What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage is one of the best books on marriage that I’ve read so far (and I’ve read many) and I’m adding it to my top reads for 2010.
I think this book would be great for newlyweds, but it’s impact might be more for couples that have been married for a while. At the start of a marriage, you might be tempted to think you are really really special and nothing will ever get in the way of your super awesome love story. It’s sort of like the response parents of newborns give to parenting books “well thank goodness we will NEVER have to deal with that!” I know, I’ve been there. After a few years, even if things are going pretty well, you might have a better understanding of what you’re up against.
Even if you’re blessed with a pretty solid marriage, this book will help you because the author, Paul David Tripp, points out that one of the precursors to a bad marriage is a good marriage. When your marriage is going well, you are tempted to start coasting, to stop trying so hard, to stop focusing on what you need to do to build up your marriage, and as a result things start to fray. Your selfishness gets in the way, your desire to be sovereign over your own life gets in the way, you forget that you need God’s grace in every single day of your marriage because you are a sinner married to a sinner, not a perfect person married to a perfect person.
In this book, Tripp digs deeply into the roots of marriage and offers sound biblical advice for rebuilding or strengthening your marriage, whatever shape it’s in currently. The book will challenge you and convict you, but it will also give you hope. It’s not a simple prescription like “buy her flowers once a week” or “have date night,” rather the book gives deeper and more lasting guidance on how to handle your own sin problems, fix your relationship with God, and rightly understand your relationship to your spouse.
The author, Paul Tripp, is a pastor at Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia and also runs a speaking ministry. We had the opportunity to hear him speak at a marriage conference at our church and got a lot out of it, and this book goes into even more depth than the conference did. I would highly, highly recommend What Did You Expect? to you no matter what state or stage you are in marriage.
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