A big thank you goes out to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for blessing me with a complimentary copy of Love and War: Find Your Way to Something Beautiful in Your Marriage by John and Stasi Elredge, in exchange for an honest review. In this latest release, the Elredges draw parallels between God and his love for the church and the love between a husband and wife. Every marriage is part of a great love story set among a war. Often we miss this and mistakenly believe that our spouse is the enemy, rather than battling against the Enemy who wants to destroy our strong bonds. God gave us one another to support and uplift each other as we face the battles in life.
The Elredges go on to dismantle preconceived fairytale notions that as long as we love each other all will be well. Both partners in a marriage are broken.Examples and help are provided throughout the book, though they always leave room for the gray area. No marriage is the same as we bring in our own dispositions and baggage. While at first we marry for selfish reasons, it is through learning to selflessly love that we become the people God intended us to be. Trying to find how to love and why to love can be risky, but well worth it as God creates beauty from ashes.
Love and War is beautifully written as it portrays the beauty and strength in a marriage. The portrait painted left me wanting to work on my good marriage and make it better. It's like taking a black and white picture and suddenly seeing it in vivid color. How often do I overlook my husband's feelings and allow my own selfishness to blur my vision? It is shocking to think of the things I may have missed, decisions I overlooked and opportunities lost to have a beautiful marriage.
This book cannot be read in one sitting, but rather ten or so, to be able to absorb what John and Stasi are relaying. In fact, they recommend reading it though more than once, which I would agree would be well advised. I would only recommend Love and War if you are willing to look at yourself and your motives, more than your spouse. You can only be concerned with how God is using your marriage to transform you. It'd be a great book for couples to work on together, but certainly can be beneficial if only one partner is willing to read and observe.
There are a couple of prayers included at the end of the book that I am already finding helpful. The reader will perceive the Elredges genuine love for one another and for the marriages of God's kingdom. We can't return to Eden, but through love and choosing to love your spouse, your marriage can become a bit closer to paradise.
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Read the first chapter of Love and War here.
Read about John and Stasi Elredge