Hi all, amidst this crazy book launch for Helicopter Mom, this particular book by Jen Weaver called A Wife's Secret to Happiness had been coming across multiple paths of mine on multiple occasions. I had passed by it with little thought until a fellow LIT sister posted a book review of it... and then I was intrigued because there was a writing contest involved with some incredible prizes that this new author started dreaming about. Soooo, I decided to give it a read.
I'm glad I did!
I won't lie... I generally grow super bored with books about marriage. I find them redundant and often, despite their attempts not to be, a bit self-righteous. I am the worst marriage-book-reader ever. I admit it. I am very happy in my marriage, we are very intentional about our relationship, etc. etc. (more on how hard that battle was in a bit). I don't see or feel the need for marriage advice very often (now who's self-righteous? <insert eye-roll emoji and hashtag something about 'pot calling the kettle black...>) And yet, God kept placing this book in my line of vision for several weeks- so I decided to order it up (not easily done as Amazon was out of them and I ended up buying used from the UK... what an amazing problem that must be to have....!)
Anyhoo, so I got the book , read it and.... it's good. I won't lie and say it's the best book on marriage that I've ever read, but it is chalk-full of usable and scripturally sound principles for wives. I will say, with this being the first book by Jen Weaver that I've ever read, I found her writing style very easy to read, funny, real, and convicting in the right spots. I didn't find it stilted or goody-two-shoes either which was helpful for my generally critical reading of self-help books (again, I promise I'm working on this! lol.) Her chapters highlighting the blessings that wives can walk in are solid and Biblical- no wife can go wrong in following them. Overall it's a good book and one I would recommend... especially for young wives and those newer to the faith.
The chapter that I wanted to talk about here, however, happens to be her opening chapter- The Blessing of Three Strands. This chapter spoke to me from a very real place that I wanted to share with you today. For those who have read or heard my testimony, you will remember that Gabe and I have had more than our fair share of trouble in our marriage. With God's help we've come through 2 affairs and a porn addiction (for the complete story in all it's horrendous glory, click here!) I say 'with God's help' loosely... in reality, it was more like with His complete holding-us-together through it. As Jen writes, "What is a third strand? You've no doubt heard of this illustrious fiber. A bond between two people may shatter with ease but 'a cord of three strands is not quickly broken'.... My vows weren't foolish promises, although in challenging moments I question my sanity. God's third strand compensates for where we lack.... The threads of His tapestry hold our marriage together when everything else unravels." This is just so true!
But I would argue even further... God's strand is literally the only one... the most important one... the life-giving one. We as fallible and horribly sinful people (yes, us Christians included!) have zero to bring to the marriage table, the marriage bed, or the marriage covenant except brokenness, baggage, a past of varying degrees of hurt, and this innane desire to 'make it work.' God is the absolute glue that holds marriages together. Literally. I can attest personally that during those incredibly rough patches in our marriage, both of our strands, Gabe's and mine.... were not only not strong but in some cases were not even present. They simply were not there! At best they were frayed... but (especially for me) many times they had been cut- the connection was severed completely.
Only He remained faithful in our marriage. Only He kept His promise, His vows.
God's strand remained. By His grace and abundant mercy to us, He literally held together our lives, our marriage, our family on several occasions. I am grateful in ways that I can't even begin to describe.
The idea of the 3-strand cord that Jen speaks of is so vitally important in a marriage. Many places in A Wife's Secret to Happiness she writes about lost dreams, impaired realities, unequally yoked marriages, and wives who long for a better setup. I get it. So does Jen. It was wise of her (and planned I'm sure) to start the book with the idea of the God-component thoroughly interwoven within our marriage from the onset. Without that strand, the God-strand, we have NO hope of this marriage-thing having any meaning or worth at all. It must be there to keep it together when we can't, it must be there to strengthen the bonds during rough patches outside the marriage, it must be there to refine us within the marriage to make us a more perfect example of Christ and the Church. The God-strand must be center!
If you have ever or are currently struggling in your marriage, please know there is hope and healing available. Gabe and I are living, breathing, healed, and whole examples of Christ's ability to remake and renew a marriage that was not only on the rocks... but had literally just sunk to the depths of the ocean. It was dead. But it (and we) are alive again! It's possible! Please, please let me know if you want prayer or guidance! God is awfully big, and pretty amazing at being the Great Healer. Make Him the center strand of your marriage rope and I promise if you cling to Him, that unbreakable thread, that he will do marvelous things in your marriage.