I (Nick) have the privilege of being in charge of our bookstore here at CrossWay. And as I was thinking about how we might promote the books in our bookstore it occurred to me that it might be good to have a Book of the Month to highlight both on Sunday morning’s at CrossWay and here on the blog. I will try and hit a variety of books – theology, counseling, marriage, parenting, biographies, devotional material, etc.
And so the first book I would like to highlight for you is called What Did You Expect?? by Paul David Tripp.
Put simply, this is one of the best, if not the best book on marriage I have read. As I read through this book I was struck by the fact that Paul Tripp is pulling together so much of his material from across the spectrum of his writing and aiming it squarely at the context of marriage. He draws from on a right understanding of our hearts from Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. He draws from his material on conflict resolution in War of Words. He highlights living for God’s Kingdom rather than our Kingdom from his book A Quest for More. And he does all of this in the context of a strong understanding of God’s redeeming love worked out in the day-to-day relating that takes place in our marriages.
The premise of the book is simple. All of us head in to marriage with pictures of ourselves and of our spouses that are not at all accurate. Oftentimes our motives, desires, and aspirations are more about our happiness than they are about pleasing God and working to serve the happiness of our spouses. In light of this, almost all of us experience at one time or another, to varying degrees disappointment, disillusionment, and at time despair in our marriages. That is the bad news. And to that news Tripp asks, “What did you expect?” We live in a fallen world, inhabited by fallen people, and these fallen people in a fallen world marry one another each and every day. When you put two fallen people together sin occurs.
However, Tripp does not leave us there. He recognizes that the disappointments in marriage are real and difficult. But we are not alone. We serve a redeeming God who is about redeeming, not only individuals but marriages to the praise of His glorious grace.
Here is a quote to whet your appetite.
So, when you are sinned against or when the fallen world breaks your door down, don’t lash out or run away. Stand in your weakness and confusion and say, “I am not alone. God is with me, and he is faithful, powerful, and willing.” You can be realistic and hopeful at the very same time. Realistic expectations are not about hope without honesty, and they are not about honesty without hope. Realism is found at the intersection of unabashed honesty and uncompromising hope. God’s Word and God’s grace make both possible in your marriage. Page 26
The great thing about this books is that is for every marriage not just marriages that are struggling. The principles apply across that board and they are built on the principle that we reap what we sow. We are always sowing, one small decision at a time, and over the course of our marriages we will reap what we sow. The best marriages can always experience more grace, and the worst of marriage is never beyond the redeeming grace of God to transform it.
The book is filled with relevant illustrations from his wealth of counseling experience. It is easy to identify both with Tripp’s struggles and the struggles of those he is caring for. I would recommend this book to all married couples. And I would also recommend it to engaged couples. The first three chapters are some of the best pre-marital material I have read on what to expect inside of marriage.
We have plenty of copies in the bookstore for $15. If we run out, we will have more next week.