Friday, February 12, 2010

The Greatest Gift You Can Give

By the numbers, Valentine's Day is a commercial gold mine:
  • 180 million cards will be exchanged, with 50% of those purchased in the last six days
  • 23.8 pounds - per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2008
  • 187 million roses were produced for Valentines Day in 2009

It is what it is, but to just focus on the tangible "gifts" of love is missing the point:

God is the love you are looking for

This is the central point in one chapter of authors John and Stasi Eldredge's latest book "Love & War." Subtitled "Finding the marriage you've dreamed of", it is a very personal and open journey of twenty-five years of marriage.

The book is an ongoing narrative with each of the authors contributing their feelings and thoughts as they reflect on their journey together. Surprisingly candid, often funny, but always instructive, the Eldredges chart out a path that readers can apply to their marriages.

Central to the book is the admonition that marriage is not a bed of roses; it is a struggle of two individuals who have to submit to each other and fight together for what God has called them into. And for me, that's the greatest lesson of this book, referred to in the quote above and illustrated further with these words from John and Stasi:

We live in a love story. We are created for romance and we have an insatiable capacity for it. God gave us such a heart; it was one of his first gifts to us. Our love story starts with God.

If you are looking for a gift for Valentine's Day, the greatest gift you can give to your marriage is a real relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the kindest thing you could ever do for the people in your life - to have somewhere you can turn, someone who loves you and understands. More words from John and Stasi: must understand you are not a well and your spouse is not a well. You are both leaky buckets in search of a well.

God's love is that well. Turn to it often, and drink deeply for a marriage that will honor God's gift to each of you.

"Love & War" is a powerful, personal, and profound journey of two individuals who love God deeply, and therefore love each other deeply. Their story and journey provide an excellent road map for any couple wanting to grow together toward God and each other.

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

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