A few months ago I was invited to review the newly published book by John and Stasi Eldredge entitled Love and War . . . Finding the Marriage You’ve Dreamed Of. The cover flap states, “What the Eldredge bestsellers Wild at Heart did for men and Captivating did for women, Love & War will do for married couples everywhere.”
Being a veteran of well over 40 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart, I was intrigued by the potential wisdom I might share based on my own life experience. Being married is hard! It takes work, compassion and compromise.
Lea and I were teens when we married in the mid-60s, and many friends and family members speculated, “It’ll never last.” Only one out of five U.S. marriages lasts for 50 years and about 50% of marriages end in divorce. Teen marriages are thought to have an even higher rate of failure, maybe approaching 60%. But, against all odds, through the grace of God, we’re still in love.
So, when I sat down to read through the book, I anticipated much less true wisdom and straight talk from this younger couple than I happily found neatly tucked into its pages.
In Chapter One, John and Stasi had been married for nearly three years. They were very involved with their church. John was on staff with the church and also leading a small theater company. Stasi was reaching out to troubled teens through an active Christian ministry. They were both devoted to their work, and kept very busy. They had wisely taken the right steps before marriage by getting premarital counseling, they attended a marriage seminar, and were now active in a weekly married couples group. And, yet, their marriage was in trouble.
Stasi and John relate their innermost feelings and reveal much more of themselves than most folks would be comfortable divulging to their life partners, let alone to the public. And, perhaps, that’s where the real gutsy value of this book lies. This is real. It isn’t idealism or theory. This is about who they were, what they thought and experienced, and how far they have come through personal growth and maturation as a couple. It offers great insight into the battles a couple faces in marriage. Even those who are walking in faith.
So what happened to this couple? Why did they approach divorce twice during their marriage? What secrets did they discover to work themselves through the horrors of impending divorce? What do they share from their experience that can help others in trouble? They offer simple, clearly stated, helpful treasures that can literally rescue the two of you and get your marriage back on track. Oh, and did I mention the chapter on sex?
John and Stasi open their hearts and share their personal journey to disclose one of the most courageous, straight-forward, discussions of sexuality within a Christian marriage that you’ll find. This often taboo topic is clearly and frankly discussed, and will help many couples better understand that sexual intimacy in marriage is not only okay, it’s what God intended from the very beginning. Sex, like fine wine, really can get better with time!
Love and War provides wonderful insight into how wild and powerful sex is in the Christian marriage. “Drink your fill, O lovers,” (Song of Songs 5:1). Putting sex into context within the marriage requires a true, compassionate, enduring respect for your life partner, and the ability to unselfishly share your innermost self with that person.
Love says, “I accept you as you are, care when you hurt, desire only what’s best for you, and forgive all offenses.” God-based love refuses to look for ways to run, and opts for working things through. Love and War can help you find the marriage you’ve dreamed of, even if you’re already walking the path, and fear you’ve taken a wrong turn.