Last night, Zane and I attended an engagement party honoring dear friends who are getting married in several weeks. Those of us in attendance offered encouragement and advice for the engaged couple. A recurring theme was that marriage is hard work but that it is worth the fight. With this fresh on my mind, I wanted to share a marriage resource that speaks to this in a powerful and biblical way.
For anyone who is married, planning to be married, or fighting to save a marriage, What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage should be required reading. It points readers to the biblical truth about marriage~what it is, why it is important, and what will be required to keep it healthy and strong.
Unrealistic expectations always lead to disappointment. There is nowhere that this is more evident than in marriage. When the honeymoon is over and real life sets in, when spouses disappoint, or when outside forces threaten to tear apart the marriage bond, statistics show that more than half of married couples give up the fight. According to Tripp, therein lies much of the problem. Who expects that marriage will require a fight? That it will require hard work? That it will most often bring about sanctification rather than happiness?
What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage by Paul David Tripp is one of the most relevant, wise, practical, and biblically sound books that I’ve ever read on marriage. In it, Tripp helps readers examine biblical perspectives that scripture gives us for a realistic expectation of marriage. 1) You are navigating marriage in a fallen world; 2) You are a sinner married to another sinner; and 3) God is faithful, powerful, and willing to redeem the institution that He created and designed.
Tripp shares 6 commitments that will lead to a stronger, healthier marriage and offers practical ways to implement these in day to day life. These commitments would be wonderful to discuss and walk through with other couples, perhaps in a small group or Sunday school setting. Although each commitment may sound vague and lofty, there are myriad easy and practical ways to implement them in everyday life.
1. We will give ourselves to a regular lifestyle of confession and forgiveness.
2. We will make growth and change our daily agenda.
3. We will work together to build a sturdy bond of trust.
4. We will commit to building a relationship of love.
5. We will deal with our differences with appreciation and grace.
6. We will work to protect our marriage.
As anyone who is or has been married well knows, marriage is not easy. It is hard work. But it is worth fighting for. Tripp challenges couples to roll up their sleeves, get busy, and and do what it takes to build a God-honoring and ultimately fulfilling relationship. Most importantly, he shows how God provides the help, hope and grace to bring this about.