Elder Christensen includes in his book, One Step at a Time many helpful insights which can benefit those who are beginning on the road to marriage and family life, or those who are looking for ways to make some positive changes to their marriage, family, or self.

Elder Christensen focuses on keeping the Lord as the foundation of the marriage, listening to one another to have effective communication, keeping courtship alive and being quick to say “I’m sorry”. He discusses how these simple things can make a world of difference in a marriage relationship and how they can keep the fires of love burning in the hearts of husbands and wives.

The section on building better marriages ends with a discussion on living within ones means and being a true partner in home and family responsibilities. Elder Christensen discusses how avoiding the pitfalls of debt can save marriages and families. He also focuses on the importance of husbands and wives being “true partners” in marriage and family responsibilities and how this can serve to strengthen and build better marriages.

In the quest for building better families Elder Christensen focuses on the need to create an environment within the home where spiritual experiences can occur. If the spirit can be felt within the walls of the home then children will learn to recognize it and avoid those things which would drive it away and put them in spiritual danger. Another crucial element in the home, which is to be a fortress against the evils of the world, is the presence of mother. Elder Christensen recognizes that this is not always possible, but he urges parents to do everything within their power to ensure that the children have their mother in the home with them.

Lastly, Elder Christensen focuses on how to build a better you. He points out that our Savior is the perfect example of what an individual should become and he encourages all to strive to become like Him. Elder Christensen shares the scripture “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) as a pattern that all can follow in trying to become like Christ.

This book helps readers to understand how the key to strengthening a family lies first within improving oneself and then focusing on the marriage and family relationships. As family members we are all connected and affected by the actions and experiences of others, and if we are all striving to be the best we can possibly be, then as a family we are sure to have happiness and success.

Christensen, Joe J. (1996). One Step at a Time: Building a Better Marriage, Family, and You. Utah: Deseret Book Company.


2005 Before Forever - School of Family Life

Brigham Young University