“One purpose of marriage is to develop a strong partnership in doing God’s will together as a couple and family. This involves enjoying His blessings, enduring hardships, and obeying Him in small things and the routines of everyday life. We are so grateful for Mike and Anne’s life and ministry at the International House of Prayer. Many lives have been changed by it.” (From the Foreword to “Vertical Marriage.”)
Gary Thomas – Author, Sacred Marriage and The Sacred Search
“Vertical Marriage is a weighty (I mean that in the best sense of the word), no-holds-barred approach to get your marriage started on the right spiritual footing. Wise and spiritually penetrating, this book is an ideal way to spiritually test your relationship and understand its biblical foundation. As an added treat, it also offers much practical, real-world advice to help you on the journey toward marital intimacy in all aspects. Highly recommended, especially for serious believers.”
Sara Hagerty – Author, “Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed.”
“There is a great difference between a marriage that ‘gets by’ — and one that is lived in light of eternity. Mike and Anne Rizzo lift our vision here, with Vertical Marriage. Their own marriage is a testimony, and this book offers the reader a powerful blueprint for a beautiful union that will help any couple, young or old, to revive their perspective on deep partnership and worship.”
Bob Sorge – Author, Secrets of the Secret Place
“Wisdom has been defined as the ability to live life skillfully. In this book, Mike and Anne have crafted a tremendous tool to help you navigate your courtship skillfully. Their wisdom will prepare you for a loving marriage filled with joy and hope—with Jesus at the center. I recommend this one highly!”
Andy Byrd – YWAM Kona
“It is an honor to recommend this amazing resource! In a time of great confusion and unnecessary complexities this book draws a distinct arrow to the heart of Jesus and truth of the Bible! We ought to believe day and night for a restoration of families to their intended design… and yet know it starts with each one of us!”
Misty Edwards – Worship Leader and songwriter
“I am captivated by eternity and fixated on living a life that will bear eternal fruit, so I’ve reached to live before the One who will evaluate my life in the end. As Mike and Anne Rizzo share in Vertical Marriage, “The hour in which we live is not a time to cast off restraint or focus on the temporal; it’s a time for husbands and wives to contend for fresh, eternal vision in their marriages.” If you are considering marriage, never let go of the highest vision — living for the audience of One. This book will give you tools to love Him and to grow in love for one another.”
Justin Rizzo – Worship Leader and songwriter
“I believe that one of the wisest things an engaged couple can do is give themselves to a time of preparation before their wedding day. This manual contains not only the practical points of preparation, but will also challenge you to lay the spiritual bedrock foundation of your marriage before you say ‘I do.'”
Vertical Marriage endorsed by Allen Hood at Onething Conference
“I like riding motorcycles and shooting guns, so I was apprehensive about meeting with some people to talk about feelings and emotional expectations. My guard was quickly lowered as I realized that the Rizzo’s were full of practical wisdom and didn’t overwhelm me with poems and perfume. They had a very realistic approach to romance and sexuality that didn’t take anything away from the excitement of being in love, but also helped us maintain ‘real life’ expectations. It has been almost exactly a year since my wife and I sat with Mike and Anne, and we can clearly look back on specific times that we have purposefully put their teachings into practice. I truly believe that our sessions have helped to enrich our marriage!”
-Jim & Natalie
“It is foolish to get married without first doing premarital counseling. It would also be foolish to not get the manual currently in your hand. Mike and Anne have a great wealth of wisdom and knowledge when it comes to relationships, and they helped my wife and I realize the deep significance of the commitment we were making to each other when we got married. We absolutely love them, and you will too.”
-Eric & Erin
“Through this book, Mike and Anne are joining your team in your fight for love. My husband and I have found the Rizzos’ experience and knowledge completely priceless, and I can’t recommend them highly enough!”
-Lauren & Mitch
“My husband and I really enjoyed our time with the Rizzo’s. They were very insightful and could relate to any issues my fiance and I brought up during our sessions. I never felt judged and they always made us feel understood. Premarital counseling helped us look at and process our relationship, as well as our own personal values, before issues came up in our marriage.”
-Matt & Leah
“We’ve been married for over two years. Premarital counseling with Mike and Anne helped us to avoid any surprises after the wedding. We had a safe environment to discuss our expectations and work out differences. This was the best investment we could make for starting our marriage on the right footing.”
