As is usual with the writing of John Eldredge, and now the two books he has co-authored with his wife, Stasi, this book is direct and honest — bracingly so.
“Love and War” is full of the realities of marriage, from the silly to the sublime. i saw my own marriage in the things they wrote about.
Throughout this book the Eldredges pull back the veil of their marriage and take the risk of being vulnerable. They are not holding theirs up as the perfect marriage, but they do testify the work God has done in them as individuals, and on the marriage as an entity in itself.
They truly believe in marriage. It is a blessing from God which has taught them to love and forgive.
And they want us all to believe in it too.
Marriage, to the Eldredges, is a high calling; something which is divine in nature. And yet, they do not write about married life in ethereal, magical terms. They get real. There is no airbrushing here.
Without posturing or pretending, the Eldredges make their readers believe in marriage: “It can be done. And it’s worth it.”
Marriage is life at point-blank range. It’s hard.
But the Eldredges again and again in this book lift the reader’s gaze to remember the glory of marriage. Perhaps lost, or buried under deep rubble, all marriages have an original glory; God designed the unique relationship which is marriage to reflect His glory and His love of the Church.
And we learn to love when we are married. We learn to be certain kinds of men and women. We learn to aim higher than self-interest. We learn the life-giving truth that pursuing interests which are larger than ourselves makes us better people.
The Eldredges must have had some very interesting conversations as they wrote this book. Chapter Two starts out: “Stasi and I hadn’t make love for a while.” Chapter Four: “I hate Valentine’s Day. There, I said it.” And Chapter Six: “Stasi is really bugging me this morning.”
Those opening lines let us see more of the Eldredges’ marriage than most couples share with their closest friends. But it’s refreshing that they refuse to be religious in their discussion of marriage.
Instead, the Eldredges go to deep places together, and take us along for the ride in this book. i appreciate that. Among the ground they cover are these basic points:
- You and your spouse live in a love story that is set in the midst of a very real war, because your marriage has an enemy, the Evil One, who is out to destroy us because we bear the image of God.
- God gave us marriage, both as a picture of His love for the world, and because we are going to need each other. We are not playing house — we are living in an epic love story.
- Your marriage is a perfect storm because your brokenness and sin collide in devastating precision with your spouse’s. Yet God is in that because He is using your marriage to transform you.
- When it comes to love and happiness, we are broken cups. We will put untold amounts of pressure on our marriage until we realize that God is the love we are looking for.
As an addict, who has had to start over in his own marriage, “Love and War” had me cheering as i read it. i cannot think of one couple which would not benefit from reading this book and examining their own marriage in light of it.