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Love & War, Part II

July 8, 2010

I wrote last week that I was halfway through Stasi and John Eldredge’s new book,

Genuine, honest, intimate and encouraging. Get it. Read it. And then, read it again.

Love & War: Finding the Marriage You’ve Dreamed Of … and that I, to that point, wasn’t disappointed.  Well …

I finished it last night.  And immediately handed it to my wife.

I’ll be the first to admit that going in, it was highly-likely that I’d enjoy it.  I’ve enjoyed everything Eldredge has done.  (and, in the spirit of full disclosure, yes, I read Captivating, too … good stuff, fellas  … and if you really want to understand your wife’s heart, it’d help you to do the same.  Not saying you have to do it in public.  Just do it.)  But, on the flip-side of that, understand that because everything they’ve done has really spoken to me, I also went in with some pretty lofty expectations.

And?

Well, it may be the most honest book on marriage I’ve read.  No tips, techniques or 7-step formulas.  No guilt.  No shame.   Just truth (though, this is absolutely not another Bible study in disguise).  And encouragement, in the sense that as you read through the different stories and scenarios from John and Stasi’s marriage and others, you feel … normalValidated.  What’s impossible about my marriage is impossible about others.  Those thoughts and fears … the agreements we make with the little voices in our heads about our spouses, our families, our lives and futures … absolutely none of it’s original.   And none of it can break me if I recognize it for what it is and where it’s coming from.

Is marriage is hard? Yep (even when it’s good).  But, it’s hard because we’re broken.  And no book, principle, technique or singular verse of scripture can, on its own, fix that.  And of course, Stasi and John tell you as much.  But they also do an amazing job of casting God’s vision for how incredible and beautiful it can be … how incredible and beautiful it was meant to be.  And how you can have it.

Anyhow, to wrap it up, fellas  –  it’s practical and authentic (you’ll swear they moved in for six months … and bugged the place so they could listen even after they left), without ever being preachy, clinical, condescending or unrealistic.  They “get it”.  And they probably have the marriage you want (you’ll particularly appreciate their take on what should be going on in the bedroom.  Worth buying the book just so your wife can read page 175).  But what they went through to get it – and what they continue to go through to keep it – might surprise you.  It will certainly encourage and inspire you.

This one’s a keeper.

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