Friday, October 8, 2010

Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge

Love and War: Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed Of
I have a bad habit. Actually, I have a number of bad habits, but just one of them is relevant to this discussion. When I visit someone's home for the first time, I don't give a crap what's in their medicine cabinet. I'm headed straight for the bookshelves, to see what they've been reading, if there's anything there I need to put in my TBR list, and occasionally to pick up a book and glance through it.

Back in April, I was at my daughter and her husband's house in Utah, helping celebrate her birthday, when I noticed a book on the counter. I picked it up and started reading it one morning while I was having coffee, waiting for everyone else to wake up, and read about halfway through it.

This weekend, I went to my daughter's house again to help build a new patio, and when I was having trouble sleeping, due to the coffee ice cream I had just before bedtime, I picked up the book again and finished it off. I did the same thing with Twilight, beginning it in Portugal, and finishing a library copy in the U.S. when I got home, but the delay between the two readings was significantly less than the six month gap, so this review may be a little disjointed, as I can't exactly remember the details of the first half of Love and War.

I believe John and Stasi do marriage seminars, and this book reads a little bit like them tag-teaming at a seminar. Each chapter bounces back and forth between one of them writing, and the other. This is sometimes nice, because you get both the male and female perspective on an issue or situation that they've experienced in their own married lives, but you all know by now how I feel about multiple POV novels, so it can also break my concentration on a narrative.

The key theme in this book, which is written with a target audience of Christian couples, mostly, is that as couples, we are embarked on a great quest - a mission from God if you will - in the midst of a huge war, darkness vs. light, evil vs. good, Satan vs. God. Therefore, we shouldn't expect that things are always going to be peaches and cream, and that we're going to go through some struggles. We should remember, however, that God made us, in marriage, "one flesh" for His purpose and it is His Will that we soldier together through the battles. Of course, one of our enemy's goals is to tear us apart, to make us less effective.

One of the most convicting portions of this book, for me, was the chapter about praying together as a couple. I'm afraid my prayer life is all about flying solo. Couldn't even begin to tell you how long it's been since my wife and I prayed about something together. Etheredge lays out a number of scripture references that make it clear how much more powerful our prayers can be if we're in agreement with one another, and what better partner in prayer can one have than one's spouse? If you're married, and the answer to that is someone other than "spouse", I think there's a problem, don't you?

This book probably won't shake the foundations of your world or marriage, but it's got plenty of little insights that make it worth your time.

1 comment:

Laying down the Law said...

That, is an excellent point. (on praying together)