I would recommend John and Stasi Eldredge’s “Love and War: Finding the Marriage You’ve Dreamed Of.” I was fortunate enough to receive a special pre-release copy from Random House Publishers. You can purchase the hardback edition for under $16 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Love-War-Finding-Marriage-Dreamed/dp/0385529805/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265829384&sr=8-1) or directly from the publishers at http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780385529808.
My favorite chapter was the one titled, “A Perfect Storm.” It is in this section that they quote the classic country tune, I fell into a burning ring of fire” (Johnny Cash) when describing the messy, painful, difficult, incredible, passionate, indescribable thing we call love. The authors suggest that every woman ‘[comes] into the world with the question deep in [her] heart that [goes] something like, ‘Do you delight in me?'” while “every little boy carries an essential question in his heart . . . ‘Do I have what it takes?'” (Eldredge, 45-46). In short, every female desires to be pursued and protected while every male wants a cause to fight for and a prize to carry home. Seems like this would be the perfect match. It was. At one time. In Paradise. However, humanity somehow and somewhere managed to lose focus of their Creator and settled for the easy route which leads to death and destruction. Selfless love was replaced by selfish gain. Commitment and compassion have been overshadowed by the casual and commonplace. The fire which was meant to bring two into one has now burnt both parties in the process. Love has too often turned into war.
Marriage can still come to the rescue. I am convinced that marriage still holds the greatest witness of Christ’s love for the church and vice versa. People, once they see authentic love, will absolutely be drawn to it’s Maker. If only the church can rediscover intimacy and redeem sexuality. Jesus once challenged, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12, NIV). There is no other relationship than that between a husband and a wife that reveals the true heart of each person. The masks quickly come off. When we are tired. Hungry. Upset. Discouraged. Insecure. Frustrated. Have you ever noticed that we would never dare talk to a stranger the way we talk to our closest friend? Is it because the home is such a safe place? Is it because we cannot keep it inside any longer?
Here is the flip side on the issue: Is there anything more beautiful and Christlike than devoting our hearts and lives to one person forever? To give them everything and only to them we give that everything? To love them when it is easy. When it is hard. The good times. The tough times. To death do us part. Marriage is discipleship. Sanctification. The authors propose, “The years have simply reconciled us to the fact that we are all here for our transformation. And we understand that there is no place on earth quite like marriage for the kind of transformation god is after” (56).
Official Description: What the Eldredge bestsellers “Wild at Heart” did for men, and “Captivating” did for women, “Love and War” will do for married couples everywhere. John and Stasi Eldredge have contributed the quintessential works on Christian spirituality through the experience of men and the experience of women and now they turn their focus to the incredible dynamic between those two forces.
With refreshing openness that will grab readers from the first page, the Eldredges candidly discuss their own marriage and the insights they’ve gained from the challenges they faced. Each talks independently to the reader about what they’ve learned, giving their guidance personal immediacy and a balance between the male and female perspectives that has been absent from all previous books on this topic. They begin “Love and War” with an obvious but necessary acknowledgement: Marriage is fabulously hard. They advise that the sooner we get the shame and confusion off our backs, the sooner we’ll find our way through.
“Love and War” shows couples how to fight for their love and happiness, calling men and women to step into the great adventure God has waiting for them together. Walking alongside John and Stasi Eldredge, every couple can discover how their individual journeys are growing into a story of meaning much greater than anything they could do or be on their own.