Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

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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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How big are YOUR stones?

May 5, 2009

david-and-goliath-2Still trying to re-engage after my latest withdrawal into myself (despite my own best advice … you remember it, right? Talk? Engage? Share? Do as I say, not as I do, eh?),  I was about 50 pages into another good book from Gordon Dalbey (No Small Snakes – A Journey Into Spiritual Warfare) when I ran across something pretty powerful.  And, I wanted to share it, as it relates to the combat (spiritual warfare) that we, as believers, are called to engage in every day.

But, let me preface it with this – I agree with alot of what John Eldredge says about men.  Particularly, that we all desperately need to believe that we have what it takes (and that most of us don’t believe that).  That we are, indeed, men, in the strongest sense of the word.  That we (and pardon the connotation) have, you know … stones.

And, this passage has got to be as powerful an example of that as exists.

Reading from 1 Samuel 17:45-47:   “You are coming against me with sword, spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the Israelite armies, which you have defiled.  This very day the Lord will put you in my power; I will defeat you and cut off your head.  And I will give the bodies of the Philistine soldiers to the birds and animals to eat.  Then, the whole world will know that Israel has a God – and everyone here will see that the Lord does not need swords or spears to save His people.  He is victorious in battle, and He will put all of you in our power.”

This rather, well, bold proclamation – i.e. “you’re twice my size, three times as strong, have a spear, a sword, a javelin and an enormous army at your side … but, I’m not only gonna whip you right here in front of God and everybody (despite what many across the South may believe, this HAS to be the most appropriate use of that saying of all time, no?), I’m gonna take your head off.  And then, I’m gonna feed your army to the birds” – was made by  a young shepherd boy to Goliath – a giant of a Philistine soldier … a man of enormous size and strength and unparalleled combat skill.  A killing machine.

david-goliathIt’s nearly incomprehensible to most of us … to stand in front of such a seemingly impossible challenge.  Much less, to do it with such bravado.  But, then again, David had those stones … and, more importantly, an immovable faith in his God.  There was absolutely nothing that could stand in his way with God at his side.

So, imagine if you can, standing there, as David.

And then, tell me, why we can’t stand up to an envelope that comes in the mail.  To our boss.  To our circumstances.   Tell me why, when we have the same God at our side that David had on that day, we can’t swallow our pride?  Save our marriages? Reclaim our hearts? Defeat our giants?

But, you know what? That David strode into battle proclaiming victory wasn’t what hit me between the eyes.  It was what came next.  What came after David told Goliath just how far he was about to fall.

Continuing in 1 Samuel 17:48:   So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet him.

He ran toward the army to meet him.  He didn’t play 18 holes, go fishing, or turn on the game.  He didn’t ignore his wife. He didn’t toss the bill on the counter or in the trash.

He ran.

Towards an army.

Towards a giant.

He had what it takes.

… He had GOD.

Big lesson to be learned in that … no?

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