Love and War: Find Your Way to Something Beautiful in Your Marriage

Love and War: Find Your Way to Something Beautiful in Your Marriage

by John Eldredge, Stasi Eldredge

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Overview

With astonishing vulnerability that engages readers from the first page, John and Stasi Eldredge openly discuss their own marriage and the breakthroughs they have won from the challenges they’ve faced. Each talks to the reader about what he and she have learned, providing a balance between male and female perspectives that has been absent from previous books on this topic.
 
John and Stasi begin Love & War with an obvious confession: Marriage is fabulously hard. But beneath and behind the inevitable tensions a man and woman “locked in the same submarine” are going to have, the real battle is against the work of the Enemy, who plots and schemes to tear love apart. The Eldredges show how couples can win “by fighting for each other, instead of against each other.” As they say, “We live in a great love story, set in the midst of war.”

“This is a book of wisdom and hope…a beautiful labor that will move your marriage to far deeper joy.” Dan. B. Allender, author of The Wounded Heart

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307730213
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/17/2011
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 140,369
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

John Eldredge is the director of Ransomed Heart in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a fellowship devoted to helping people discover the heart of God. John is the author of numerous books, including Wild at Heart, Waking the Dead and Desire, and the coauthor of Captivating. Stasi Eldredge is the coauthor (with John) of Captivating; she leads the women’s events of Ransomed Heart. John and Stasi have been married for twenty-seven years, and they have three fabulous sons.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

It Can Be Done
 
“Dearly Beloved, we have gathered here today in the presence of God to witness the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony. The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. . . .”
 
And so the ceremony begins.
 
It is a ritual ancient as time and young as the hearts of the man and woman standing before us. (These brides and grooms look younger every year.) John is officiating. The bride and groom are dear friends. They are in love. We, their family and friends, are here to support them, celebrate them, all dressed up in our Sunday best. The church is glowing with candlelight; the flowers are so lovely. The Groom looks terrified but happy; the Bride is nervous and radiant. Suddenly I wonder, Did I sit on the proper side? Was it Bride’s side on the left, Groom’s side on the right? Or the other way around? The bridesmaids are stunning. Oh dear. They won’t be wearing those dresses ever again!
 
John continues, “The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy. . . .”
 
He looks so handsome in a suit and tie. I remember how he looked on our wedding day in that fabulous black tux with tails. I hope he asks me to dance at the reception.
 
“Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.”
 
The liturgy begins to settle us in. The church quiets, the coughing subsides, people are paying attention.
 
“Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”
 
No matter how many weddings I attend, there is something inexplicably stirring about all this—the ceremony, the making of vows, the great cloud of witnesses, something about this remarkable act feels. How does one describe it? Mythic.
 
“Daniel and Megan, you are about to abandon yourselves to each other, throw caution to the wind, forsake independence, isolation and all others. You will vow to each other your undying love. Before you do, we must call this what it is—this is perfect madness.”
 
That got the crowd’s attention.
 
“As an aspiration, how lovely. As a reality, how rare. Everyone wants love; everyone is looking for love. Few seem to find what they are looking for; fewer still seem able to sustain it. Why in heaven’s name would you come to church to publicly dedicate yourselves to something so risky, so fraught with danger, so scandalous? ‘The heart has its reasons,’ Pascal confessed, ‘that reason knows not of.’ Deep in the wellspring of our hearts there is a desire—for intimacy, beauty, and adventure. And no matter what anyone might say, we look for it all the days of our lives.”
 
“Friends, I know what you are thinking. As you watch this today, there is something in your heart that says, ‘Well, maybe. Maybe this time. Maybe this couple.’ But what if, what if Daniel and Megan, in all their frail humanity, are living out before us right now a picture, a metaphor of something far more real and substantial. I’d like to suggest that this no common passion play. Things are never what they seem. If you would see things clearly you must see with the eyes of the heart. That is the secret of every fairy tale, because it is the secret to the Gospel, because it is the secret to life.”
 
