“We live in a love story, set in the midst of a war. Love is our destiny, and all hell is set against it,” write John and Stasi Eldredge in their latest book, Love and War. Written in classic Wild at Heart style, the reader is drawn in early. We are characters in a story much larger than ourselves. This is information we need to have. Ignorance is what causes so many marriages to fail.
An enemy is hellbent on the destruction of our marriages and our lives. Like Elisha with his servant, the Eldredges peel back the thin veneer of our present dimension to reveal the spiritual reality of an enemy arrayed around us and the war taking place. The authors give our spiritual sight a boost of faith. Faith gives us the reason to fight for our marriages.
They also show us that God and His legions are our allies in battle. The Eldredges explain that God created us with the same weapons and strengths He has. “Love and intimacy are the core of His being,” they write, “so He gives to each of us a heart like His. When God does this, He reveals our deepest purpose – to love and be loved.” When we bring this heart to the fight, we have the strength and courage of David as he faced Goliath. We all know how that story ends.
However, like David, our own sin and individual selfishness work against us. “Our mutual brokenness play off each other so perfectly that it is frightening. It’s like throwing a dog and a cat in a dryer. Is He absolutely mad? Why would God do such a thing?”
We’re not fighting each other. Our enemy is a common one, whose main strategy is turning one partner against the other. It’s God’s plan to use marriage to unite and transform us.
The authors are profoundly and humbly transparent. They candidly tell stories of personal struggles and solutions. Their struggles will ring with familiarity as you read them, yet the solutions are within reach.
In the chapter “Back-to-back with Swords Drawn,” we learn the imperative of prayer, together as a couple.
This is difficult because each person must be transparent and vulnerable. The level of transparency and vulnerability necessary for intimacy with God can be terrifying to share with our partner. The fear is that one will stash the other’s defenselessness away, and bring it out later as a secret weapon in a battle down the road. The enemy dangles this fear as bait to derail husband and wife joining in prayer. What the enemy uses in an attempt to take us down, God uses to take us to the next level.
This book is full of forgotten fundamentals that need to be revisited and put back into practice. Every page of the book is worth reading. Then hand the book off to your spouse and see what happens next.
New York: Doubleday, 2009, 222 pages.