-Eric & Taneisha
“Mike and Anne are seasoned counselors and friends of the Lord. Premarital counseling was a joy with them, even as we walked through some tough places of the heart. They painted a much-needed, biblical perspective on marriage in light of eternity and our callings to love God first.”
-Carl & Ailene
“My wife and I were so glad we did premarital counseling with the Rizzo’s. Our time with them pinpointed areas of weakness and gave us some tools to grow: like resolving conflict and defining the roles in our relationship. Because of these conversations, we went into marriage empowered to move forward as a team.”
-Brian & Joannie
“Mike and Anne Rizzo were a well of deep wisdom to drink from as we made huge decisions that greatly impacted our future. They were able to read deeply into our hearts and tell us things that we were thinking and feeling but couldn’t really articulate. Their advice has stuck with us, making our marriage stable and strong, and is still shaping the way we live day by day three years later.”
-Nate & Kate
5.0 out of 5 starsFantastic!
Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2023
I could not more highly recommend Vertical Marriage to couples both starting the premarital journey and to those further down the road. My husband and I had the opportunity to go through this book just a few months before we tied the knot and we still refer back to its lessons and takeaways often. The lesson material found within Vertical Marriage helped to strengthen our relationship as a couple and gave us tools for conversation, conflict, finances and much more. Mike and Anne’s personal anecdotes and reflections from many years in marriage together proved to be incredibly insightful and encouraging; we are so grateful for their testimony and discipleship of us in the beginnings of our journey into marriage!
5.0 out of 5 starsMust read for dating couples
Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2023
I really enjoy reading this book! It helps a lot for me to prepare myself to get into the marriage. I especially love the questions that listed at the end of the book, it’s a practical way to help couples grow in their intimacy. Mike and Anne share their stories openly and sincerely. I recommend every couple read this book!!
5.0 out of 5 starsBefore or During Marriage
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2023
At the time of our engagement, my fiancée and I were relatively new to a serious relationship status. We both wanted help on how to have the “must have” conversations, establish healthy foundations, and how to maintain spiritual growth. Finding Vertical Marriage did exactly that! Mike and Anne also do an amazing job at bringing into perspective both sexes perspectives, tendencies, and gifts. What we gained from this book was so helpful before our wedding and has definitely strengthened us into our marriage. We couldn’t recommend it enough!
Steven Trey Sluder
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book! Extremely helpful tool to better your relationship before marriage.
Reviewed in the United States on June 19, 2023
Vertical marriage is an extremely helpful book with deep insight to relationships and how to begin to have a vertical marriage of both spouses looking to God instead of just each other. We all fall short but God never does. By bringing him into our relationships we can begin to learn what unconditional love really is and begin to practice it. This book will take you into the depths of the deep questions to see if you are ready to make the commitment and covenant before God that is marriage.
5.0 out of 5 starsContent For An Amazing Marriage Foundation
Reviewed in the United States on June 30, 2022
Everyone who is in a committed relationship or wants to be in one needs to read this book (if reading is not your thing they have a video course too)!!! This content is a sacred space that facilitates deeper thinking and deeper communication to explore compatibility and deepen knowledge of yourself and one another. Spiritual/theological, emotional/ psychological, and practical; just read the Table of Contents and you’ll see for yourself the breadth of the content in Vertical Marriage. I’ve read this book, received personal mentoring through the Vertical Marriage course (with my fiancé), and gifted this book to many engaged and married couples.
5.0 out of 5 starsTen years into marriage we found this life-giving and essential
Reviewed in the United States on July 9, 2021
While my husband and I received limited marriage counseling before we married, we soon realized that we could have benefited from MUCH more. We were blessed to receive Vertical Marriage 10 years in! Mike and Ann have a thorough approach to laying a foundation for covenant, roles, conflict, finances, sex…that helps a couple engage in conversation that not only needs to happen before marriage, but THROUGHOUT marriage.
As a wife I loved Anne’s input about the science behind “feelings of love” that can wane over time, which is important to understand amidst a culture heavily influenced by romantic literature.
We know the content and questions posed in this book will be revisited again and again over the years because we want to build a long, lasting marriage, and everything discussed in this book helps guide a couple to do just that.
The appendix also has great insights about birth control, which is a topic a couple should really be informed about.