“Scripture tells us that we might at any time entertain an angel simply by welcoming a stranger. The serpent in the garden is really the Prince of Darkness. The carpenter from Nazareth—there is more to him than meets the eye as well. Things are not what they seem, and so if we would understand our lives—and especially our marriages—we must listen again to the Gospel and the fairy tales based upon it. There are larger events unfolding around us, events of enormous consequence. A lamp is lit and love is lost. A box is opened and evil swarms into the world. An apple is taken and mankind is plunged into darkness. Moments of immense consequence are taking place all around us. Especially this.”
 
“Dearly Beloved, you see before you a man and a woman. But there is more here than meets the eye. God gave to us this passion play to reenact, right here and now, the story of the ages. This is the story of mankind, the one story we have been telling ourselves over and over again, in every great myth and legend and poem and song. It is a love story, set in the midst of desperate times, set in the midst of war. It is a story of a shared quest. It is a story of romance. Daniel and Megan are playing out before you now the deepest and most mythic reality in the world. This is the story of God’s romance with mankind.”
 
I’m curious what the audience is thinking. When John speaks of love and marriage as deeper than fairy tale, what does our heart say in reply? I know the young women listening just said in their hearts, Oh I hope that is true! I long for that to be true! The young men are wondering, If that is true, what is this going to require of me? The older women filter this through the years of our actual marital experience; they are thinking, Hmmm. (It is a mixture of Yes, I once longed for that, and, Perhaps it will come true for her; I wonder if it still might come true for me.) And the older men sitting here now are simply thinking, I wonder if the reception will have an open bar?
 
“You don’t believe me,” John says. “But that’s because we don’t understand fairy tales and we don’t understand the Gospel which they are trying to remind us of. They are stories of danger; they are stories where evil is very, very real. They are stories which require immense courage and sacrifice. A boy and a girl thrown together in some desperate journey. If we believed it, if we actually saw what was taking place right here, right now, we would cross ourselves. We would say desperate prayers, earnest prayers. We would salute them both and we would hold our breath for what happens next. Daniel and Megan, it is time to make your vows. After this, there is no turning back.”
 
I find myself wondering, What did the ancients know, that they placed vows at the core of this ceremony? Did they understand that the crushing weight of all our desire would break a marriage, that we needed something far more substantial to secure this frail union? It makes me think of the Special Forces, vowing their lives to one another as they embark on a perilous mission in dark lands, the outcome of which remains quite uncertain. Vows.
 
“. . . from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance, and forsaking all others, I will be yours alone as long as we both shall live.”
 
The church is now very, very quiet. Only the older couples have any idea what these lovebirds have just promised, bless their hearts. They really believe that their marriage will somehow avert the darker side of the pledge; surely what they have in mind now is all their hopes and dreams of the “for better, richer, in health” parts. We all believed that. But Cortes has just burned his ships, and a good thing, too.
 
Next comes the rings, and John’s charge to the couple. I love this part. What do you say to the young man entering marriage? What do you say to the young woman?
 
“Daniel, you are about to give your life away. You are stepping up, you are volunteering for the toughest assignment a man will ever be given: To offer your heart and your strength to Megan, time and time and time again, for the rest of your days. You have some sense of the weightiness of it. That’s why you have that nervous grin on your face.
But there was a reason they chose young men to send to the beaches at Normandy; they did not for the most part know what was coming. Older men would have been harder to recruit. I will not lie to you—nothing will be harder. And nothing will be richer. My words to you today are: It can be done. And it is worth it. To discover that because of your strength and your sacrifice Megan can become the woman she was meant to be, that somehow your fierce love can free her heart and release her beauty—that is worth what ever this may cost you. By the grace of God, you can do this. You have what it takes.”
 
“Megan, you have dreamed of this day for a long, long time. And now you, also, are about to give your life away. It might seem easy and natural at first, to offer your feminine heart and your vulnerable beauty to Daniel. But do not be deceived. Nothing requires more courage than for a woman to truly offer herself to her man time and time and time again. Look around. Do you see many older women risking this? But I also say to you: It can be done. And it is worth it. To discover that because of your beauty and your sacrifice Daniel can become the man he was meant to be, that somehow your fierce love can free his heart and arouse his strength—that is worth what ever this may cost you. By the grace of God, you can do this. You are that beautiful woman.”

