A Realistic Guide to the Marriage You’ve Always Dreamed Of
Is your relationship with your spouse far from the union you’d hoped it would be? John and Stasi Eldredge know about the realities of marriage—and they know why it’s so important to take hold of the dreams you once had and see God fulfill them.
In this eight-week devotional, John and Stasi will guide you and your spouse to see God’s heart for your marriage more clearly. This life-changing guide includes new insights, encouraging Scriptures, and practical exercises that will help you develop a personal plan for a vibrant marriage.
As John and Stasi write, “We learn to love moment by moment. Day by day. Week by week. Our marriages grow and become what God intended and what we ultimately long for in the same way. We are, all of us, learning to love.”
Our lives are lived moment by moment, in increments we can actually handle. Our marriages are lived the same way. Not anniversary to anniversary or even month to month, but daily—in the ordinary ins and outs of time. The choices we make in the moments create the lives we enjoy—or don’t. Thus, a love and war devotional. This devotional is a tool for you, for your marriage. We invite you to walk alongside us for eight weeks—five days a week—and dive deeper into the tangible realities of your marriage. We’ll focus on Scripture and the heart of God and the heart that he placed in you and the heart he has placed in your spouse.
The journey of our lives is a journey of transformation. We are here to learn how to love. How do we learn? Moment by moment. Day by day. Week by week. Our marriages grow and become what God intended and what we ultimately long for in the same way. We are all of us learning to love.
Let’s learn together.
DAY 1: Romance Meets Reality
We love because he first loved us.
—1 JOHN 4:19
We probably ought to just start here: marriage is fabulously hard.
Maybe that’s an odd way to begin, but it is true, and everybody who’s been married knows this, though years into marriage it still catches us off guard, all of us. And newly married couples, when they discover how hard it is, seem genuinely surprised. Shocked and disheartened by the fact. Are we doing something wrong? Did I marry the right person? The wonders that lure us into marriage—romance, love, passion, sex, longing, companionship—sometimes seem so far from the actual reality of married life that we wind up fearing we’ve made a colossal mistake, caught the wrong bus, missed our flight. And so the hardness of marriage can also come as something of an embarrassment.
Or maybe it’s just us. Don’t you feel embarrassed to admit how hard your marriage is?
Yep. This is everyone. We might as well come out and admit it.
The sooner we get that shame off our backs, the sooner we’ll find our way through. Of course marriage is hard. In fact, if you look back at the first marriage, that fairy-tale start in Genesis, you see that Adam and Eve had a pretty rough go at it. And they didn’t even have parents to screw them up as children or friends giving them ridiculous advice. The fall of man seems to come during the honeymoon or shortly thereafter. (And how many honeymoon stories seem to reenact that little drama?) They hit rough water as soon as they set sail. This is the story of the first marriage, and it’s a bit sobering.
But it also gives us some encouragement. It’s normal for marriage to be hard. Even the best of marriages.
And God is in that.
In order to have the life we want, the life we are made for, and the marriage we long for, we need God. That’s a very good thing! Because without him, nothing is as it should be. With him, all things are possible. Yes, marriage can be extremely hard. But that is not a reason to despair. Nor is it the final truth. There are seasons in marriage—in every relationship. Marriage is meant to be wonderful, and most of the time it is. Though it’s sometimes so hard, think of the difficulty as a doorway. A doorway to all the more Jesus has for us in himself ! There is hope!
Dear God, as I begin this study, I offer up this time for your purposes. Please help me draw closer to your heart and deepen my marriage in every good way. Sometimes it is very hard. Even painful. I invite you into that as well. Have your way with me, with my spouse, and with our marriage. We need you. I am looking to you. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3–5)
Excerpted from Love and War Devotional for Couples by John and Stasi Eldredge Copyright © 2010 by John and Stasi Eldredge. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
About The Authors:
John Eldredge is the director of Ransomed Heart Ministries in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a fellowship devoted to helping people discover the heart of God. He is the author of numerous books, including Wild At Heart, Waking The Dead, and The Sacred Romance (with Brent Curtis).
Stasi Eldredge is the coauthor of Captivating (with John) and leads the women's ministry of Ransomed Hearts. They have been married more than 26 years and have three sons.
One way that couples can enhance their marriage is to study the Bible together. Although not always an easy thing to do, spending quiet time together studying God's Word is imperative to a Christian marriage. I have been a fan of both John and Stasi Eldredge for a couple years now, and have previously reviewed their book, Love and War (see my review here) and Captivating (see my review here).
Now they have released a companion devotional based on the Love and War book. It is an 8-week devotional with five weekly devotions for a couplet to go through together. Each day is only two pages longs and gives you a lot to think about individually and discuss as a couple. There is also a daily prayer listed. I love the ease of reading/understanding and the very well organized layout. The book itself is also very small, at only 134 pages, so perfect for taking in a purse, briefcase or weekender bag.
Love and War Devotional for Couples first and foremost emphasizes the importance of our relationship with God as individuals and then the relationship between a couple. As you go through the 8 weeks you will be reminded that marriage is not easy, it takes work, commitment to one another and God at the center of it. This is a valuable resource for all married couples, whether newlywed or those married for many years. God designed, and wants, marriage to last a lifetime. He knows its not going to be easy, and gives us all the strength we need to get through the "love and war" of marriage. And thanks to the Eldredges' book, we have a wonderful tool to help us as well.
I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!
BUY IT: You can purchase Love and War Devotional for Couples online, directly through it's publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah - it is also available through your favorite local Christian bookseller.
***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Waterbrook Multnomah, as a member of their Blogging For Books program. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***