I recently was granted the opportunity to read Craig Groeschel’s newest book, From This Day Forward. As the title implies, it is a book on marriage. The subtitle is: Five Commitments to Fail-Proof Your Marriage.
Sounds promising doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want a “Fail-Proof” marriage? I know I do. I know I’d do almost anything to get one too. But is it possible?
Is it possible to follow 5 little steps and have the marriage of your dreams? Is there a money back guarantee for this book if you follow the 5 steps and your marriage still fails?
I love Craig Groeschel. I do. I’ve read several of his books. When one of us is home sick from church, we watch his sermons on tv. Often times more than one on that Sunday morning. He is passionate. Bright. Funny. And always sinks his point home like a deadly arrow.
But do we need another book on marriage? Especially one that promises “If you follow these simple steps, your marriage can’t fail”. Do we really need another one?
They all seem to say the same thing. The personal stories are different, but the message is the same.
- Seek God.
- Fight Fair
- Have Fun
- Stay Pure
- Never give up.
It’s not that I’m down on marriage books, but we aren’t all the same. Yet they all offer the same steps. Steps that most couples learn in pre-marital counseling. We are still offering a “one-size fits all” approach to marriage.
Its not these steps won’t work. Its not that we don’t try them. Its not that we don’t practice them. We do. I do. You do. Your neighbor does.
But marriages still fail. I have friends I love dearly who have made promises, followed the steps and still their marriage failed.
I think instead of having another marriage book promising the moon and delivering dust, we need to invest time and energy into real couples, with real life problems. We need to find an older couple and decide to pattern our marriage after theirs. We need to step up and say, “I want what you have. And I’ll do anything to get it.”
We need to realize marriage is not a 5-Step Plan, but a daily plan. A daily walk. A daily commitment. Not to some formula that negates our human will, passions, desires. But a commitment to “do or die trying.”
Seeking God is the top. It is the most we can do. But we often stop there. We seek, but not until we find. We seek but only so far. We seek but give up when God turns up the heat on our own selfishness. We seek God so He can “fix” the other person.
It’s when we realize how broken and sinful we really are, and we allow God to fix the broken places in our hearts and souls that we can have any hope of a fail-proof marriage. When we extend grace, the very grace God extends to us, to our spouse daily that we can be assured our marriage will succeed.
Its only when we hold on with bulldog tenacity to our marriage. When we say, “we’ve come to far to turn back now”. When we say, “By God’s grace we’ll persevere”. When we realize we are only one step away from divorce court ourselves, one small step from adultery, one step from stumbling, its when we lean hard on God and hard on each other. When we use the tough times to strengthen who we are individually and as a couple.
Its only then we’ll face success.
Not following a 5-Step Plan. Not reading a good book by our favorite author, putting it on the shelf and forgetting about it.
If you walk away from this post thinking, “I’ll never read that book!” You’ve missed the point. If you need a refresher course on marriage, please pick up this book, or any of the other marriage books on the shelf. Please just remember, it’s not a book, not a plan, not a step program that will fail proof your marriage. It’s your God.
(I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.)