This is the title of chapter one in John & Stasi Eldredge's Love & War and I wonder if there could be a more apt chapter to begin with? Perhaps not. Now before I proceed any further, I am not married. That's right, I am reviewing a book on marriage and making it work in marriage, and lo and behold I am not even in the target audience. So why review a book on marriage when you aren't married? Well it is a bit like praying that God is your healer, after weeks and weeks of confessing that 'you have such and such'... my point is, why wait until the ship breaks to start mending it once you have left the port? And by the same token, the true issues which John & Stasi Eldredge are highlighting is about bringing our brokenness into our relationships; and the truth is that we do this with all of our relationships whether we are married or not.
In this chapter John summarizes their marriage like this;
'Will Anyone Ever Love Me? was joined in marriage to I Will Never Need Anyone last week. The groom, Mr.Insecure Perfectionist, wedded his bride Miss I Know I'm a Disappointment at the congregational church. The lovely train wreck has taken up residence in Monrovia. A public reception and private disaster are soon to follow.'
So the truth is, that I giggled when I read the above quote... because it is so true, and yet we approach covenant like it is all rose petals and turkish delights. But the reality is, in any relationship there are many, many bumps in the road regardless of how we relate because we are all broken, and sometimes having someone loving us makes us feel, at least for a little while, that all is well in the world.
'I was trying to think of a good operating definition of marriage and this is what I came up with: Two guarded people managing their disappointment, negotiating for better terms through a DMZ they call marriage.'
I really enjoyed what Stasi Eldredge had said about in evaluating what she had wanted in a husband, was someone who would make her feel valued. And this is why I maintain, that this book is not really a marriage book at all. It is a people book. We are a people, this book was written for us.
So what is different for us? We are broken. That's right, you and I, we are broken. We have as Craig McConnell once said,
'Most of us have buttons that, if pushed, set off some response (rage, withdrawal, control etc.) that signals a deeper issue of brokenness, woundedness' a young unfathered heart/place and a foolish/sinful strategy of living. That 'signal' isn't something to repress/deny or shy away from. It's actually the opportunity to experience the deep and true healing/forgiveness/deliverance/grace our good God offers.'
A deeper issue of brokenness. I love that phrase. And you see this book is all about what God wants to do with that brokenness. Yes, He came to preach the goodness, to free those who were enslaved, to heal the broken hearted.
The problem, is we hear statements like this all of the time, and we disregard it because when we think of the broken hearted we tend to think of someone whose spouse has died, who lost a child to disease, to people suffering with mental illness. But we never diagnose this as the epidemic that it is in our own lives. We... you and I, we are the broken hearted, we are the afflicted, we are the poor in spirit, we are the captives... and He has come to redeem us from these things.
The one mistake which could be made in reference to these things is to not recognize our own epidemic of a wounded heart, and to ignore this book as something just written for those struggling in their marriages, this book is about us, and it's about Him. I would urge you, to take a first and second and third glance at it. It is well worth the time to 'remember what we wanted'.