In my first post for the 2012, I shared a list of books I was hoping to get through in 2012. Somehow it is already March already, & while I haven’t blogged much this year, I have read!
Since I last wrote I have ticked a book off my list, Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll, as well as 3 or 4 others off the ever-growing pile next to my bed. (Which reminds me, have you seen this great site, thnxthnxthnx? Here’s my favorite one, about said pile of books.)
Back to Real Marriage for now. I have a read a lot of books on dating, relationships & marriage in recent years, & I still managed to enjoy this one. I found it candid & refreshingly practical, addressing issues that most Christian marriage books manage to skirt around. I don’t intend to do a review; Google will be able to provide you with a plethora of controversy around it I’m sure.
The book closes with a chapter entitled ‘Reverse Engineering your life and marriage’. It was probably one of my top 3 chapters, and it rang true with things that were already on my mind. Here’s part of the intro:
“To finish well on the last day of your marriage (or life for that matter), it is not enough to simply have passion & principles. You also need a plan. Marriages start with passion and over the years accrue principles, but apart from a plan, the passion and principles are powerless. You must choose whether you will spend your time making plans or excuses.”
A lot of what follows stems from the concept of Reverse Engineering, “The big idea is to anticipate life forward and live it backward”, Driscoll says. Clearly this can be more widely applied than just to marriage, but I did find it helpful to read it in this context.
I didn’t really make resolutions for 2012, if I think about it – I never really do. I did, however, take some time out to think about how I could do life better. Rather than deciding to eat in a particular way or committing a new activity I’m not sure I can keep up with, I resolved afresh to live intentionally.
I decided to be proactive about my life & faith & dreams, instead of just bumbling along with good intentions, hoping for the best. Reading this chapter encouraged me to live with intentionality, “reverse engineering (my) life and living it prayerfully & purposefully, journaling (my) thoughts… using silence & solitude to hear from God & organize (my) life.”
I am usually more excited about starting things than I am about finishing them, but I do still believe that the end of a thing is better than its beginning (Ecclesiastes, The Bible). I have to remind myself of that, intentionally.
I read Real Marriage towards the end of my first year of marriage, & as I am the kind of person who likes to celebrate occasions, I was looking for a way to commemorate making through what ‘they’ dub the hardest year. Reading this book inspired me to prepare a series of questions to go through with my Mr, so we could do a ‘marriage review’ on our anniversary getaway. Romantic, aren’t I.
“The most important day of your marriage is the last day.”
It was a month ago now that we popped champagne & did the anniversary high-five (not literally, ok maybe literally). We did sit down without a time limit & discuss the 12 questions I came up with for our review, it was *such* a fantastic time together. Almost daily I reflect with gratefulness on that afternoon of tea & honest conversation.
Here’s to ambitious beginnings, extravagant plans & more-than-happy endings.