Christie Ann Simon
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat resource for engaged and married couples alike
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2021
This book is a must-read for engaged or young married couples who want to have a marriage dedicated to a life in Christ! It is full of practical advice, Biblically-based wisdom, as well as scientific evidence aimed at helping couples understand each other’s needs better. If you’ve ever wanted a several-hour long coffee date with a seasoned couple to pick their brains about all things marriage- this book is the next best thing. I have several friends in mind I plan to gift this to as an engagement present.
Goodreads Review – Feb. 21, 2021 – Carolyn Ehman
Vertical Marriage by Mike and Anne Rizzo is a God-centered book designed to help grow your marriage in light of eternity. Each of the chapters include both beautiful theology and practical steps in growing closer to God through marriage. I love their personal anecdotes and vulnerable sharing of their lives and hearts with their readers. Mike and Anne are wonderful people whose mentoring is highly valuable. It is such a gift to capture some of their well-earned wisdom from their years of marriage and ministry in book form! Reading Vertical Marriage is like getting a heart to heart conversation from two veterans in the faith and in upholding the covenant of marriage which ultimately points to our eternal covenant with Christ the Bridegroom King. A must-read for anyone preparing for marriage or already in the beautiful throes of living out a holy covenant together!
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Tool
Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2020
Nathan Ventura, Verified Purchase
This book is great for couples before marriage, or couples like us trying to play catch-up once they are already married, to set a solid foundation for marriage. The book walks you through simple ways to cultivate a healthy vertical relationship with God which, in turn, strengthens your relationship with your spouse. Highly recommend.
5.0 out of 5 starsAmazing Book for Premarital Preparation
MBrown, Verified Purchase
As a young couple with so many Christian marriage books to choose from, my fiancé and I took great care in determining which materials to focus on to guide us in building a solid foundation in our relationship. This book was absolutely perfect for us! Mike and Anne share a heart for the Lord that spills over into a fiercely loving and deeply committed relationship and it shows through this book. Practical tools meet helpful explanations and truly get at the heart issues. I’m so thankful for this book and the ministry of the Rizzo’s!
5.0 out of 5 starsThis is definitely a bookshelf worthy book!
I highly recommend Vertical Marriage! This book has great practicals, deep pondering questions to ask oneself and for discussions, and includes great insights from various other marriage and relationship books. This is definitely a bookshelf worthy book. What I loved personally reading this book this time was gaining a better understanding of what covenant means (in marriage, in friendships, and with God). As a single, I have a desire to get married, to have my best friend, and to have my own family. However, I am learning that though these are my desires, because my life is not my own no longer, these are God-willing desires and is a gift from God if He chooses. I have a better grasp that marriage is not eternal and is a beautiful picture of God’s love and His desires for us. He is the only one that can truly satisfy. He is the one that gives the greatest pleasure. Everything else is a gift. As a believer, understanding this truth helps me to keep my eyes focused on the Lord, do my part and trust His leadership and timing. I have had the privilege of getting to know Mike and Anne personally, and they are quality people. They are loving, kind, humorous, personable, knowledgeable and most importantly, genuinely strive to love the Lord with their all and to encourage people to do the same. I highly recommend inviting them to your community and for online coaching. Their presence is a joy to be around and they are a safe place. I have great respect for them and they are very much loved in our community.
5.0 out of 5 starsWorth Reading
Vertical Marriage is a valuable read regardless of your relationship status; single, engaged, or married you will find the content stirring and edifying. This book is easily accessible with a structure that allows for reading in smaller segments on a busy schedule, as well as clear topical content organization for longer reads and group studies. Authorship by both Mike and Anne Rizzo brings a sense of balance to the book, and also testifies that the biblical truths articulated by Mike and Anne are not esoteric theology, but practical matters of the heart which bring forth measurable fruit in the relationships of those who agree with God’s truth and obediently love the Lord with the help of the Holy Spirit. With an encouraging and freeing tone on a subject that often brings with it the hurt of the past, present, and even fear of the future, Vertical Marriage is a refreshing read that leaves you with a sense the authors are speaking from a well studied and experienced place of wisdom that has left you with greater understanding and greater freedom in your soul.
5.0 out of 5 starsMarriage by God
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whether you are getting married, thinking about getting married or if you’re married already, this book is for you. This book helps bring up conversation pieces that every couple needs to walk through and discuss. This is perfect for counseling!
