As I'm sure you've read in Disclosures!, I occasionally review books for WaterBrook/Multnomah Press. They send me a book for free, I read it and write an honest review. No money, no influence. Just a free book for a book review.
Now that the FTC has been satisfied, let's take a look at the book: Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge. The Eldredges lead Ransomed Heart Ministries in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and have several books about living passionately for God in the Christian life under their belt.
|Love and War: Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed Of|
Marriage books have got to be difficult books to write. It's a minefield of potential problems. If you're married and write alone, what does your spouse say about your book? Do you live up to it? If you write together, are you prepared to share the labor and deal with the vulnerabilities of writing?
Into this effort plunge John and Stasi Eldredge with Love and War. The title is certainly taken from the saying "All's fair in love and war" and relates to marriage. How so? The book is both an inside look at the love and war that are involved in the Eldredge's marriage. They then take that story and share how it applies out into most marriages these days.
How does it work? It works well. First of all, the writing is done by both authors, but it isn't delineated by a screenplay-like "John says:" and "Stasi says:" although occasionally a paragraph features a quick parenthetical identification of the author. Reading the book, though, gives a decent sense of personal style of both authors.
Second, there's an adequate level of transparency. One of the challenges for a marriage is knowing what to keep private and what to share. The Eldredges have chosen to share more than the average married couple would, but they're writing a book. If they don't share something, you wouldn't believe they have anything to contribute. However, they also don't go into such depths of agony and struggle in marriage that the reader is left wondering "how would anyone ever survive that?" It's a delicate balance, and they accomplish this well for my tastes.
Third, there is precious little beating around the bush in this book. Too often when we deal with personal things, especially the close moments of marriage, we pull our punches or drop hints rather than be direct. The result is advice that you don't really take because you don't really know what it was. John and Stasi haven't left us that option. You can choose not to tackle the challenges they lay before you in this book, but you know what they are.
Finally, they've done a good presentation of ways to strengthen any marriage. Whether your marriage is going swimmingly or if you're about to drown, there's strength and help both to be found here. Is this a substitute for personal accountability or couple-to-couple counseling? No, but they don't pretend to bring that. Just like a doctor is sometimes more what you need than a first-aid manual, sometimes your marriage needs a real person helping. However, there's plenty of good help here.
Personally, I'd greatly recommend this book. I was particularly challenged by the chapter that spoke to the need of a marriage to have a common cause to accomplish. I'm going to be praying through what that implies for our marriage and our family.
Remember, I got this free from WaterBrook/Multnomah.