I read a lot of books about relationships in my late teens and early twenties.  Enough to know that they aren’t all helpful and encouraging.  And they most definitely are not all must-reads.

When I got married, there were the few books I didn’t pack — the ones I kept handy for reference as I started on that new venture of being a wife, his wife!  But it took a few years of marriage for me to come across some of my now all-time favorite books on marriage, and even more for me to hone down my list of must-reads.

Once in a while, though, I’ll find yet another that simply has to be read by every married couple.  Gary and Betsy Ricucci’s Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace is one such book.

What happens when you combine the belief that your theology (what you think about God) should affect every aspect of your life, with a passionate desire for the best for your marriage?  Love That Lasts.

Love That Lasts reminds me a lot of Feminine Appeal, and indeed the Ricuccis often quote the books of C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney.  (It’s neat to know that the other two books which have had such a positive impact on our marriage are written by a couple who is so in love with each other and with the Lord that everyone else points to them as an example — even in published books!)  But the beauty of Love That Lasts is that it is written to and from both the husband and the wife, and makes the perfect book to read together.

In fact, it is the kind of book that, if read together by a couple who desire to obey God and love each other, will change your marriage.  It is the kind of book that reminds you no marriage will have ever “arrived” — being married is a daily commitment to selflessly serving each other.  It is the kind of book that you want to read slowly in order to absorb its lessons.  It is the kind of book that will challenge you as it encourages you.

Obviously, some of it is timeless wisdom you may have heard or read before: but it is compiled in such a short, easy-to-read book that it feels as if you’re reading it for the first time.  Other themes of their book are those that are not so popular in the “relationship section” of the average Christian bookstore.  And that is why this book is such a gem.

…men and women are equal, just as the Father and the Son are equal.  And when the Son serves the Father, he is not in the least diminished by his service… To submit with joy to our husbands is to be like Christ, who submits joyfully to the Father.  Submission follows and reflects the pattern of the Trinity!  (Love That Lasts, p. 58)

I’ve read plenty of books filled with stories of marital problems.  The Ricuccis take a better approach: they show you the good, the holy, the biblical why’s and how’s of loving each other.  They inspire you to change without making you feel like a failure.  They give you practical ideas without being so specific it doesn’t apply to your marriage.

Marriage is not about a deliriously happy couple getting to the altar in a flush of excitement…and then spending fifty years merely relishing the memories of an intoxicating engagement.  One of the great joys of marriage is realizing that the wedding isn’t nearly the ultimate in closeness.  It’s only the beginning!  God created us to communicate, and the real adventure of relational intimacy simply awaits our ongoing cooperation with the grace of God.  When we pursue communication and fellowship with humility and honesty and spiritual discourse, there is no limit to the breadth and depth of relational intimacy we can enjoy! (Love That Lasts, p. 78)

Love that Lasts is now at the top of my must-read-books-on-marriage list, right along with Feminine Appeal (which is a great read for women of all ages, married or single).  If you are engaged or married, read Love that Lasts.  It can’t help but improve your relationship with your spouse — and your Savior.  (And check out these free MP3 message downloads from the Ricuccis, as well.)

What is one thing you’ve learned about relationships? (Please comment and tell us about your own “must-read” marriage books, too!)

(Congratulations to Clariss on her upcoming marriage — and for winning the giveaway copy of Love That Lasts.)

21 Comments

  1. Completely agree with Raquel: “One thing I’ve learned in two months of marriage is that the temptation to let whole hearted submission lapse is rarely in the big issues.” So true!!

    I’ve been married just over six months. I’ve learned that there is no perfect model for what a submissive helpmeet looks like. As much as I would like a cookie cutter to fit into and copy, God didn’t create marriage to be that way. Every marriage is different, my husband and I have been made uniquely for one another, and I need to lean on the Lord’s wisdom and strive to learn my husband’s needs in order to be a wife that is a blessing to him.

  2. This is a splendid site full of insight. I will be married to the man God has for me in the right moment. Unless He changes me or my significant other I see myself marrying him in the future. It was interesting the other night Dillon said he likes when I’m not my typical self and I do let him know I’m frustrated. In those times he can hear what I feel and understand me more fully. This makes me see that it’s okay to express myself even when it’s “not important” to me…it seems to be important to him. If we are engaged (hopefully not 2 more years until that point) then this would be a book we must read.
    In Christ

    Jessica Lynn

  3. I’ve learned that God’s ways are perfect and His imagination is far beyond my list making. He knows just what I need in a life partner. Also, I’m in the process of learning that expectations can be harmful.

    1. oops, not currently in a relationship… just read that.

  4. Since our marriage I’ve learned that it’s always much better to talk about anything that may be bothering me than to let it sit and fester. I tend to internalize things, and even if something may not have to do with us necessarily, I can’t be a God glorifying wife to my sweet husband if I’m sulking.

