A few weeks ago, Marcy encouraged me to read “Love and War” by John and Stasi Eldridge. And I politely said, “No, thanks. I don't like John and Stasi Eldridge.” But she responded with “Hey. You're reading this book. Sorry.” Except she didn't apologize. She just told me to suck it up and order the book, and said it might provide some good talking points with Patrick. Ugh. Fine.
So I did what she said. I got a $3 copy off Amazon and prayed that it got lost in the mail. Because I'd rather read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn which comes way more highly recommended than some lame-o Christian-y book, by the authors of Wild at Heart and captivating. Two books that made me want to vomit. (Not really. That was sarcastic. But they weren't my faves).
Well the book came and sat on my nightstand for a few weeks. And Marcy is a nice and classy girl and never asked about it. But I got to a stopping point in another series I was reading, and decided one night before bed that I would start picking through the dreaded “Love and War.”
And y'all, I couldn't put it down.
The weight of every word seemed to settle on me in a way I didn't expect. And I was challenged. Convicted. Empathized with. And inspired. I was embarassed at how ignorant I'd been to the position of my heart in my marriage and in my relationships. But John and Stasi gave me permission to take a breath, to re-calibrate my heart, and to come at my marriage with a new and fresh perspective.
They helped me see what agreements I've been making about love and marriage. They helped me see where the enemy has set up camp in my relationship with Patrick – and what lies tend to creep into my heart when we argue. Lies that come from the enemy, and not my husband. John and Stasi helped me see how Patrick and I can be united against the enemy, rather than divided against each other. I've started to get more of a vision for mine and Patrick's relationship. And to see that we HAVE TO HAVE a vision for US, and believe in the significance and the power of US if we're ever going to make it. That when we have a family, we can't make our children the center of our universe. Because it's unhealthy for them and for us. We still have to have a relationship in the midst of children and family.
Page after page pushed every button, struck every nerve, but gave me hope for a new marriage. One that has forged through storms and mountainous terrain, yet remained intact. One that has learned to shut down the spiritual attacks that come against our marriage. And one that has experienced healing in its depths, and so gives grace to one another day in and day out. To quote John:
“So long as we choose to turn a blind eye to how we are fallen as men or women, and to the unique style of relating we have forged out of our sin and brokenness, we will continue to do damage to our marriages.”
Seeing all the crap that I alone have brought into our marriage is hard. But knowing that Patrick too brings his own stuff, from his own family, and his own mistakes to our marriage is kind of intimidating. And it has shaped us. Our thought patterns, the way we argue, the way we relate, and how we set our expectations. I'm so glad John and Stasi were so realistic about all this stuff and addressed it so candidly.
They offered hope in the midst of trials, strategies and encouragement. All of it being so insightful and powerful. Powerful in a way that gets me re-energized to fight the good fight, and to keep contending for breakthrough in our marriage and those marriages around us. I was truly blessed by “Love and War” and I hope you'll pick up a copy and challenge yourself. It will not be easy, but I'd rather know how to prepare and position my heart to thwart off attacks from the enemy.
Love you guys. Praying blessings and peace and abounding love over your marriages and relationships today.