This book is excellent! My fiance & I read through it during premarital sessions. It really started discussions about things that were not even on our radar. We have a much more comprehensive idea of what to expect both spiritually and in the natural one we say I do. I also loved how it gave the male and female perspective by having Anne & Mike write different paragraphs of the chapters. You two did such an amazing job! I definitely recommend anyone thinking about marriage to read & reread this book.
My future wife and I have gone through this book together and it has played a large role in preparing us for marriage! It has helped us be aware of the challenges that awaits us, but also the joys that we shall share! The insight is practical and it incorporates great questions that promote discussion. Most importantly, this book demonstrates how you and your spouse can grow together spiritually with the common goal of a healthy relationship with Christ. I highly recommend this book and encourage all couples to take the Vertical Marriage journey together!
Vertical Marriage is a wonderful resource for couples preparing for marriage. Written for those who are approaching the marriage relationship as a life-long commitment, Mike and Anne Rizzo have drawn upon decades of personal marriage experience to compile the advice found in this book. Each chapter addresses different issues couples will face, such as spiritual foundation, roles of husband and wives, the sexual relationship, money, and many others. Highly recommended for couples as a supplement to pre-marital counseling, and also as a great resource for married couples to renew their commitment to each other and to God.
I absolutely love this book. It has given me such wisdom about my relationship and how to grow deeper together in God. I would recommend this for any and every couple. A few of my friends have a PhD in Christian Family Counseling and absolutely love the book as well. Just order it already! You will come out on the other side in a better place.
I read this book while dating my now fiancé. As I read it the first time, it began to deepen my understanding of God’s beautiful and holy perspective on marriage. Mike and Anne honestly address the mountains and valleys of living out a marriage that is pursing an eternal perspective. The questions they ask created a strong platform that made my heart find confidence that I can live out a spirit filled, strong marriage in our society today. After becoming engaged, my fiancé and I completed Vertical Marriage together. Mike and Anne’s heart for marriage, people, and the Lord is not only apparent in their writing, but also in the interactions we were blessed to have with them. This book is foundational and encouraging, not only as you prepare for marriage, but as you pursue the Lord in the seasons of singleness, dating, engagement or marriage.
This book should be on your top reading priority!!!! I have read it and underlined and made notes, it’s become so personal to me! I am married and I feel so hopeful for my marriage, of what it really could become!! Mike and Anne helped me see the value of placing the Lord first and the fruits that follow in a marriage by doing so. Thank you for this little light for my life!!
Vertical Marriage, though seemingly written with a premarital focus, acts as a compass for marriages of any length. The authors skillfully pen timeless wisdom and truth that could have saved my wife and I months of heart ache. My only regret is that I didn’t read this sooner.
My boyfriend read this book and then passed it on to me as a must-read. It is a good book, and though an easy read, it is thought-provoking and biblically sound. I appreciated both “voices” of the authors, the Scripture, as well as their own experiences covered in the pages. My favorite part of the book is the appendix questions for both partners. They are excellent questions that sparked important conversations between my boyfriend and me. My boyfriend’s favorite part of the book was the initial “Purity Pledge” covered in the first chapter or so, which we find crucial to the health of our relationship.
Vertical Marriage is an extremely well rounded book. So practical and straight forward and yet very thought provoking and challenging. I really appreciate how they used their own life stories to share these truths. It is a simple and easy read and the authors do a really good job in helping the reader implement the insight they are sharing. It is so rich and full of life. I did a lot of pausing, thinking and praying because of the many gold nuggets in this book. My wife and I love this book. We read it shortly after getting engaged and can not wait to revisit it again. It is so rich in biblical truths and offers much marital wisdom. Vertical marriage has a perfect blend of the spiritual and practical. The authors teach us that having a dynamic relationship with God first and foremost will lead to the most vibrant and fruitful marriage. The more we love and are loved by God the more love we will have for our spouse. They also expound upon truths such as covenant, the 1st commandment, having an eternal mindset and how they impact and shape our marriage. This same book also helped get us talking about many practical things such as time management, finances, sex, entertainment, and household chores. One of the big things that it helped us start processing was new family dynamics like where we would spend the holidays (we have a big family) and how we would stay connected to everyone. I highly recommend this book to all married or engaged couples, it will be time well spent.
