I’ve been flying through books lately. And I just finished one that made me think.
The book is called “Altared: The True Story of a She, a He, and How They Both Got Too Worked Up About We.” Written under the pseudonyms of Claire and Eli, the she and he detail the story of their own built-up and failed dating relationship interwoven into segments of their own questions, thoughts and concerns about marriage.
Claire and Eli make the observation that the evangelical church is particularly fond of marriage (nothing wrong with that, as it’s definitely biblical). First, let me say that until reading this book, I’ve overlooked the fact that I’m a part of more than one evangelical ministry – I’m not sure I can consider myself strictly Methodist anymore. So when the authors began writing about how there’s so much push for people to get married and how we love hearing marriage sermons and tend to react sympathetically towards the single population in the church, I actually understood what they meant.
They assert that for multiple reasons we get a bit “marriage happy.” I have totally fallen victim to this, I admit. Marriage happiness, they write, often leaves Christians with only one side of the marriage perspective. For example, we enjoy highlighting passages that illustrate the goodness of a husband and wife joining together for eternity. But the passages that talk about how marriage can be distracting in a person’s relationship with God are easier to set aside. Attaching our loftiest thoughts and goals onto marriage can, ultimately, lead us to become forgetful that we are to radically love everyone on this earth, spouse or not, and be willing to deny ourselves for others. These basic Christian principles sometimes get lost in the pursuit of marriage, Claire and Eli write.
The authors attribute their failed relationship to crazy-high expectations of one another and loads of pressure to fine “the one.” Instead of enjoying each other as people, they caught themselves being quick to dissect and critique, putting the other up against their mental checklists of potential mate qualities and seeking personal benefit in the relationship.
I enjoyed this read because it was a fresh perspective, written with poignant honesty and a touch of wit, laden with well-researched scripture references and quotes from various scholars and poets (how’s that for a book review-ish statement?). If you’re interested at all, let’s talk about it. Or you can read it for yourself, either way. Do they have a point?