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: It Can Be Done 1

1 Remembering What We Wanted 9

2 Love and War 23

3 A Perfect Storm 40

4 The Greatest Gift You Can Give 57

5 More Than Just Roommates 73

6 How to Have a Really Good Fight 88

7 A Shared Adventure 107

8 Back-to-Back with Swords Drawn 125

9 The Little Foxes 141

10 When Storms Descend 157

11 The Chapter on Sex 175

12 Learning to Love 192

Epilogue 210

Appendix: Prayers 212

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Love and War 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
thesachsgirl More than 1 year ago
"Marriage is fabulously hard." That's one of the first statements that John & Stasi Eldredge make about marriage, and they just get more real from there. They don't sugarcoat things in Love & War, they tell it like it is, and it's not easy. Throughout the book they discuss their own marriage, with honesty and openness that is both refreshing and endearing. You see their own brokenness and heartache, and read how they have worked to keep it together. They talk about how they each contributed to that, how their own individual issues, if you will, contributed to the issues in their marriage, and how they both worked to save what is so dear to them. I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into this book, but once I did it really registered. Whether you are having problems in your marriage or if you are newlyweds who think you never will, this book is for you. If you are engaged and preparing for marriage, this book is for you. Love & War is a true, open, honest look at what marriage is and how it really works. It's not sugarcoated and full of platitudes about how much we have to work but if we do it will be smooth sailing. They are honest that it takes work, and work, and even then work some more. But something beautiful is there, and you can find it, with work. I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group through the Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Reader-Angie More than 1 year ago
While there were some things that I have a different opinion of, for the most part while reading this book--I said WOW. I have one question. WHERE was this book 28 years ago? John and Stasi have gone beyond skimming the surface of the sometimes rough waters of marriage and dove straight down to the heart of so many problems we have as couples. While some writers may hint at some issues they've endured as a married couple, John and Stasi get real. The honesty shared in this book will absolutely shine a light in the dark places of your life where you thought up to now were hopeless. From the nit-picky--to the really difficult relational issues. They cover them all with a rare honesty that will have you recalling many of your own problems--even those you simply brushed aside thinking there was no help for them. If you read and enjoyed Wild at Heart (written by John) or Captivating (John and Stasi), LOVE & WAR is the book you should read as a married couple! I would even recommend it to be read before you tie the marital knot bow. It is the vitamin tonic that will help stave off many marital diseases before you are maritally destroyed. You will even find yourself chuckling at the ridiculousness of some things they share, that is until you remember some of your own laughable times of marital bliss. Not only will this book help the individual, but it will be a great tool for young married Sunday School classes. Read it as a couple, but my advice, get two copies--I have a tendency to highlight and write my own notes by the author's words! My husband would rather read a book before I get my hands on it! This will make a great Valentines gift for any couple!
AnnetteOC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s easy to begin something new excited and optimistic. And then the moment something less-than-perfect happens it might seem like the whole world is crashing down. John and Stasi Eldredge offer guidance to husband and wives who find themselves wondering what went wrong in their marriages. People aren¿t perfect. Instead, the Eldredges point out that people are insecure about themselves, unreasonable in their expectations, and inapt when it comes to effective communication. But they tell us that marriage is used by God to transform us into better people. That means making sacrifices for someone else, even when you¿re not feeling up to it. A union will always face difficulties, but the benefits of having each other through life will be worth the effort. Although this book is directed towards the married demographic, as a single I still found insightful lessons about the right and wrong ways to approach a new relationship.This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
AprilKnarr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great marriage book to read with your spouse.
Coranne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book. The authors write in a style similar to Wild at Heart- a complete mixture of short personal stories, stories of friends, Biblical references, and short but powerful points. The book flows easily and is engaging. I would absolutely reccommend this to any married couple- but especially any couple who is about to be married. I remember thinking to myself "why didn't anyone warn me how hard marriage is?" and now I know- marriage is hard. It is worth it. But God has to come first.I really hope that if you are reading this you give this book a chance. I go back and forth with the authors. I loved Wild at Heart, but thought Captivating was pretty off-target. This book was excellent and will be an excellent resource for my husband in counseling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading it, you need to read it as a couple or it won't work.
