A bit of a confession… Tommy, my husband, and I do not have a perfect marriage. Sometimes we don’t even have a good marriage. Did you think we did?
I think some have thought we did over the years but let me just dispel that myth right here and right now. To be honest, sometimes our marriage sucks. A friend told me recently after I shared with her a piece of our marriage story that she was so thankful to know we had issues because she has always had our marriage and family all wrapped up in a pretty red bow. We’ve actually never professed to. Anytime we get the opportunity to speak about marriage we plead with the listeners to not put us on any sort of pedestal or even a very short stool. We do not want to be raised up at all because we know we will eventually let you down. If there is anything good in our marriage it’s because of God’s grace. Ok, and maybe some hard work. But sometimes we just don’t work that hard and it shows. Just like anything in life, you get out of it what you put in.
When you’ve been married for almost 27 years like we have, or maybe only just 1, you have likely experienced hardship or a crisis in your marriage. And if you won’t admit it then you at least know someone who has. We had already hit crisis mode by our 5th year of marriage. We know hard. We know crisis. We know defeat. And we know the power of redemption.
The recent Ashley Madison fiasco has weighed heavy on me even though it seems to have already mostly blown over in the media. We are a fickle people, aren’t we? But I know full well that the ripple effects of this hack and the discoveries and confessions that came or are to come are far from over in many homes around the world. As I sat and looked around church this past Sunday, I assumed that there were likely a few marriages in crisis if not many. Maybe not due to Ashley Madison but maybe they were. And it breaks my heart. It breaks God’s heart.
I thought I would offer up 5 books to read when your marriage is in crisis. I’ve asked my husband for his input and we came up with these five that we can personally and confidently recommend.
In no certain order here are our FIVE BOOKS TO READ WHEN YOUR MARRIAGE IS IN CRISIS:
- Love & War, John & Stasi Eldredge
- Sheet Music, Dr. Kevin Leman (Note that this book is very helpful but we do not necessarily agree with everything in it. Be sure to discuss with your spouse any issues that might arise.)
- Beyond Ordinary, Justin & Trisha Davis (also check out their RefineUs.org website, blog and facebook page)
- Shattered Vows, Debra Laaser (for women)
- Boundaries in Marriage, Henry Cloud & John Townsend (There’s a workbook that goes along with this book that could be beneficial as well.)
I must also add the Bible. It’s widely available. 🙂
And while I have your attention (you’re still here right?), I want to add that we should all be careful not to make assumptions on what any marriage has gone through or may be going through or even what we think they may not have gone through. Marriage is stinkin’ hard and the sanctification process is not so fun most days – any day. Conflict is a part of any growing relationship. Sin is a part of every human. Every marriage experiences a crisis at some point. You simply can’t put two imperfect humans together and expect marital bliss. Good grief those two words get me all kinds of riled up. Marital bliss, shmarital bliss…
We so desperately need a culture of marriages that honestly admit that marriage is hard and that crisis and failure have paid a visit to their front door. And then we need a culture of marriages that are willing to do the hard work to, as Gary Thomas says (in the picture at the top), make it good – again. And then we need a culture of marriages that, once good again, walk alongside another marriage that is in crisis. Wash, dry, repeat. We should be careful to never assume that any marriage, or any human for that matter, has it all wrapped up in a pretty red bow. If they do, I have to believe they’ve mastered the art of mask wearing.
What are your favorite marriage books or your favorite books in general? Please share your faves in the comments and check the link up (box with the blue frog) for other good book ideas not necessarily related to marriage.
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One of the more powerful books I read on marriage was Sacred Influence. It wasn’t directed to couples, but to what the wife can do to influence her marriage. The stuff in there (which expands on what is in the Bible) really works. Thank you for your list, your transparency and for linking up to #FridayFive!
We love Gary Thomas!! He is actually on pastoral staff at our church and we get to hear him speak/preach occasionally. All of his books are incredible.
When I come to visit you (wink-wink), I’d really love to meet him! Transforming book, really. I am working my way through his collection 🙂
Should you want to listen to any of his messages, here is the link. Scroll down and look for his. He recently helped do a series on the 12 Step Program. Amazing!! He and our main pastor, Dr. Ed Young also did the Father’s Day message. So good! http://www.second.org/South/Media/Videos.aspx
And PLEASE come to visit!! I think I owe you a coffee convo at CFA. 🙂
I’ve read your blog and appreciate the level of openness you are willing to share. I used to live in Lake Jackson but am now in Richmond. I have 3 little boys and am married to my best friend, but our marriage isn’t perfect although I am blessed with a great man!
I’d recommend “Every Mans Battle” and “Every Mans Marriage”. My husband says these are great books for men, whether in conflict or not, to prepare a man for a mental/visual battle that is part of being a man. And as his wife, I want to support his desire for purity, not just physical but visually & emotionally too. This Ashley Madison deal makes me sad too and I long for believers to be more open & vulnerable in small group and within friendships so we all will be more open to share and perhaps we can prevent or even allow healing to happen so much better when others feel secure in friendships. On this topic, I believe as men’s natural visual stimulation can be a pathway to sin, a woman’s thoughts are the same. I love the verse “Take every thought captive to be obedient to Christ” – 2 Cor 10:5. Our thoughts can be an avenue to sin when we allow every scenario to run rampant in our minds.
Women have to learn to control our minds. We also have to never assume others are in a place of wellness. Always seeking wisdom and discernment for how to speak to others and how to listen.
Just my thoughts!
Mindy, your name is familiar. I’m sure we’ve met. I very much appreciate your encouraging words and value your input and book suggestions. Those are definitely good recommendations. That whole series is good! So glad you stopped by!! You’re welcome here!
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