Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

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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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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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Is It Possible To Overparent?

December 8, 2009

Is It Possible To Overparent? | WithoutWax.tv by Pete Wilson.

Great stuff, as usual, on Pete’s blog.  If you don’t visit there often, you should.  I’ve added him to my blogroll, so you can always find him, easily, here.  Looking forward to reading his first book, Plan B, which we at Nelson will publish in the spring.

Time.com : Helicopter Parents and the Backlash Against Overparenting

I think I jump into and out of this, as a parent.  Not in a sense of overscheduling or denying my kids time with me – we spend alot of time together, talking and hanging out – but, more the opposite.  I’ll catch myself hovering, managing, directing every little thing, and oftentimes, expecting way too much of my oldest boy, Jack (6).

Granted, he’s an exceptional kid … and, there’s nothing wrong with expecting alot.  I think we should (letting them know you expect very little of them would be a horrible and devastating message to send, wouldn’t it?).  I’ve just had to, as I catch myself daily, make sure he knows it comes from a place of love … and that I’ll love him more than anything in the world, regardless of what he achieves or doesn’t achieve.

That my love, like God’s, doesn’t hinge on achievements, milestones or markers.  That it’s unconditional and that his dad will be there for him, ALWAYS.  But, that doesn’t mean I don’t know, oftentimes, what’s right for him, that I don’t expect alot of him (because he’s capable of so much) and that I’m not gonna nudge him (lovingly, of course) along until he’s old enough to start making his own, bigger, decisions.

That said, he’s beginning to learn, as we let him make smaller ones, that (ALL) decisions have consequences.  Heck, I’m STILL learning that lesson … and, a one decision I have to make every day is to let my exceptional six year-old be a six year-old.

The consequence, I hope, will be a boy who’s secure in his relationship with his dad and his God … who knows he’s loved … who won’t be afraid to go after things and fail from time to time.

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