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The First 90 Days of Marriage Paperback – April 9, 2006
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How to have the perfect marriage
- Eric -
"Great marriages aren't stumbled upon, they are fought for."
I woke up this morning, like I do every morning, with the desire to have the greatest marriage in the history of the world. Aiming to have the perfect marriage is my mission, it's my quest; it's my Mt Everest. And yes, I'm fully aware of how great a masterpiece I am attempting to paint.
Where others aim to become the world's fastest human or the next American Idol, my ambition is a bit misunderstood by the mainstream mentality. I know great marriage doesn't come cheap -- I know how much such a lofty ambition will cost me. It will take my pride and flush it down the toilet; it will tax every millimeter of my soul and ruthlessly expose my every selfish tendency; it will renovate my entire existence.
And I say, "bring it on!"
Great marriage is like an Olympic event. To compete at a world-class level in the arena of love demands extreme dedication, the focus of your entire being, and a staggering expenditure of heart, mind, and body. Marriage is certainly not life under a shade tree -- it's an emotional, physical, and psychological obstacle course in which only the fortified survive. Great marriages are the stuff of the heartiest and stoutest souls. Marriage inevitably weeds out the serious lovers from the casual holiday-ers seeking a short-term thrill and a few wedding gifts. Marriage is boot camp for the soul, the testing of the fiber of the heart, and the proving ground for the true substance of one's love.
And I say, "bring it on!"
Great marriages aren't stumbled upon, they are fought for. And if you achieve this impossible goal, there is no gold medal awaiting you on a podium in the end, no screaming crowd to applaud your many efforts, and no Wheaties box photo op to authenticate your sacrifice for posterity. No one outside of your God, your spouse, and your children may ever know what you have achieved.
And I say, "bring it on!"
Great marriage garners a much greater reward than mere human accolades. It wins the applause of heaven, the utter delight and total affection of your spouse for a lifetime, the purest and most perfect intimate pleasure a human can possibly know, and as a final bonus -- the lifelong admiration and respect of your children. A great marriage may cost you everything, but it also will unlock your heart to know the depths of God Almighty. In short, a great marriage gives back ten thousand times more than it takes.
So I say, "bring it on!"
What did you wake up this morning desiring to pursue? A cup of Starbucks? A few more hours sleep? An available bathroom? In the first ninety days of your new life together as a couple, you have an opportunity to establish a larger vision for your life as newly-weds. You too can share in my wake up routine, desiring to make your marriage into the world's very best. In fact, it's my desire that you will enter into a little bit of healthy competition with me and say, "Eric, your love story with Leslie is not even going to compare to mine!" As Paul encouraged the Romans, "Outdo one another in showing honor (Rom 12:10b). (1) I want you to look at my desire as a threat. I want your competitive juices to flow and I want your heart to burn with a clear sense of purpose. I want you to give me a run for my money! I want you to try and "outdo" me. After all, what's the challenge in it if no one else tries? Imagine God saying to me, "Well, Eric, you're the only one who even attempted, so I guess you are the champion." That's no fun! When I was eleven I won a huge trophy at a piano competition, but it was because I was the only contestant. Believe me, there's no satisfaction in winning that way!
What sort of marriage are you going to aim for? A miserable one? A mediocre one? Or a marvelous one? Should I consider you serious competition, or just another marriage license signee?
This book is about having a marvelous marriage; a marriage that sparkles, a marriage that will go the distance without ever losing its luster, a marriage that makes Hollywood's rendition of romance look forlorn and in need of a make-over. This book is written for those who are willing to do whatever it takes to scale the Everest of married love. This book is for those willing to wake up every morning and compete with me and Leslie for the world championship of lifelong romance.
If you are in, then you need to be all in. Olympians train six to eight hours a day to gain mastery of their craft. What are you willing to give to gain mastery in marriage? Are you willing to put in the time, the effort, and the passion necessary to do it right? If you only want to offer your spouse a peck on the cheek as you leave for work each morning and roses once a year on Valentine's Day, this book isn't for you. But if you want to train like a champion, taste the mind-boggling ecstasy of marriage intimacy, and share in the most perfect satisfaction this side of heaven, then read on.
Since I was a little tike I've wanted to have big muscles. But no matter how hard I've tried, it just hasn't worked out for me. I seem to have a body that refuses to look cool. As a result of this muscle fetish, you can probably understand why my childhood heroes were Samson, Superman, Arnold Schwarzennegar, the Bionic Man, and Popeye the Sailor-man. But I realized as I grew older that each one of these men had a secret to their strength that made it difficult, if not impossible, for me to imitate. Samson had the Nazarite vow and the long hair thing going, Superman was from another planet, Arnold worked out with weights six hours a day, the Bionic Man had to have six million dollars worth of work surgically done on him, and of course, Popeye had to eat spinach. Why couldn't superheroes just eat Pop Tarts, wear Levis, and listen to Bon Jovi? Why did they have to be so extreme, so different? Why did their secret have to be something so difficult to apply in my own life?
