From This Day Forward is a simple but effective book on how to have a lasting marriage. Many Christians like to point their fingers at the gays and homosexuals saying they are ruining marriage. However, they are not ruining it. Who is ruining marriage then? Those heterosexuals who fail to live up to the commitments they made at the altar. Love is tossed around as a simple feeling or emotion. While it can be that, love is a choice and a commitment. I once heard it said “You do not fall in love, you fall in holes.” This is definitely something I have come to see in my own marriage. I did not fall in love with my wife, I chose to love her. Yes we had all those great feelings and emotions that all couples experience on their journey towards marriage but we also came to the conclusion that love is more than those butterflies in our stomachs, it is a choice, and it is a choice we made to love each other.
Unfortunately, many “Christians” are falling for the world’s idea of love over God’s. What this means is the church has been infiltrated with the wrong idea of love. Marriages are crumbling within the church just like it is outside of the church. Divorce is mentioned more often than it should be within the church. It is even seen as a way out if your spouse fails in some area or another. Instead of sticking through thick and thin, divorce is seen as an escape route. Craig and Amy address this in From This Day Forward.
This book does not break any new ground and or share any amazing new secret or wisdom to a happy marriage, but it is written in a practical and encouraging way to challenge couples that even though hard times can and will come, it is still possible to have a happy marriage. In the book, they address five commitments couples, whether married, dating or engaged, should make to fail proof your marriage. The five commitments are 1-Seek God, 2-Fight Fair, 3-Have Fun, 4-Stay Pure, and 5-Never Give Up. As you notice, these commitments are not rocket science and you have probably heard them mentioned before, but married couples would do well to actually commit to remember and practice them. If this were to happen within the church, I could almost guarantee that the church would be a happier and more welcoming place. Can you imagine a community coming together often who were practicing these five commitments? Wow. It would be amazing to see this happen. Imagine a church where married couples only spoke positively about their spouse to other people? Imagine a church where couples spoke of how they loved each other? Imagine if even the jesting and joking among married couples were to cease? Younger people would get a better idea of what marriage is supposed to be about. When we first star dating someone, we do not even think about joking on them like married couples do after marriage. And when we get engaged we do not suddenly begin to talk negatively about them, even to other people. But it seems after being married for so many years, it becomes natural for couples to begin talking and joking about each other to other people. Who is hurt in these jests? Those younger people hearing us talk about marriage in this manner. If this is what happens when someone gets married, then why should I get married? I would just rather date someone so we can stay in love. That is what we are simply telling younger people when we act this way.
In these five commitments, a foundation is laid for a strong marriage. But it takes commitment and choosing to live according to these commitments. This has to be a daily choice for both spouses to make towards each other and to remember constantly, even in the heat of the moment when a fight or argument seems imminent. Marriage takes work, but Craig and Amy in this book lay these five commitments as foundations for any marriage. Let me share with you a couple quotes from the book that stood out to me:
“Become the kind of person you would like to marry…I will seek the One while I prepare for my two” (p. 28).
“Imagine how hard it must be to divorce someone you’re genuinely seeking God with. What are the odds that God’s direction to you is going to be, ‘Yeah, you should just split up’? Not likely” (p. 42).
“All couple fight, but healthy couples fight fair” (p. 53).
“One of the best ways you and your spouse can become slow to anger is by communicating regularly and honestly when you’re not facing conflict…work on your marriage during non-conflict times” (p. 61).
“When you’re married, fun is not a luxury; it’s a requirement…Without romance, without adventure – without fun – marriage is reduced to a simple business arrangement” (p. 85).
“We decided that our marriage will be as good as we decide it will be” (p. 141).
That last quote I feel sums up the main theme going through this book: if you want to have a great marriage, decide to make it great. Most things of great substance in someone’s life do not happen as an accident, it happens as a result of making choices. So if you want to have a great marriage, decide to make it great. Do not wait to see if it happens because if you wait, it will pass you by and you will miss out on years of fun as a married couple.
From This Day Forward is a great book and one I will use in the future when counseling and talking with couples getting married as well as couples already married. I also recommend singles read it as well. This book will go right up there with another book I reviewed called True Love Dates. So if you are dating and expecting to get married, engaged, or already married, pick this book up and read through it with your spouse and practice what it teaches. Choose to have a great marriage.
In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of by Zondervan in exchange for this review.