  5. I have learned to be patient when it comes to the Lord’s timing in relationships. I am engaged to be married in June this year, but my fiance and I have known each other for almost 8 years now! Our relationship grew from the acquaintance level, to friends, to a purposeful relationship, to courting, to engaged, and soon to be married, and because of his schooling it just wasn’t the right time to take the next step so soon in previous years. The Lord taught us both a lot as we waited and we know that God’s timing is SO perfect. I look forward to being married and seeing what God has planned for us! God is SO GOOD!

  6. I’ve been married just over two months now, and one thing I’ve learned is to turn opportunities for frustration into occasions for praise. For example, when I have to clean my husband’s clothes off of the bedroom floor or his whiskers from the bathroom sink, I choose to take a moment right then and thank God for giving me to the sweet man who left them there.
    Any thought of grumbling about those insignificant annoyances has been nipped in the bud, and I end up instead entertaining loving thoughts of my husband and gratitude for the chance to serve him.

  7. The one thing I have learned is that I still have a lot of growing to do, I always come away from spending time with my fiance seeing my short comings. Also I am really learning to try to listen to him much more, no we aren’t married yet, but we will be shortly. I have never had the strong, Godly father that I would even want to submit to, but having a man you trust makes you want to submit so much more.

  8. A friend asked me recently how marriage has been different than I anticipated….and after some thought, I could only sum it up by saying “The highs are higher and the lows are lower!” The highs – the moments full of joy in one anothers’ companionship – are so much more beautiful than I dreamed. And the lows – the times of working through struggles – are much more painful than I thought they’d be. Yet even those times are priceless in the way the Lord grows us closer to each other and to Him if we let Him.

  9. I’m learning that my husband most always has a good reason, and if I get upset with him I’ll regret it later! Also I’ve learned that he has needs too – he gets discouraged, wonders if he’s doing the right thing, get tired and stressed – and I can hurt him a lot by assuming that he’s perfect and should just help me with me weaknesses. Even the strongest men need support and encouragement!

  10. I’ve been married for 8 months already! Holey Moley! haha. But, I have learned to pray with him. It sounds silly (well… obvious!) , but praying with him always keeps God in our relationship, as well as helps us communicate. If we remember to pray together, we end up talking about issues and important things more often!

  11. I’ve learned to never go to bed angry with my husband. He won’t let me try anyway!

  12. I’ve learned that loving feelings come from loving actions, and not the other way around!

  13. One thing I’ve learned in two months of marriage is that the temptation to let whole hearted submission lapse is rarely in the big issues. The things we talked over intensely during courtship are settled, and I *know* how I need to submit on those. The unexpectedly differing viewpoints on how long food might be good past the expiration date seem small enough at first glance that it’s tempting to just do what I want to do instead what I know my husband wants me to do. It’s so important to keep open communication and a godly attitude about everything, and most especially the small things!

  14. Hello friends,

    I can’t enter, because I’m in Canada, but I just wanted to make a quick comment about that. I am so excited to see these great opportunities being given for young women to be preparing for marriage, and I know my own life is headed in that direction soon. Seeing the LORD unfold all of this in His timing is so perfect, and it reminds me that the focus of every area of our relationship must be HIM, Jesus, alone.

    The thing is, I really don’t think it is very fair to be limiting these giveaways to the US only. I understand shipping difficulties, but it is very segregating and favouring to people living in only a certain part of the world. Perhaps this is something to be prayed over? Thanks!

    Take care, and God bless you all for your work,
    Sheila

    1. I do understand and appreciate your frustration, Sheila. Unfortunately, when the majority of our book giveaways are donated by the author or others, we can’t ask them to be responsible for that kind of expense. Nor can the limited funding of a ministry like ours take on international shipping rates. On the rare occasions that we do order the books new for giveaway, we will consider using BookDepository.com and opening the giveaways to anywhere that they ship for free. But I’m afraid you won’t see that happening very often. I’m sorry.

  15. I would love to get to read that book! I’m getting married this summer to the most wonderful young man. One of the most important things that I’ve learned about my [future] marriage relationship is that God uses marriage for SO many great things besides just companionship. God uses your relationship to sanctify you, show you your uglies, humble you, and make you even more amazed at the grace He has shown to us. It’s a beautiful thing that you get to experience with the person you love the most.

  16. I’ve learned that you must always make an effort to treat your loved ones BETTER than you treat strangers…it should never be the other way around.

  17. One thing that I have learned about relationships is that it is important to talk through the areas causing tension in your relationship. Take time to find out each other’s point of view. When you understand where the other person is coming from, it often will help you to find a solution. You might even discover that the other person has a legitimate reason for doing what they are doing and that they aren’t just trying to make your life difficult!

    My sweetheart and I are planning to get married, so I can use all of the marriage advice I can get!

  18. In the midst of a relationship heading towards marriage… and what I’ve learned is that I must simply obey God. And He will care for me. Less worry, more prayer. 🙂 And that love is beautiful. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. Mitzi Robles says:

    I’ve learned never to go to bed angry.

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