Category Archives: Marriage

Alone in Marriage, TBP #30

Alone in Marriage: Encouragement for the times when it’s all up to you. Because every marriage has moments — seasons — in which extra encouragement goes a long way…

“Sounds depressing.” The sentiment came from a friend when I told her I ordered this book when it came out nine years ago. Actually, I ordered five copies. And this is the last one I have left. Is it just me that’s struck by the reality that I’ve found four other women to give this book away to while I still have three out of five copies of The Love Dare sitting on my shelf?

We’re currently 22 years into this journey. You know it’s not all mountaintop experiences. And those valleys? Phshew! Some of them are looong. And dark and cold. And claustrophobic. And lonely.

So when Susie Larson came out with this book, Alone in Marriage: Encouragement for the times when it’s all up to you, I bought a copy for myself as well as some to give away.

“Beloved, the Spirit of God has come to release you of the effect of dis-appointment. He reminds you, ‘Your appointment with your destiny is still set.'”                                                                                                                              — Francis Frangipane

22 years. And I can honestly say it gets better and better. Easier? Well, not on some days. Definitely richer, more complex. Like starting the marriage fast-food style and eventually learning the art of the succulent cuisine experienced in a five-star restaurant featuring exquisite desserts.

I couldn’t agree more with Larson when she writes, “Marriage is worth fighting for, and prayer is the most effective way to battle for results. If only we had a glimpse of the activity taking place in heaven because of the prayers of God’s people!

…We either give up or gain ground based on our faithfulness in prayer. Oh, may God give us eyes to see the impact of our intercession! When we live only in the moment, we lose sight of the bigger picture.”

Today… LeRoy and I have spent the day embracing and making out every time we walk past each other. (I’m not exaggerating. Some days are just like this for us. Like one really long day of foreplay.)

Three days ago… we got in such a big argument that we shouted at each other. (An hour and a half later, I couldn’t remember what on earth the argument had even been about! I asked LeRoy the next day what we argued about and he couldn’t remember either. Well then.)

Do you ever experience times when you feel like the responsibility for the marriage is all on your shoulders? I’ve felt that way before. Susie Larson is an encourager. Alone in Marriage is for you or someone you know who could benefit from bold hope and love spoken into your soul, spoken from a place of understanding and compassion.

Rating: 3 stars

Takeaway: I love Susie Larson’s personality. And I really appreciate how she shares from the broken and healed places in her own story. At the end of each chapter, there’s a section for you to simply receive encouragement through her “Lending A Hand” with succinct points to steady you during those especially precarious parts of the journey. She prays for you and with you with a written prayer. And then gives you a few passages of Scripture along with some questions for introspection or journaling.

Like sitting with a friend during a difficult bout in our marriage, Larson’s words speak encouragement, power, and love over relationship as well as over each woman. From the first page to the last, she offers reassurance that we’re not alone. And that there’s Hope. And sometimes, we could all use that little bit of extra encouragement to go the journey.


Love For A Lifetime, TBP #29

Love For A Lifetime: Building a Marriage That Will Go the Distance, by Dr. James C. Dobson and published in 1987. It would be six more years until I got married.

I have no idea where I got this book. And I’m sure I’ve meant well by keeping it on my shelf… I’m sure I’ll read it someday.

But, listen to this, Dobson writes in the first chapter,

[Regarding the five out of ten marriages that don’t end in divorce]… “According to clinical psychologist Neil Warren, who appeared on my “Focus on the Family” radio program, all five will stay together for a lifetime, but in varying degrees of disharmony. He quoted the research of Dr. John Cuber whose findings were published in a book entitled The Significant Americans. Cuber learned that some couples will remain married for the benefit of the children, while others will pass the years in relative apathy. Incredibly, only one or two out of ten will achieve what might be called ‘intimacy’ in the relationship.

By intimacy Dr. Warren is referring to the mystical bond of friendship, commitment, and understanding that almost defies explanation. It occurs when a man and woman, being separate and distinct individuals, are fused into a single unit which the Bible calls “one flesh.” I’m convinced the human spirit craves this kind of unconditional love, and experiences something akin to “soul hunger” when it cannot be achieved. I’m also certain that most couples expect to find intimacy in marriage, but somehow it usually eludes them.

He goes on to ask this question, among others, “When the story of your family is finally written, what will the record show?”

On a couple’s date night last Friday, the six of us wrote down the answer to this question: What are three words you want to define your marriage? In other words, a year from now, three years, five years, when someone asks you to describe your marriage in three words, these three words would be a pretty good description. The cool thing about this exercise is that couples are writing their own words, individually. This way — unless they inadvertently use the same word — they end up with six words that cast vision, purpose, and mission.

Do you want to know mine and LeRoy’s?

Mine were Bold, Creative, Fun. LeRoy wrote down Adventurous, Globetrotting, Peaceful. One of the other couples came up with words that were all synonyms of intimacy.

No rating or takeaway, only because I haven’t read it.

I’ll keep it on my shelf a little longer. Tipped on its’ side so that I’ll know it’s unread.

What are your’s and your spouse’s words you want to describe your marriage? Let me know in the comments.


The Love Dare, TBP #28

Three copies sit on my shelf. Because sometimes, I believe so passionately in an idea that I invest in more than a copy for myself. Surely, I think, someone else will benefit from this, too. I think I originally bought five copies of this particular book.

The Love Dare is based on the hit movie, “Fireproof.” Written by the same authors who wrote the movie, Stephen Kendrick & Alex Kendrick created the 40-day dare to give marriages a practical way to act on the principles from the movie.

Each day consists of 1) “a unique aspect of love… [to gain] a new understanding of what it means to genuinely love someone,” 2) a “dare to do for your spouse,” and 3) space to journal the journey, what you’re learning and how your spouse is responding. “These notes will record your progress and should become priceless to you in the future.”

Wanna know how far I’ve gotten in the dare? I think I’ve taken on the dare three or four times and I don’t think I ever got past day eight or nine. [Is that a gong I hear?]

Rck. I’m not even going to analyze this, People.

just move forward

The rating I give this book? 3 starsif you actually implement it. I think. I mean, how would I know? I’m supposing it’s three stars. (We may have to revisit this one in the future.)

The takeaway: “Love sometimes needs to be extravagant. To go all out. It sometimes needs to set aside the technicalities and just bless because it wants to.” (from Day 38, Love Fulfills Dreams) My best friend since seventh grade immediately comes to mind. Amy loves like this. Extravagantly. All out. Fiercely. Devotedly. And not just her husband and children — though they definitely get the best of her. She loves the people in her life with this kind of lavish, no-holds-barred thoughtfulness and devotion.

Whether cooking, putting together an intricate salad, conversing, gift-giving, or working on a project, she exemplifies what it looks like to live life from a place of deep, abiding love. Her mother is the same way. Living over 5,000 miles from her doesn’t make a difference. She’s found ways to demonstrate love to me in ways that have only deepened the intimacy in our friendship. And although we let the time between our conversations go for a long, long time — a year sometimes! — we always pick up right where we left off.

I wonder if following through on the whole 40 days would teach me to love more like that.