I’ve heard myself talking about this book so much in the last two months that it’s time I talked about it with you. It’s called You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan:
There are plenty of great reviews of the book online, so I’ll let you peruse those here. A major theme in the reviews is that this is not a typical book full of advice to improve your marriage. It’s a book about getting your perspective on life and focus on God straight. A byproduct of that is an improved marriage. For example, if you really lived life with eternity in mind, you probably wouldn’t get as caught up in the petty, selfish details that can run rampant in a marriage.
Really, he says it A LOT better. Because he’s Francis. It’s in the intro. I recommend reading at least that much!
Instead of a general review, I want to talk about one point in particular that stuck with me: humility. As a Christian, I try to be like Jesus. I try to think and do and love like He does. I fail all the time. I mean, Jesus was everything good (and nothing bad). The expectation isn’t that I’ll ever be 100% like Jesus, but that I keep trying. Still, it’s overwhelming. Where do you even start in an effort to love perfectly? In chapter 3, Francis says:
Both Lisa and I believe that more than any other attribute of Jesus, His humility is the key to a healthy marriage. If two people make it their goal to imitate the humility of Christ, everything else will take care of itself. It really is that simple. Arguments escalate when we want to be right more than we want to be Christ. It is easy to get blinded in the heat of disagreements. Soon, all we want is to win, even if victory requires sin. The one who wins the argument is usually the one who acts less like Christ.
Like Francis, I love sports and I am competitive and I hate losing. But when I am told that “the pride required to win your argument and defeat your ‘enemy’ provides you with a new opponent: God,” that causes me to pause.
Pit myself against God?
Yes. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”
Yeah, no thanks.
I read it, I shared this thought with my friend Kim, and then… I totally flung it aside a couple days later as I stormed down the stairs, ready to give Ben a piece of my mind.
To be honest, I don’t even remember what I was upset about and what I said. I just remember that one moment, I was lying in bed, stewing over something. The next moment, I was trying to talk myself out of confronting Ben about it, because I knew it was out of pride and I knew I was in no state of mind to have a calm and reasonable discussion.
Thirty seconds later found me stomping quietly down the stairs (there is such a thing- when you are upset but don’t want to wake the baby), one imaginary shoulder angel telling me “STOP STOP you’re inviting God’s opposition- look at your motives, they are selfish and prideful!” and the other shoulder egging me on, “GO GO GO GIVE HIM A PIECE OF YOUR MIND.”
So I did. I opened the door and spewed out my discontent.
And about ten seconds later, his short but humble response left me gaping at the doorway.
Really, I have no idea what I was upset about anymore. Or what he said. I just remember standing at the door, frowning, completely at a loss for words.
This happens about… never.
Which led Ben to give me a weird look and ask, “So… are you going to say something?”
And after standing there mute for a few more seconds, the strangest words came tumbling out of my mouth: “I just… feel… humbled.”
What did that even mean?!
This was too weird. I turned around and went back upstairs.
Okay fine, God. You win.
And in a strange way, I was thankful for this. I was partly thankful that God’s opposition wasn’t something more severe, and also that I could see firsthand the power of humility. Humility and power are usually seen as opposites, but in a marriage, few things are more powerful than humility. Power to heal, power to silence, and power to win. And I’m not talking about me winning in our marriage. I’m talking about us winning at marriage.
I’m pretty sure that in about ten minutes, I will face another opportunity to choose humility over self, and I hope I keep making the right choice. Jesus was never about coming here to be served, but to serve and give up his life for others. This is as good a place as any to start in trying to love better.
You can buy the paperback or Kindle book on Amazon. You can download the Audio version on Audible. You can also download the app for FREE (look up “You and Me Forever”) which includes all of the text and audio… and the ability to share your highlights/responses with someone else (like your spouse). So why would you buy the book on Kindle if you can get it for free in the app? Well, I did it because… I didn’t know about the app at the time. Haha… but really, I do like having all my highlights in one place, and also I don’t mind that I spent the extra money since Francis is known to donate his book profits to charities anyway. I can get behind that.