Love & War: A Book Review

I love books. I love free. I love to talk. Some publishing companies need people to read  and review their books. They send me free books, I read them, and then tell you what I thought on my blog. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!

When WaterBrook Multnomah offered me the chance to read Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge, I couldn’t reply fast enough. Some of you who have been here awhile may remember that their book Captivating is on my list of Books You Should Read If We’re Going to Be Friends:  The Nonfiction Version. More  than any other book I’ve read, Captivating helped me to understand who I am as a woman.

Love & War is like Captivating for marriage. I read nonfiction books, but it’s usually fiction books that I’m unable to put down. The things that I loved about Captivating kept me turning the pages of Love & War way past my bedtime. The book is honest, passionate, frank, and the authors are transparent. They say the things most of us think but are too afraid or embarrassed to say to others and sometimes even admit to ourselves.

But that’s not all. Instead of just giving validation that it’s not abnormal to feel the way we feel, John & Stasi (I know about their sex life, so it feels like we should be o a first-name basis) help us understand why we feel that way and then point us to God as the only way to feel the holes we feel inside ourselves. This is probably the most romantic book about marriage that I’ve ever read. But I love that the romance they describe isn’t just the picture of the relationship between a husband and a wife, it’s ultimately about the love of  a passionate God for us.

This book isn’t flowery prose from a married couple waxing poetically about love and marriage. This is a love story, but it’s also a war story. (HEY! I just now realized why that title works so well!) Certainly, John and Stasi are masterful word artists, but this book gets down to the brass tacks of what marriage is really like in the trenches. Marriage is tough. A broken man and a broken woman join their messy lives and hope their partner will be able to fix their pieces. It’s an impossible proposition. But it becomes a thing of unmatched beauty when both people allow God to be who their partner can not. Then they are free to live this adventure called life together and make a difference in the world they live.

John and Stasi spend a lot of time discussing spiritual warfare, “making agreements” in yourself about things that may not be true, and “speaking against” evil that satan brings into your marriage. I’m not discounting or making light of anything that they say. I’m not wise enough to say that any of their thoughts on spiritual warfare are entirely correct or off-base. However, I wasn’t sure about their emphasis on these ideas. Could it be my Baptist upbringing? Maybe. Is it because of a past experience with these ideas at a very emotional time in my life? Very possibly. I believe most assuredly that we are in a fierce battle against satan in this world. But I don’t want to give him any extra credit. Sometimes I think we attribute things to satan that are merely the results of our bad choices because we have a sinful nature that we have to fight alongside our battle with satan.

I happen to be reading this book during a time when my marriage is in a strong and healthy place. But I’m not naive. This year K and I will have been married fourteen years. We’ve weathered marriage storms that make Hurricane Katrina look like a spring shower. We’re in a good place now, but I know that tough times will come again. If we do nothing, we won’t survive the next crisis. Marriages don’t work on cruise control. This book is going in my library for future reference, but I plan to put into practice some of their advice now while we’re doing well so that we can have an even better marriage, one that is an even better representation of the love God has for us.

If you would like to read the first chapter of the book, go to http://www.loveandwar.net. There, you can also find more information about John and Stasi and details about a small group DVD that accompanies the book.

Thank you, WaterBrook Multnomah, for the opportunity to review this book.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Love & War: A Book Review

  1. Okay…I’m buying this book. After reading your review and tweeting with you earlier, I’m completely intrigued.

    I’m guessing the “War” part of the title refers to spiritual warfare?

  2. rmarch979

    I’m glad you reviewed this. This book is on my list to read for next month. Now I can’t wait!

  3. Might have to check the book out. I loved their other books.

  4. I loved your review on this book. Thanks for letting me hear another viewpoint.
    I agree with you about giving satan too much credit, when sometimes it’s our own choice. At church yesterday, someone said that since we need to have the freedom to choose good from evil, they think we should allow some things into our homes/marriages from the ‘world’ (if you know what I mean) in order to test ourselves and prove that we can choose the right. But that doesn’t make sense to me: surround ourselves with evil so that we can prove that we’ll withstand? This is just a thought I had and I’m not saying everyone should believe it, but I think that our choice to NOT allow that stuff into our lives is proving our strength, not being tolerant of the things which we could have avoided. Does this make any sense?! Hopefully.

    • whimzie

      I agree with you, Haley. I’m not sure I understand the idea of putting yourself in harm’s way just to prove that you won’t fall. To test yourself? To test God? Sounds like an excuse/justification to me.

      “In the world but not of it” and “bringing the world into your home” are two entirely different concepts, I believe.

  5. Renae

    Good review! I have Captivating on my shelf & have yet to finish it…guess I better do that if I’m going to be your friend. 🙂
    Our pastor discussed the exact Satan issue yesterday. He said we often give Satan too much credit. Satan can not be everywhere at once…so most of the time it is not Satan but our own “flesh” that gets us in trouble.

  6. Looks like I can add another book to my list! I saw this the other day and wondered about it. I do like their books. His Wild At Heart book was huge for Brad after Jake.

  7. I can’t get my comment about the devil to come out right, so I’ll just say that he’s not working alone. He’s got lots of help.

    And I think we might give him too LITTLE credit when it comes to how much he despises God’s glory.

    He can’t “make us” do stuff, but he’s a liar and a devourer, and when we believe lies about ourselves (and our husbands), I believe it’s evil at work.

    We can’t “blame” him for our sins, but I think we need to be more aware of him and where we’re most vulnerable.

    Well, that turned out to be rather wordy.

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