Love & WarJune 30, 2010
A few days ago, I picked up a copy of Stasi and John Eldredge’s new book, Love & War. I’ve loved all of Eldredge’s work thus far (Wild at Heart is still one of my all-time favorites and spoke to me in a way not many books have, before or since) and had been looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.
Just a few chapters in and so far, I haven’t been disappointed. Most encouraging thus far has been hearing John and Stasi tell the story of the early years of their marriage … and in particular, how difficult they were. In that way, it hasn’t been all that different than other books I’ve read (aside from it being readable and authentic … as opposed to cold and clinical, like alot of the books on marriage tend to be. This one, as does all of Eldredge’s stuff, reads like it was written by someone who’s actually married – and who understands his partner and relationship – not by a psychologist). But what’s encouraging about their struggles, first and foremost, is that, for us, it’s validation. We’re NORMAL. We all struggle with the same things. All of our marriages follow a similar path … go through the same stages of growth and struggle. And, so many of the thoughts/feelings that we’ve experienced are thoughts/feelings that millions of others have had before us, are having right now and will have 100 years from now. And John and Stasi articulate that in such a genuine and understandable way.
But, you know what’s even more encouraging than finding out that you’re normal (which should encourage and empower us to engage in conversations with trusted friends about their relationships, and share ours with them – but that’s another conversation)? The common theme through all of these marriage stories. That the great marriages, the truly epic love stories, the relationships everyone else is jealous of and wants for themselves, are the ones that have fought like hell for what they have. That have survived. That have earned it. That didn’t shut down, quit, walk away, call a lawyer. The ones in which both people decided that, in their marriage, Christ would come first and their spouse second … that committed to letting Christ transform their partner – and stopped trying to do it themselves. And the ones that decided to trust that their needs would be taken care of by a partner that would put them first, as well (and that takes alot of trust).
Anyhow … there’s obviously a heckuva lot more to it than that (which is
why there’s an entire book on it and not just a blog post from a second-rate hack like me). But, they’re right. At times, and particularly early on (the book explains why this is), it’s hard as hell. Even when there’s love. But, fellas – staying in it, fighting through it, doing whatever it takes to grow, is worth it. Marriage takes alot of work. But, doesn’t anything great?
When I’m done, I’ll get into it a little further. But, right now, that’s where we’re at. Reading about what John and Stasi brought to their own marriage (the expectations, brokenness, needs, hopes, etc.) … about the two times they nearly decided to call it quits … about how/why nearly all of us, at some point, end up in that place … and about love – and the war you’re gonna have to fight at some point to really experience, and/or save it.