"It CAN be done."
That's the opening message of John and Stasi Eldredge's latest book, "Love and War." It is largely addressed to those who have been married before or for some time, and it is addressing their skepticism. Their weariness from having tried and reached the point of wanting to give up.
Being a product of divorce and a soon to be divorcee, I have experienced my fair share of skepticism over the institution of marriage - especially within the last year of going through my own divorce. Books like "Love and War" and "Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage," by Elizabeth Gilbert (of "Eat Pray Love" fame) appeal to me, because I can relate.
I want to know why we should even attempt marriage if it's so hard and how we can make it work. I want to know why it's worth it. I want to know why I should want to try it again. I want something to make me want it again, because I don't want to remain so scarred and bitter against it. I am starting to slowly soften and warm up to it again. One of the reasons this matters to me is because I feel a conviction in my gut that God doesn't plan for me to remain single for the rest of my life, nor does He want me to WANT to be single for the rest of my life and remain bitter. I truly believe He has a plan for me to get married again (to the right guy) and make a family. So I want to get to the point where I am open to that and have peace with it.
So, I am thinking that I will blog about that journey. My journey of studying the topic of marriage more deeply and how that helps me to become ready to try again.
And we start with "Love and War."
One of the main messages in the early portion of the book emphasises how marriage is a depiction of Christ's relationship with the church. They talk about how much God LOVES marriage. They point out something which many Christians don't necessarily notice - that the Bible begins AND ends with marriage.
It really made me think about how, just like every other aspect of our lives as Christians, life is not about us! So it only makes sense that neither is marriage! It's about God. It's about representing God's love for us, Christ's love for the church. It's about glorifying God. That's the point I really took home: It's not about us.
Yet, that's what most people, even Christians, tend to think - that it's about us and our happiness. That's why, when our happiness within a marriage starts to fade, many are so quick to give up. I've heard a handful of Christians talk about marriage being a representation of Christ's relationship with the church, but I'm not sure of how many actually live that way. And I've never heard of that being on anyone's list of criteria for what they're looking for in a mate - "Is this person the one best suited to represent the kingdom of God with me?" How would our standards and our relationships drastically change, if this truly was how we measured them? How would we handle conflicts in our romantic relationships if we were consciously thinking about how we, as a couple, could best glorify God and represent His kingdom on a daily basis? How would we treat each other differently?
This truly puts an entirely new perspective on my standards for a future husband and my mindset for when I'm evaluating someone against them someday. Something tells me that if more couples operated like this, we'd see a declining rate of divorce in our country.
Until next time - stay tuned :)