I love reading books, especially marriage books. Whether for my job as I read marriage books to help other couples or as I read through resources to help with teaching premarrieds at our church, I am a sucker for good marriage books. I especially like it when I read marriage books that are not only beneficial for others, but also are personally sanctifying in my walk and marriage.
From This Day Forward, written by Craig & Amy Groeschel, is a very helpful book that shares Five Commitments to Fail-Proof Your Marriage. From This Day Forward is not just a helpful resource for others; rather, the book was personally edifying in my marriage. All five commitments challenged me, but especially the first one (Seek God).
The book is named for the four words we use in our wedding vows, “from this day forward.” Groeschel says the “decisions you make today determine the marriage you will have tomorrow.”
Here are the five commitments and a highlight/summary of each commitment.
- Seek God: God is your “One,” and your spouse is your two. “Seek the One while you prepare for your two” (for the premarried) or “I will always seek the One with my two” (for the married). In other words, the Lord must be your top priority and your spouse must be your second priority. I shared a similar concept in Do You Remember Your 1st Love. He also writes about prayer as the keystone habit in your marriage.
- Fight Fair: All couples fight and conflict in marriage. However, healthy couples fight for resolution, and unhealthy couples fight for personal victory. A ‘victory’ over your spouse in an argument means a loss for you in your marriage. Don’t fight each other, rather fight for the marriage you both long to have.
- Have Fun: Fun is not a luxury in marriage, it is a requirement! I love how Craig and Amy recommend having fun with your spouse face-to-face, side-to-side and belly button-to-belly button (Proverbs 5:18-19). One of my favorite lines from the book says, “If the grass looks greener somewhere else, it’s time to water your own yard. Invest in the marriage that God has given you.” Fun is often undervalued in marriage. Don’t let the busyness of life crowd out the good times!
- Stay Pure: This chapter provides the most unique material in this marriage book, and I am very thankful they included purity. We often think of purity just for premarrieds, while Groeschel reminds us we are all called to purity, whether single or married. Purity looks different in different seasons of life but does not diminish the call to purity. The Groeschels warn the readers of the dangers of opposite sex relationships/friendships, unfaithfulness, social media and the constant barrage of temptations all around us.
- Never Give Up: Marriage calls us to make decisions to commit, to forgive one another and to persevere even when it’s tough. I appreciate and agree with his call to permanence in marriage (Matthew 19:6). Another one of my favorite lines says, “Deciding you should get divorced because you’ve run out of love is like deciding you should sell your car because it has run out of gas.”
The chapter on purity alone makes this a book worth reading. From This Day Forward is relatively short (171 pages), easy to read and immensely practical.
I highly recommend From This Day Forward by Craig & Amy Groeschel. I don’t know the Groeschels, but my assumption is that while they don’t have the perfect marriage, they do love Jesus and one another and practice the five commitments referenced in the book. I appreciate their honesty and humility throughout. We don’t need many more marriage books in the Christian book world. We do, however, need more good ones, like From This Day Forward.
If you think through what it takes to have a great marriage “from this day forward”, what other commitment would you add to the list?
Discuss with your significant other how you’re doing in Seeking God, Fighting Fair, Having Fun, Staying Pure and Never Giving Up.