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marion-ar More than 1 year ago
This book is being used in my CANA Class, (Couples Achieving Newness Again), at The New Olivet Baptist Church. Kenneth T. Whalum is pastor. Love & War is designed for married couples to examine their marriages inside and out. It gives you insight on how the devil can destroy what GOD has put together if there is no ANNOINTING on your marriage. Love & War is about how to keep the spark going and how to get it back if it is gone. So, if you are looking for Love & War as well as Love after War, this is the book to have. If you want it first hand, come to The New Olivet Baptist Church for Sunday school @ 9:30 am. You won't be disappointed!
Obi-Wan-L More than 1 year ago
To be upfront, I'm not one who raved over John Eldredge's book Wild at Heart like many men did. It didn't connect with me. But I did enjoy Love & War. In it the Eldredges talk about building a marriage that will last.  John and Stasi are very open and honest about the struggles in their marriage, including a couple times when they almost threw in the towel. They share openly about how they turned their marriage around and have weathered the storms--not just for the sake of making marriage last, but for the sake of making a marriage that works. They clearly love eaach other and view their marriage as a place where God is glorified and where they can mminister to others. Anyone who is maried, and who truly desires a better marriage, should read this book.  I recieved a free copy of the book in exchange for the review, but my opinion is unbiased.
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Books-In-Brief More than 1 year ago
Few people have blessed Christians by their words of what it means to be a man or woman of God than authors John and Stasi Eldredge. John, author of Wild at Heart, and Stasi, author of Captivating, team up in their latest book, Love & War, to discuss the realities of Christian marriage and to offer truths they have discovered through their twenty-five years of marriage. Their primary goal is to assure the reader that marriage is indeed difficult but that it is always worth fighting for. For it is when Christian couples dedicate themselves and their marriages to God that they will truly learn to love themselves, their spouse, and others as God intended them to love. A primary theme appears several times throughout the book: "We live in a love story that is set in the midst of a very real war." The love story is twofold; not only does the Bible begin with the marriage of Adam and Eve in Eden and end with the marriage of Christ in Revelation to his bride, the church, but the love story also includes us in that God is at his very essence love (1 John 4:16), that he demonstrated his love for us through his offering of his Son, Jesus Christ, and our greatest commands in the Bible revolve around the idea of love (Luke 10:27, among others). Though the enemy attempts to infiltrate our marriages, God ultimately fulfills his purposes. As a part of a love story in the midst of war, John and Stasi argue that God created marriage to be a "living, breathing portrait laid out before the eyes of the world so that they might see the story of the ages." That is, God uses marriage as "the image of his love for his people, and our love for him." One of the most profound moments I experienced while reading this book was allowing this truth to sink in, to recognize that God gives marriage such an important evangelistic role (and humbly acknowledging that I had not fully appreciated it before). Moreover, I was most moved by a section explaining how God utilizes marriage not only for evangelistic purposes, but to transform those who are married. John and Stasi write: "God lures us into marriage through life and sex and loneliness, or simply the fact that someone finally paid attention - all those reasons that you got married in the first place. It doesn't really matter, he'll do whatever it takes. He lures us into marriage and then uses it to transform us." Though we may enter marriage for any number of reasons (as noble as they might seem), God will use marriage to reveal to us our brokenness and cause us to rely more on him. Overall, John and Stasi Eldredge encourage their readers to reflect upon their marriages and to prayerfully consider the issues contained in the book with their spouse rather than relying on the ever-so-popular "follow these simple steps and experience everlasting joy now" approach. John and Stasi are extremely honest in this book, sharing many stories from their own marriage (both highs and lows). Love & War is an excellent book for couples to read together to consider their own patterns of living, the way they relate to their spouse, the way they interpret their spouse's actions, the way they think about spiritual warfare, and how they can better meet the needs of their spouse - all while seeking the Lord's will together through their marriage.
yolomommy4 More than 1 year ago
Great book, I flip back to it many times,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JanSD More than 1 year ago
