Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Book Review: The Intimate Mystery

In this post, I wrote about my plans to participate in the "From the Stacks" Winter Reading Challenge. All I can say is that January is halfway over; and 1 down, 4 to go. I'm tryin' here, people, work with me!

The Intimate Mystery by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman is a thin book and an enjoyable read that basically answers the question "What is marriage?" What I liked most about this book is that it isn't at all a black-and-white approach, giving pat answers and wrapping them up in a bow. It acknowledges the complexity of a man and a woman and the mystery and wonder that ensues when the two are united as one in marriage. The authors also discuss marriage as God's design and that it is His plan to use marriage to draw us closer to Him. Quite beautiful, actually.

Rather than give a long book report, I thought I would close with my favorite passage of the book. It comes from a chapter entitled, "Connecting Communication".

A marriage is a womb of stories. This matrix generates new lives and stories, and in it old stories are brought to a point of completion and redemption. A couple will never become wed in the fullest sense of the word until they become each other's favorite stroyteller and listener.

Stories are meant to run the gamut from a glimpse into the day's activities, to mythic tall tales of one's family's origin, to the glories and tragedies of ones' personal and corporate past. In our culture a family is inevitably surrounded by stories as the television drones its tiresome fare, DVDs are replayed and music hints at stories embedded in its lyrics. We can't escape stories, nor would we want to, but few married couples make use of their stories for the sake of intertwining their souls....

The intertwining of stories past and present brings the deepest sense of closeness we will feel with another human being. If we deprive one another of significant stories, then we also keep our souls from being woven together.


Cherry said...

What a timely book for you to be reading.

That really is a great passage. Communication really is such an key part of any relationship. I love having something happen in my day and I immediatly want to tell Eric, good or bad. He is a great listener, and sometimes I need to remember to listen as patiently as he, as I get impatient when he very carefully crafts his message.

I think it is great that you are reading books like these. We find them inspirational, a good reminder to be kind or ourselves and others, and also make for great conversations that you may not think to have until something arrises. Has eSuitor read it?

Starshine said...

Thanks for your comment, Cherry! eSuitor has read it, and it has made for some great discussions. :)

Ally Bean said...

I agree that the ability to tell and listen to each other stories is vital to a good marriage. But what is also vital is the ability to remember each other's stories so that you each feel understood.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen fights start between couples with the words, "well, I told you that when we...." Not good.

J said...

That's a great passage, and sounds like a great book. :) I'm glad that you and esuitor are on the same page, and that you are both practicing those listening skills, as Ally Bean mentioned.

Have you guys had a big fight yet? Sometimes I think that how we recover from a fight can be very telling.

I was thinking of you this morning, wondering how your dad is doing. Well, I hope.

beenzzz said...

That passage really spoke to me. It's true, the only way to become close to anyone is to bring our past experiences and current experiences together into one collective. Thanks for posting this!

ML said...

"A couple will never become wed in the fullest sense of the word until they become each other's favorite stroyteller and listener."

No kidding. Love this passage you picked out of the book. It is so true!

Buttercup said...

I like the image of marriage as a union of two souls intertwined. Beautiful.