I’ve been a fan of Francis Chan ever since his first book, Crazy Love-his passion for God is infectious and his urgency to live life fully for and in light of the gospel is inspiring. So when I heard that his latest book was on marriage, I was excited and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
Then a strange things happened: I started to read the book….and couldn’t decide whether I absolutely loved it or just thought it was “meh.” Let me explain.
The subtitle for the book gives you an absolutely 100% accurate preview and summary of the book’s contents and main thrust: this is truly a book on “Marriage in Light of Eternity.” Francis says in the introduction that:
There are plenty of marriage books that will teach you how to get along and be happy. This is not one of those books. -p.10
Now it’s not that I was looking for this to be a book that was all about teaching me “how to get along and be happy.” It’s just that the book was so different and unique (and to be honest, challenging) that it took me a while to process what I actually thought about it.
You and Me Forever is a no-nonsense look at marriage through the lens of Biblical truth that says the here and now is temporary, a pilgrimage, a sojourn in a foreign land, and the not yet but soon to come is more wonderful than we can imagine. It’s in that context that chapter titles like “Marriage Isn’t that Great” and “Don’t Waste Your Marriage” make perfect sense and function as a call to remember what all of our first priorities are: life with Jesus.
This book is a quick read, but each chapter serves to hammer home the same point: Jesus is our first love and it’s only together in concerted and joyful service of him that marriage can be truly fulfilling, joyful, life-giving, and God-honoring.
You will never find true, lasting joy in someone or something. Marriage is not the source of joy, though many of us assume that it is. Joy is something we bring into our marriages because we are being filled with joy in our walk with God, and because we are confident of His promises. -p. 146
A few more things of note before the final verdict: 100% of the profits from this book go to support ministries that (among other things) help provide shelter and rehabilitation to thousands of exploited children and women around the world. The book is also available (legally!) for FREE directly from Francis and Lisa. To learn more about the book, the ministries supported by the purchase of the book, or to get a free copy, go to youandmeforever.org.
Somewhere around 3/4 of the way through the book, I realized that my reservations about the book stemmed from recognizing the truth that the book contains and points to…but not being very “comfortable” with that truth (and/or the straightforward and blunt way the Chans deliver it). The book forced me to reevaluate my own beliefs about marriage in light of eternity and how my actions do or don’t match up with those beliefs and it made no apologies about doing so!
We all need to be challenged like this occasionally, especially on a topic as important and life-changing as marriage. For that reason, You and Me Forever gets 5 out of 5 stars. It wouldn’t be the first or only book I would recommend on marriage, but it has its own unique and needed place in every Christian’s library.