Let me tell you about love and war.
In a few weeks it will be our thirteenth anniversary.
Luck 13. Yessiree.
We are amused by the irony that the ominous "13" teases us with. After all we've been through in the last thirteen years, a bit of ill luck would be nuthin'.
I look at our wedding photos and chuckle (smirk?) at what campy goofballs we were. We lived in a world of church youth groups, the endless summer that is Santa Barbara, and living at our parents' houses; a couple of camp counselors is what we were. In fact, we had almost 300 people at our wedding and I'm guessing at least half of them were under 18. It was a lot of fun. But we, the bride and groom, we were kids! We had no idea what we'd signed up for.
And then, when the honeymoon was over (literally speaking...of course?) we moved up to the Great Northwest for college and got busy with jobs and and babies and moving and other jobs and buying a house and more babies...this whole time dragging our pre-wedding baggage around with us. This baggage weighing heavy on our lives, changing us, infecting our relationship until we became people that the youth group kids might not even recognize anymore. And that was only about three years into it! For a while, things only got worse as selfishness and idolatry tightened the noose around our marriage.
Boy, could I tell you stories of what not to do in a marriage! And you might shake your head and think it all sounds obvious. But wait until I tell you what I've learned (by nothing short of a miracle) about what to do in a marriage, and you'll think I'm off my rocker! It will all sound subversive. Counter-culture. Ka-razy! But I'm getting used to that. Everything in the Kingdom of God is upside-down to the world, His intention for marriage very different from the world's impression.
So here in the middle of the story, we are battling our baggage and counteracting the cancer it has spread through our relationship over the years. We are battling a culture that says to give up because "this sucks, and my happiness is what it's all about!" It is a BATTLE. Sometimes, it feels like full-out WAR.
And you know what?
It is worth it.
That is my experience, and that is why I am so drawn to this book Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge. They have learned what I am learning: You go to war to stay in marriage and make it thrive. And the battle...is worth it.
Here is a summary from the publisher about the book:
With refreshing openness that will grab readers from the first page, the Eldredges candidly discuss their own marriage and the insights they've gained from the challenges they faced. Each talks independently to the reader about what they've learned, giving their guidance personal immediacy and a balance between the male and female perspectives that has been absent from all previous books on this topic. They begin Love & War with an obvious but necessary acknowledgment: Marriage is Fabulously Hard. They advise that the sooner we get the shame and confusion off our backs the sooner we'll find our way through. Love & War shows couples how to fight for their love and happiness, calling men and women to step into the great adventure God has waiting for them together. Walking alongside John and Stasi Eldredge, every couple can discover how their individual journeys are growing into a story of meaning much greater than anything they could do or be on their own.
This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing.
You can pick up a copy here.