As humans, it's tempting to seek the easy way to the top. We want to make our millions in the lottery, build our muscles with steroids, find instant fame through a reality show, and become well-read with Cliff's notes. Most of us don't want to travel the real road to success -- the one that involves hard work and making sacrifices. Not many of us are willing to take a Nazarite vow and look like a fool to this world around us, live life as if we are from another planet, spend the juiciest hours of everyday in training, yield ourselves to God's operating knife, and worst of all, swallow our spinach to gain superhuman strength. But such is the map to real marriage success.
Are you willing to take your spinach? If so, I'd like to introduce you to the two secrets of all great spouses. I assure you they won't seem very appealing on the outside; superhero secrets never do. But if you are willing to take a Nazarite-like vow and go under God's surgical knife, you too could become the next superhero spouse.
Superhero Secret #1
Going under God's Surgical Knife
"Superhero spouses are those who learn to love out of a heavenly implanted heart."
The other day I had a conversation with a young married man at the local coffee shop. We'll call him Barry. Like many other young men his age, Barry is an aficionado of marriage mediocrity.
"It's nag, nag, nag!" He said a little louder than was socially appropriate for conversation in a public place. His lip snarled in disgust as he took a long sip from his Carmel Macchiato. "My wife wants me to be something I'm just not!"
I let Barry rage on for several minutes, providing me with a few more quotations for this book. "I just tell her, look babe, you need to stop trying to make our marriage into a fairy tale -- that just isn't reality." My favorite was Barry's description of what really makes a marriage work. "When she finally gives up trying to turn me into her personal Prince Charming, then we might just get somewhere!"
When Barry finally awakened to the fact that he'd been talking for five minutes straight without even asking me question, he turned the conversation in my direction.
"So, man, what type of work do you do?
"Oh, I'm a writer."
"That's cool, man!" he said. "What do you write about?"
"Romance and relationships."
After that, Barry began shuffling around awkwardly and quickly changed the subject to the poor job the electrician did in installing the electrical outlet on the coffee shop wall.
It's fairly obvious that Barry is no superhero spouse. But then, let's be honest, none of us are. The problem with Barry isn't found in the fact that he is not a Prince Charming, it's the fact that he doesn't believe he can ever even become one. He lacks both vision and willingness. He's bought into the "I'm a guy and this is the way I'm always gonna be!" syndrome. That syndrome spells the end of every potential superhero husband. And the problem doesn't just lie with guys. Women frequently buy into a similar mindset, sabotaging their ability to become superhero wives.
The ability to love well, unfortunately, doesn't come naturally to any one. But there are two ways of looking at the "Barry" tendency in all of us. One is to say, "This is just the way I am, so learn to live with it, babe!" But the second option, though odd and uncomfortable, breeds superhuman results. It simply says, "I don't have what it takes in and of myself to be a great spouse. I need something more! And babe, because I love you so much, I'll go under the operating knife to get it!"
Imagine how Popeye must have felt when he heard that his great strength could only be gained through endless jars of spinach. You may very well feel an identical nauseating reflex in the ... --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
We've been married a month now, but started reading books on Christian marriage together over a year ago, and independently before that. Of the 10 or so books we've read, this was by FAR the worst. Not worth the time. We only continued reading it to see how much worse it would get. This book not only has a very shallow and limited amount of useful content (a pamphlet's worth spread thin over 200 pages), it is also unfortunately riddled with poor grammar and reflects what one would expect from a high-school student. Many chapters contain merely the information content of a sentence or two repeated over and over again in slightly different ways (or the same way) with a thesaurus-worth of redundant descriptors tacked on.
Of the many tragic metaphors in this book, one in particular stood out as fitting. "You can have merely a bedroom in which you sleep, or you can have a sacred space in which the smell of a million daffodils is in the air" (pg 159). Eric Ludy was trying to use this picture to describe a lovely marriage bed. Unfortunately, he (and his wife, editor and publisher) did not do their homework. My wife is a florist. Daffodils are not very fragrant, are narcotic, poisonous, create rashes for florists, and, finally, are of the plant genus "narcissus". In the Greek myth after which the daffodil was named, Narcissus became so obsessed with his own reflection that as he knelt and gazed into a pool of water, he fell in and drowned. In other variations, he died of starvation and thirst.
Apt to the effect of a million daffodils, this book left us both starving for some passable writing and thirsty for deeper marriage advice. But after hearing "I have the best marriage in the universe!Read more ›
The basic key to a happy marriage is in both parties seeking for Christ's strength in order to live completely unselfishly. This book explains how to do that. A mutually unselfish marriage is always a happy one. So get this book and experience marital bliss!
So, if you know of anyone whom is getting married any time in the next several years, I would definitely suggest this book! It helped me to have open, understanding eyes in many of the situations I will face and have yet to face (as we currently don't have a house of our own to live in). It was an enjoyable, personable read. :) I would even suggest it to people whom have been married for years. I remember thinking that when I was through with it as well. :)
Best wishes! These authors write with a passion I have yet to see in any other author. They have much good, sound advice to share. Enjoy!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My fiance and I both read this book and it prepared us more for marriage than anything else we've done. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sarah Armstrong
This book is AMAZING and God centered... If you want to build a Godly foundation, this book will help you do this on your first and most important months together.Published 10 months ago by MKK
Great book and I love how it is from a godly perspective and not what society thinks you should do and be in a marriage.Published 14 months ago by Danielle