John and Stasi Eldredge in Love & War let their readers into a secret. Marriage is a battle, it’s more than a battle it’s a war and failure would be devastating. The Eldredges use their own marriage and those they have counseled to detail how this war for your marriage is taking place and strategies in order to win the day. The key principal that they teach is that a couple should include God in their relationship. Only by centering a marriage around God can a couple survive Satan’s attacks and attempts to rip the relationship apart. Additionally, it is only through God’s strength that a couple can overcome the damage caused by the hurts that each member of the partnership brings into the union. In the end, they argue that one of the most important things every marriage needs is healing, healing of the hurts done by others and by each other. They teach that healing can only come by forgiveness.
I went into this book a little apprehensive. I thought Wild at Heart very insightful but also not my typical preferred content. So I went into this book prepared not to enjoy it. Well, I was wrong. I love how the Eldredges focus on marriage as a story, but not just any story but an epic battle between good and evil for your marriage. I believe this imagery speaks to the heart of a man and is more effective in communicating truth than a 12 step self help fix your marriage book. And let’s be honest, it’s likely the husband and the wife that needs to be wooed into reading a book on marriage. Additionally, the chapters do move from topic to topic, but they don’t give us a checklist to fix a marriage but instead show how couples are attacked in different aspects of their marriage and how Jesus can be invited into that particular battle. I find their advice highly practical and realistic, feeling like advice from those that have reached a spiritually mature place in their marriage to those at the earlier steps. They are clear, your marriage will not be perfect, it will not be a fairy tale, it will have ups and down and they are not going to try to convince you otherwise just because you are a Christian. Speaking of realism, I found their discussion on sex honest, transparent and somewhat refreshing in seeing a Christian couple be honest about the need for sex and how they have been sexually disconnected at times and how they have reconnected. If asked today to recommend a book on marriage, I would wholeheartedly reach first for Love & War.
Review Copy Provided by WaterBrook Multnomah