Having read and loved Captivating by Stasi Eldredge last year, I had high expectations for Love and War, and it did not disappoint. This book should be required reading for every married couple. honestly, it's that good. The Eldredges start by acknowledging that marriage is fabulously hard, and yet we often treat it as we do our health. doing the bare minimum to get by and hoping for the best. They explain that marriage is a love story set within a war. This war, with the devil, the world and our flesh, is worth fighting. It's a fight for each other, not against, as we often let it become. Sadly, I've known several couples who have divorced because 'they just don't make each other happy anymore.' It's hard work to keep your spouse happy, right? Well, guess what? It can't be done. The Eldredges use scripture to show how the unending love of Christ is what we long for. Once we remove the expectation that our spouse is the source of our happiness, the marriage can be filled with joy. John and Stasi openly share their relationship, the ups and downs, modeling how to deal with brokenness and spiritual attacks. Their short personal stories are refreshingly honest. I appreciate how John and Stasi shared their individual perspectives on various experiences. For me, there were many 'ah-hah' moments throughout the book. In fact, my copy is covered in sticky notes marking points I want to reread again soon. I highly recommend this book to every married couple. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NikoleHahn More than 1 year ago
Love and War: Find Your Way to Something Beautiful in Your Marriage by John and Stasi Eldredge Step One involves a change in our perspective. We take the life we have right now, and we say to ourselves, We are in this together." Pg. 118 It's difficult to read a book aimed at challenging marriages when my marriage is healthy. I am not and never have been "disappointed" in my marriage and never felt "responsible" for his unhappiness when we've always discussed any object of his happiness. Overall, the mix of humor, wisdom and personal experiences make this book ideal for troubled marriages, except for the introduction. Introduction: It Can Be Done goes very slowly. I began to wonder about how this related to the rest of the book and finally after struggling and skipping a couple of pages, I got to the point of the introduction at the end of the book. This caused me to dread the remaining chapters. If the introduction went this slowly, how am I going to get through the rest of the book? Stasi likes to talk. Especially in the morning, as we're heading into the day. Or in the evening, when we are getting ready for bed. I'll be standing in the kitchen in the morning, and she'll start a conversation from the bedroom and she'll just carry right on even though I am running the blender and no rabbit could possibly hear a thing she's saying. Then she'll walk into the room and ask, "Well?" Or at night (from a room away) and I've got the sound of a car wash in my head and I can't discern half of what she's holding forth on. - Pg. 41 John's humor surprised me. He won my favor by simply mentioning that he likes to hunt and loves the outdoors. The humor broke up the seriousness and helped me to relate in most instances. Not in all instances. There is much wisdom in these pages. It's helpful for new marriages and I'd recommend this book to new and troubled marriages; maybe even required reading for those engaged to be married. The writing is good and biblical. The humor fades. The topic gradually became more serious and I interrupted my reading less to read parts of it to my husband (who laughed). The book is written to include both John and Stasi's points of view in the marriage. It was interesting to note the man's point of view in a common marriage discussion. I reached the last chapter about sex and laughed. What Christian book speaks so candidly about sex? It's not x-rated. It's a candid discussion. I was eavesdropping on a conversation between two couples-both empty nestors-about what it's like when the kids are gone: "It's wonderful-we have more time for Bible study," one couple said. Bible study?! Are you crazy? "We get to walk around the house naked and make love whenever we want!" the other couple said. - Pg. 176 While the book (for me) was difficult towards the end to finish I did finish it. Except for the introduction it was well written, well thought out and well organized. If your marriage is troubled I would recommend this book. After all, the vows you made on your wedding day aren't to be taken lightly. Book provided by the publisher. All book reviews are objective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ChristianMomBookReview More than 1 year ago
John and Stasi Eldredge have been married for over twenty five years, and know without a doubt, that marriage is difficult. The premise of this book is that marriage can be wonderful, but also is "fabulously hard". By using their real life experiences, John and Stasi both contribute wisdom in this book by sharing how God (and the Enemy) has worked in their marriage. They candidly share their faults and sin issues that led to deep hurts and struggles in their marriage. They bring biblical truths in showing what God purposes for marriage (not your personal happiness!)to bring reality to the reader.It is sobering to realize through the chapters how much work marriage really is and how much continual effort is involved for the LONG HAUL. They do cite that although many marriages do stay together, they are loveless and lifeless. As they have done in their other books, I enjoy their life perspective that this journey is an adventure, one to be lived with a courageous and adventurous heart. Since I have personally experienced the negative side of marriage from a past divorce and also am experiencing a marriage that is full of life, I felt that their input was spot on. I love all of their books, and recommend all of them.I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago