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Love & War

June 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.

Stasi and John Eldredge: "Marriage is fabulously hard."

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

Secret Sauce?: A high-pressure architectural career, braces for six kids and an astro-turf yard to care for ... and yet, Mike and Carol found a recipe for love.

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.

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5 comments

  1. Matt and I are half way through this book. We are reading it together, a chapter a night and it is AMAZING! I must-read for every couple. Our couples Sunday School class just suffered a horrible loss. One couple was having marital issues and the husband (and father of two young boys) decided to take his life because of his sorrow surrounding their decision to separate. In the midst of the tragedy, it has transformed our Sunday School class into a group of people who CAN share with each other the things in our life that may have seemed taboo to share with others at one point. We are reaching out and saying “I NEED HELP!” You are so right…we all experience these things in our relationships and we are normal. And we can love and grow through them and we can have those “epic” marriages that we all crave. We HAVE to be willing to trust the Lord through those times and not just walk away because its the easiest thing to do. Great blog!


    • I’m so glad you still make it over here to read this thing every once in a while. Encouraging. Thanks.

      So sorry to hear about what happened … i can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that is going to be on those boys for years and years to come … how it’s likely to, in a way, shape their lives. Just pray that they find God’s purpose in it some day. Until then, though … going to be SO impossibly difficult to understand … as they wonder why they weren’t enough, why he didn’t “love us enough to carry on for US, whether he was getting along with mom or not”, etc. etc. She’s blessed to have a family of believers to help carry her through what’s coming for her. Great opportunity for you all to stretch yourselves, too … learn to love better … be more unselfish than you ever thought you could be … so much growth and opportunity to glorify Him in tragedy and loss – just have to be willing to look for it.

      As for the book, yeah … great read. Tracey is reading it now. If you haven’t read any of their others, pick ’em up. Wild at Heart and Captivating are the classics, of course. But, I’ve enjoyed them all. Walking with God and Waking the Dead, in particular.

      Glad to hear you’re doin’ well, Pom and that you reach out and keep in touch. 🙂

      -jpj


  2. Sounds like a good book, though I must be the last man standing who never read “Wild at Heart.” I know my wife read it with her prayer group girls. (I don’t know why – something about trying to understand men.) Anyway, I just may have to check this one out. Thanks for sharing!


    • dude …. you’re not the last. but, it’s close. haha

      It’s a terrific, terrific book. Read it several years ago and it was a life-changer. I finally understood so much about myself that just hadn’t made sense before. So many things, too, that I KNEW, but just hadn’t ever known how to verbalize. It’s not CS Lewis or GK Chesterton or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. But, it’s truth, nonetheless. I’d highly recommend it. In fact, if I thought you’d read it, I may go so far as to just send you a copy myself (seriously – if you wanna shoot me an e-mail, I’ll drop one in the mail … redbirdjones@yahoo.com). Waking the Dead is another great one of Eldredge’s … but, again, Wild at Heart should come first.

      Love & War has been really good, as well.

      Really enjoy Church of No People. Keep up the great work. Trying to find my way. Lots of work to do. Finding the time (and energy), with the job and the little ones and the extra-curriculars, is the biggest challenge. Really, really appreciate you stoppin’ by, though. Hope it won’t be the last time.


    • And, btw – I swore you were on my blogroll … Weren’t, apparently – but are about to be.



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