Review and Reflection of A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas

 

Lifelong Love, Book Review, Love, Marriage

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Review and Reflection of A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas

I enjoy reading and I find it to be a luxury when I have extra time to pick up a book. There generally are three or four (or five) books stacked on my night stand at differing points of completion. Probably not very efficient but when I get the opportunity to read I want options!

Within the stack is often an easy-reading fiction, a fictional classic, a Christian Living book on a various topic, and a book that I believe would increase my therapy abilities and/or benefit my clients.

I picked up A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas to fit a few categories. As a Christian mental health therapist I often work with married couples and I’ve been married for ten years so win/win!

Gary Thomas has written multiple books, however Sacred Marriage has been his most popular, so I was interested in his follow-up marriage book.

A Lifelong Love is split into three parts.

Part One: The Magnificent Obsession

Gary describes a magnificent obsession as, “A marriage that grows ever deeper over time; as God shapes our hearts to desire Him, He is also, in the work, shaping our hearts to desire and enjoy each other.”

I love the interwoven nature of this definition! The more we seek God, the more we desire Him. The more we work on our marriage, the more we glorify God. The combined efforts actually help us to love our spouse more.

Gary provides multiple insights and perspectives during part one to help us increase this magnificent obsession. I will describe two but there were many others that I found beneficial.

As we are all sons and daughters to God, Gary poses that we should view God as our Father-in-Law. He gave the example of a son-in-law praising the father-in-law and giving him great respect but not properly care for the daughter, his wife. The father-in-law wouldn’t care about all of the praise, he would want the son-in-law to care for his daughter.

Another perspective shift was to view your husband as your son and you, then, as your daughter-in-law. Would you be happy with how your daughter-in-law was treating your son? What would you want her to do instead?

These are powerful exercises to pull yourself out of the situation and view your actions from a more objective stance.

Part Two: Growing Together

In part two, Gary focuses on growing together. I loved his words, “No other couple has your gifts, your weaknesses, your history, your dynamics, your children, and your calling.” He described there is freedom in accepting our couple identity.

This is so true! Often I am encouraging my clients to not compare there marriage to the other couples in their church or community. We don’t know everything that is going on in their life. We also don’t have the same set of circumstances and skill sets.

This is why there really is no “right way” to communicate and interact that works for all couples.

Gary Thomas tackles multiple issues during the section that can potentially hinder couples from growing together. He takes on sexual intimacy, the addition of a baby, power shifts, empty nest, honesty, vulnerability and more. It’s a rich section!

One aspect in this section that I particularly found beneficial was the posing of two different questions and how they have significantly different impacts on the marriage. They are “How can I bless you?” or “How can I get my needs met?”

Too often marriages in our society are focusing on the second question and completely missing out on the beauty of the first. If nothing else from this post or the entire A Lifelong Love book, please walk away with that tidbit to chew on.

Part Three: The Journey Towards Love

Gary writes, “For Christians, a weak, lukewarm love is not enough. We are to become a people who excel not just at loving but at loving deeply, from the heart. And marriage can teach us to do just that.”

This is what I want in my own marriage and I hope this is what you want in yours as well. I want to love my husband deeply everyday! And I have come to realize, as the book also echoes, this is an active choice on a daily basis!

Gary poses, “Ask yourself a question, but pause before you answer it: Why did you get married?” If we are being honest with ourselves our answer is generally all about selfishness! When I said, “Yes” to my husband it was not out of a desire to glorify God.

Part three focuses on how to shift that selfish perspective to one that alters our view of love and puts God as the focus and center. God designed marriage to be that way and the result is a more loving and intimate marriage as well.

Thoughts

I personally enjoyed A Lifelong Love but I am judicious with the couples I recommend this book to. I see this book to be beneficial for couples who have a relatively strong marriage foundation and an even stronger personal relationship with God.

Gary acknowledges the book is not a how-to, step-by-step manual but larger, but rather broader principles and insights to bring into your spiritual and marriage life.

I hope this post sparks a desire to seek a marriage that is about more than just staying together but developing and creating a lifelong love!

Check out my other book reviews and reflections on some of my favorite books – Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge, Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst, Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

God bless!

Melissa

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About Melissa

Melissa is a Christian mental health therapist, wife and mommy of two. She works with children, teens, adults, and couples to better manage their distress and hopefully become closer to God in the process.

22 comments on “Review and Reflection of A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas

    • Thank you for your kind words. I hope you enjoy the book and find it beneficial if you choose to read it. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! God bless!

  1. I loved Sacred Marriage, and now I’m interested in reading A Lifelong Love! I like that concept of “couple identity.” It’s entirely too easy to slip into comparing and wanting to be the “best couple.” Thanks for this review!

    • Comparing can be detrimental in all aspects of our lives! We were not created to be anyone else nor is our marriage. Thank you for reading and commenting! God bless!

    • There are definitely parts of the book that make you have a bit of a gut check. I would be interested in your thoughts after you read the book. Thank you for commenting! God bless!

    • Thank you for the kind words. The book is quite good and challenging. I hope you enjoy the book and thank you for commenting! God bless!

  2. I must read this book, too. I like the jolting thought of, if you had a son and his wife was acting like you are acting, would you be pleased. I would actually try to get through to my son to repent of his sin so that his wife didn’t have to be in agony.

    • Ha! True although I’m sure there are times I am acting less than stellar and my husband has not done anything to cause it. Thank you for reading and commenting! God bless!

  3. Thanks for this book recommendation! It looks great. I think the magnificent obsession sounds like something I’d like in both relationships…to grow closer to God and my husband.

    • It’s a good but but it definitely challenges some ways of thinking! I hope you enjoy it if you choose to pick it up. Thank you for reading and commenting! God bless!

  4. I would love to read this! Holy moly, I have so many books that I’m reading right now that it’s difficult to get another one at this time. But thanks for the great review and the recommendation! I will add this to my list:)

    • I have a whole stack of unread books in my room waiting to be read! I really need more bookcases! I think you will enjoy the book whenever you get the chance! Thank you for reading and commenting! God bless!

  5. I am in my early twenties; I might be very many years away from marriage but I can tell that these are good tips and I will try to remember to follow them. God bless you for sharing.

    • My biggest advice for whenever the day comes is to keep in mind WHY you are wanting to get married. Thank you for reading and commenting! God bless!

  6. What a great book review! I have always enjoyed Gary Thomas. I look at my parents who have been married for 60 years and I see those attributes in their marriage of how can I bless you and what can I do to meet your needs. It wasn’t always like this, but as they have grown in the Lord so has their love for one another. Now, they hate to be apart from one another. Their marriage has taught me many things over the years, and I am grateful for their love and obedience to God.

    • Thank you for your kind words. What a wonderful gift your parents gave you to see what a God centered marriage can look like. Sadly, there are not nearly enough children to experience that gift. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! God bless!

    • I agree. In order to grow in our marriage we must first work on growing in our relationship with God and our marriage will benefit. Thank you for reading and commenting! God bless!

  7. Gweyn thomas is a great author and proponent of Marriage God’s way. Sacred marriage is one of my favorites. We just finished going through cherished as well.

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