I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher.
I don’t know if you have watched Jeff Bethke’s “My Wedding Toast – How Marriage Is Just a Shadow” on YouTube. Go watch if you have not. Anyways, I remember when I did a few years ago, I had a hard time stopping myself from crying.
Perhaps I was just a girl too prone to tears. But his entire presentation of how his wedding with Alyssa is just a foreshadow of the one that is to come was so captivating. I was even more moved by how excited he was, for not just his wedding with Alyssa, but for the one to come. Not that I have been to many weddings, but I indeed have never heard a man in his early 20s speak about marriage so truthfully and beautifully.
And fast forward, we now have this book, Love That Lasts: How We Discovered God’s Better Way for Love, Dating, Marriage, and Sex, from the Bethkes. This book feels like an expansion of that video message based on the journey of Jeff and Alyssa over the past years.
This book did not make me cry like the video did, but it made me laugh and “aww” out loud many times. And with its humour, Jeff and Alyssa paint the glorious picture of marriage that is often missed in our culture marked by loneliness, anxiety, pornography, and hook-ups with a story-telling structure.
Just as Jeff writes, “We can’t miss the truth found in that beautiful divine and mysterious and glorious moment. That when He created us and all the uniqueness of male and female bodies, He was choosing to communicate something about Himself.” (pg. 27) From Adam and Eve to Christ and the Church, our earthly marriage is in the end an expression of Him and His love for us.
And just as Alyssa writes, Jeff, as his husband, ultimately does not complete her; rather, he compliments her. The Lord Jesus is the one who fills her (pg. 74). As an individual, our true satisfaction comes from the Lord, not our spouse. Or else, it will turn into idolatry.
Perhaps you are someone who is not into reading. Perhaps you have come across many books that give you burdensome rules on dating (there are many out there). But Love That Lasts is different – it is an engaging and worthwhile read filled with life and grace that shows you (and your spouse, if any) don’t have to become more spiritual by being less human (borrowing Eugene Peterson here). I’d especially recommend it to high school students and people in their 20s-30s.
P.S. In the “Further Reading” Section, the Bethkes have listed Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage and Frank Viola’s From Eternity To Here. I am advertising for my two favourite authors here as well: take a read of these two books! Perhaps buy all these three books together form a “love-trilogy” 🙂