I’ve been married a long time (40 years to be exact), but just when I think I’ve figured out everything there is to know about marriage, my husband and I enter a new season of life, causing me to dig in and work once more.
Marriage books are a dime a dozen, so it’s hard to find one that is distinctive and offers a unique point of view, but Dorothy Greco’s Making Marriage Beautiful is such a book.
I love that in the very first chapter, she challenges us to acknowledge our own sin. So often in marriage, it’s easy to blame, blame, blame, but Greco makes sure we examine ourselves before we go down that worn road. Her premise is that God wants to use marriage to transform us, and that can only happen when we admit our brokenness and need.
Greco also encourages us to examine our family of origin to find those patterns and moments of disappointment. As we do so, we understand why our expectations in some areas of marriage are so high. We want to make up for the flaws of our past, which can put unreasonable pressure on our spouse, or we feel unreasonable guilt for not living up to our spouse’s expectations.
The chapter I found most helpful was the one on managing anger. She helps us recognize anger and then gives us practical steps in how to deal with it. Then she talks about constructive anger (who knew there was such a thing!), which provides a way to deal with our anger without hurting our spouse, or anyone else for that matter.
I was relieved that Greco then goes on to talk about disordered attachments and addictions. My husband is a pastor, so I know all too well how many people struggle with this in their marriages—and it’s just getting worse in our culture. So her chapters on confession and forgiveness are invaluable.
Finally, she talks about how suffering leads to love, the reward of fighting for joy, and the importance of community. She wraps it all up by encouraging us that sacrificial love is worth it for the long haul—just what I need to hear at this season of my life.