.” Understand how to apologize without making things worse. Learn how to primarily focus on changes you should make instead of focusing on your spouse’’s faults.

This practical Bible-based book is part of Doug Britton’s eight-book “Marriage by the Book” series. It can be read on its own or as part of the series.

Doug Britton, M.Ed., MFT. LifeTree Books. Paperback: 5½ x 8½. Wire “spiral” binding. 176 pages.


Choose a book cover from the multicultural cover set or the African-American cover set. (The inside pages are identical.)


Click here for Table of Contents



1   Realize You Are “One Flesh”

2   Focus on Changes You Should Make

3   Throw Yourself into Your Marriage

4   Commit to Your Marriage

5   Forgive Your Spouse

6   Apologize and Ask for Forgiveness

My Plan

Looking Ahead


Small Group Leader’s Guide

Tips for Leaders

Step-by-Step Meeting Plan

Discussion Questions


If you wish for a deeper and more satisfying marriage, there is hope

Why are many people disappointed in their marriage? After all, most marriages start out with two people who are certain they will have a wonderful marriage. However, as the years go by, many never experience the passionate, joyful marriage they expected.

After helping hundreds of thousands of families, Doug Britton, a Marriage and Family Therapist, radio co-host, seminar speaker, and Bible teacher, explains a key reason for marriage problems. He writes that most couples don’t know how to create a Bible-based marriage.

Thousands of years ago, the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). That statement is true of marriages today. That’s why Laying a Solid Foundation is so important. It helps couples build their marriage on the word of God, not on our culture’s ever-changing ideas.

Laying a Solid Foundation enriches strong marriages and strengthens hurting marriages. Regardless of your situation, there is hope — the sure hope that comes from God’s word, the Bible.


Every marriage is a work in progress

Are all marriages in trouble? Of course not, but every marriage is a work in progress. You may be looking for a minor tuneup to make a good marriage better. On the other hand, you may need a major overhaul. Whatever your situation, the Bible-based guidelines in this book will transform your marriage.


In these pages, you will learn —

  • What it means to be “one flesh”
  • Common reasons Christians have marriage problems
  • Why self-confrontation is key to creating a great marriage
  • The most important thing to focus on to create a great marriage
  • The most important thing not to focus on for a great marriage
  • Compelling reasons for committing to your marriage
  • Why divorce is almost always a bad idea
  • How to apologize without making things worse
  • How to forgive your spouse
  • The importance of enthusiasm

As you study, you will read the stories of many couples. Even if it’’s hard to imagine going through some of their trials, their stories will help you in your day-to-day life, and they will prepare you for possible challenges you may face down the road.


This book is biblical, practical, and easy to read

“Make it personal” questions are scattered throughout Laying a Solif Foundation to help you apply its Bible-based advice in your marriage. It is comprehensive, yet reader-friendly.

Memory verses invite action. Each chapter begins with a memory verse, since memorizing God’s word changes our hearts and helps us follow his ways.


It is ideal for individuals, couples, and small groups

You can read Laying a Solid Foundation on your own, with your spouse, or in a small group. It is perfect for a six-week study.

Guidelines for small group leaders and discussion questions for each chapter can be found at the back of the book. (Read more about using this book in a small group or church marriage ministry.)


This book is part of the “Marriage by the Book” series

You can study Laying a Solid Foundation on its own. In addition, you may be interested in the other books in the “Marriage by the Book” series. Although these books bulid on each other, each book stands as a complete book by itself.

The eight books are —

  1. Laying a Solid Foundation
  2. Making Christ the Cornerstone
  3. Encouraging Your Spouse
  4. Extending Grace to Your Mate
  5. Talking with Respect and Love
  6. Improving Your Teamwork
  7. Putting Money in its Place
  8. Celebrating Intimacy and Romance



In this book you will learn how to live according to God’s Word. When you read it, you will discover it is:

Bible-based. This book is solidly Bible-based, with every chapter showing how to apply the Bible’s truths in your life.

Cross-cultural. Since the guidelines in this book are based on God’s Word, they apply to every group and culture.

Practical. Readers are given clear, practical steps they can take.

Reader-friendly. Many techniques — from a simple, straightforward writing style to breaking the text into small, easily digested portions — make the books easy to read.

Comprehensive. Numerous questions and dilemmas are anticipated — and answered.

Interactive. Personal application questions throughout the books get readers involved.

Action-oriented. Readers write action plans as they go through each chapter.

“Three-in-one” — great for small group studies.This book has all the information you would expect to find in three separate books:

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


This book was written by Doug Britton, MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist). Doug, President of LifeTree Institute, has been a Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist for over thirty years.

Doug has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio-co-host, and author of over twenty books that show people how to apply God’s truths in their daily lives.

He has also trained counselors, small group leaders, pastors, and mentors, showing them how to share practical, effective ways to apply the Word of God in all areas of life.

Doug has a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology and has edited and published three professional publications. His wife Skeeter has been a homemaker, landscape designer, journalist and novelist. She also has taught marriage and parenting workshops, and holds degrees in English and Landscape Architecture.

Doug draws from his counseling experience and his own struggles and victories when he writes.

More importantly, he draws from the Word of God, offering readers Bible-based, practical, cross-cultural tools, insights, and guidelines they can use in their daily lives.

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