This book is mission critical for Christian couples. In a culture obsessed with consuming, Mike and Anne remind us that marriage is all about giving. They powerfully communicate how to replace the quick fixes that only lead to momentary bursts of happiness with a lifestyle delayed gratification that results in the deepest satisfaction. Page after page of practical advice is all painted on a backdrop of the eternal consequences of daily choices in marriage. We did premarital counseling with Mike and Anne almost 5 years ago. This book was a profound reminder for us to return to our first love and to live for eternity, not just for now. On top of all that, the study guide had very meaningful questions that make for great date night conversations. Check it out!
Mike and Anne are excellent at providing the framework for conversations, their questions at the end of each chapter set this book apart from other practically minded marriage books. I would recommend any young couple to read through the book and especially the questions, as they are excellently crafted to reveal the motive behind the actions and thoughts.
Me and my fiance were fortunate enough to be part of the International House of Prayer community and we did our premaritial counseling with Mike and Anne. They really are great people with a heart to see couples reconciled and united with Christ. The truth is that if we cannot first reconcile our hearts with Jesus, we will continually struggle in our relationships. Our stepping forth to pursue marriage exposes our greatest flaws, weaknesses, and failures but God is able to mold, shape, and heal us through the process of submitting to his leadership concerning marriage. Human beings are naturally self centered and unforgiving and only Christ’s love can shape us into being a better spouse. Vertical marriage is all about looking to God and putting God first in our relationships, and through doing this God is able to work in our lives the peace and unity that he desires to see in a marriage relationship. This book will help you learn what love is through God’s eyes and his expectations through the ups and downs of marriage. Mostly, it will help you learn more about your partner and understand his/her needs better and work through the differences that arise as a result of discussing the questions written throughout the book. It highlights some very important topics that seriously need considering before committing to a marriage relationship. I think the questions in this book itself is worth the cost of the book. It has helped me and my fiance discover more about each other, our differences, and what our expectations are going into marriage. The chapters of the book has helped us to establish Godly order and structure in our relationship and has definitely highlighted areas that we need work on. The bible is clear about certain key areas that sustain a healthy marriage such as submission, love, and respect and this is also well highlighted in the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to build a Godly foundation and greater spiritual depth in their marriage.
This book helped redefine my perception of marriage and relationships. I read this book with my fiancè, and it has significantly impacted the way we now relate to each other (in a good way)! I learned key insights into how men and women communicate differently, why it’s critical that we posture our hearts in humility and keep our focus on the Lord, and so much more! I definitely recommend this book to anybody who wants to grow in how they relate to others—whether you’re single, dating, engaged, or married!
Loved this book! My fiancée and I read this book together and also had the privilege of doing our premarital counseling with Mike and Anne Rizzo in person. We love that it offers an intersection of both the practical and the spiritual, rather than one or the other—for believers this heavenly wisdom grounded in earthly reality is absolutely essential. The book also contains some really great questions for couples’ discussion and offers wonderful resources in the appendix. Add this one to your library!
We have served on the pre-marital counseling team at our church for over ten years. Vertical Marriage is by far the most spiritually in-depth resource we’ve seen. The Rizzo’s pull no punches when it comes to emphasizing moral purity and faithfulness to walking out a dating relationship and marriage covenant with integrity before God. Everything a Christian couple needs related to spiritual and relational wholeness is within the pages of this book!
I want to recommend this book to couples considering marriage, to those couples new to marriage but also to couples like us who have been happily married for 19 years. This book is divided so clearly into 4 sections with insights, principles, and questions for discussion. There are also great resources and an Appendix with thoughtful discussions of some of the more sensitive concerns many have. While there are many books available on marriage, I found this one uniquely designed to encourage us to pursue “holiness above happiness” and gives many practical ways to do this.
Vertical Marriage is a refreshing and encouraging book for engaged couples or those thinking about marriage. It was insightful and gave me a healthy perspective on marriage and its purpose. When my husband and I were engaged, I referenced this book whenever I had a question and it gave me assurance as I was about to make the step into marriage. I highly recommend this book as a great premarital resource!
This book had great perspective and insight into the covenant of marriage. My wife and I are fortunate to live in the same city as Mike and Anne, because it permitted us to walk through the book with them. It was wonderful to not just have the authors perspective, but also to see them actually walk out the principles in their own book. They practice what they preach. It was also very meaningful because the book helped us understand each other and to feel more known by each other. I believe this book really conveys the Lord’s heart for marriage. Add this book to your collection!