I put off reading this book for probably over a year. My mom gave it to me. I read every other book I had and when I finally ran out I picked it up. This book rocked my world! God knew when I needed to read it, it was the perfect time. He is so good! So I give a fair warning, you will not read this book and continue with the status quo in your marriage, at least you shouldn't. The premise of the book is that marriage is not for our happiness but for holiness. (Did you just read that and think What?!) Oh this book was so hard to read, so hard to swallow, I was convicted on every page. I think everyone needs to read this because who doesn't want their marriage to be better? I'm blessed to be in a marriage with an amazing man but there is always, always room for growth. This book pointed out how much room there is. "Romantic love has no elasticity to it. It can never be stretched; it simply shatters. Mature love, the kind demanded of a good marriage, must stretch, as the sinful human condition is such that all of us bear conflicting emotions." Good marriages must have some give in them to last, they can not be rigid or they will break. "If the purpose of marriage was simply to enjoy an infatuation and make me 'happy,' then I'd have to get a 'new' marriage every two or three years. But if I really wanted to see God transform me from the inside out, I'd need to concentrate on changing myself rather than on changing my spouse. In fact, you might even say, the more difficult my spouse proved to be, the more opportunity I'd have to grow." How many people leave a marriage because their spouse is just not making them happy? We hear this all the time. What if they decided to let God work on them instead of how their spouse needed to change? "As long as a couple is married, they continue to display-however imperfectly-the ongoing commitment between Christ and His church." "How can I tell my children that God's promise of reconciliation is secure when they see that my own promise doesn't mean a thing? They may get over it, but in that case I will have presented a roadblock rather than a stepping-stone to the gospel." Ouch, right? "The first reason I keep my marriage together is because it is my Christian duty. If my life is based on proclaiming God's message to the world, I don't want to do anything that would challenge that message. And how can I proclaim reconciliation when I seek dissolution?" I tell you, there are some powerful words in this book. "In a society where relationships are discarded with a frightening regularity, Christians can command attention simply by staying married." That in itself speaks volumes! "We show our love for God in part by loving our spouses well." "My wife was created by God Himself! How dare I dishonor her? In fact, shouldn't it even give me pause before I reach out to touch her? She is the Creator's daughter, after all!" Powerful! This goes for our husbands too. We are all His children. How can I treat His child less than I would want to be treated? Makes you see your spouse differently doesn't it? "Husbands, you are married to a fallen woman in a broken world. Wives, you are married to a sinful man in a sinful world." This really stuck with me. I can't have a perfect marriage this side of heaven because we live in a fallen world. That helps ease the pressure I put on myself and the expectations I have for my husband. "Godliness is selflessness, and when a man and a woman marry, they are pledging to stop viewing themselves as individuals and start viewing themselves as a unit, as a couple." So what I want isn't what matters anymore, it is what we want, together that matters. "What marriage had done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin." Yuck. "We don't like what we've done or become; we've let selfish and sinful attitudes poison our thoughts and lead us into shameful behaviors, and suddenly all we want is out. The mature response, however, is not to leave; it's to change-ourselves." Oh boy, tough stuff. "Sin is a reality in this fallen world. It's how we respond to it that will determine whether our marriages become a casualty statistic or a crown of success. I want mine to be a crown of success, I don't want to be another statistic. "How hard does a heart have to be to not be moved by the suffering of someone you once loved?" "Don't abort your history with the spouse whom God has called you to love." "When you entered this relationship of marriage, you committed to keep moving toward your spouse. Any step back, any pause, any retreat, is an act of fraud." This is another one that really hit me. If we aren't stepping toward our spouse we aren't helping our marriage. Sometimes I just don't step. I didn't see that as wrong but in reality it is. Doing nothing, not moving towards is not moving and then it's not for my marriage. "All of us face struggles, and each one of us is currently facing a struggle that we're having less than one hundred percent success overcoming. If we're married, the fact is we're also married to someone who is failing in some way." "What are we doing each day for our spouse that involves sacrifice? What are you doing each day for your spouse that is costing you something?" Such good questions, such hard questions. Questions that make me uncomfortable. "Marital dissatisfaction, on whatever level, is best met with the prayer, 'That's why I need you, O God.'" Our spouse can't be everything to us, only God can. "A spiritually alive marriage will remain a marriage of two individuals in pursuit of a common vision outside themselves." There's that selflessness again. There is so much in this book. Sorry this is so long. I think everyone, everyone, should read this, and read it again. I plan on reading it a second time with someone else so that we can discuss it together. I want to buy a boxful of these books and pass them on. It will change you. It needs to change us, our marriages need changing.