The last time I spent six months on one book was when I read Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper which is understandable seeing as it’s a (physically, spiritually and mentally) heavy read. So when I picked up What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage by Paul David Tripp, one thing I didn’t expect was to spend six months reading it. However, whether because I was busy with school and being a newly wed with two jobs, or because God wanted me to take my time on it, I spent from the week before our wedding to the end of June on this book.
A common theme over the past few books has been a great emphasis on the gospel in your marriage. This has been incredible! Many of my mentors have spoken the truth of the gospel into my heart on so many occasions and I have been greatly encouraged by the Spirit working through their words. So when I read a book like this, I am thrilled to know that this gospel is spreading greatly through the hearts of many. Tripp greatly emphasizes the fact that we always need to be pursuing the God who loves us alongside our spouses and that we have nothing without Jesus in our marriage. Our marriages are meant to bring more holiness into our lives, not happiness.
Redeeming the realities…
When Emmalie and I were getting ready to get married, I began to fall into the trap of unrealistic expectations. But because I expected unrealistic expectations, I was getting prepared for them. This meant that I was completely ready for every obstacle that we would face! Ok, maybe not. It turns out that even if you prepare for unrealistic expectations, you still run into wrong thinking. I have seen this countless times in my own marriage where either Emmalie or I will go into a situation thinking that things will turn out one way only to be unpleasantly surprised at our own assumptions. Likewise, I have seen many people getting ready to get married thinking that they know how every situation will turn out, saying, “you’re (fill in the assumed preparedness here) when you’re married.” If you’re preparing for marriage at some point, don’t assume you know what you’re ready for.
Out of the books mentioned thus far, I would recommend this the highest. It’s repetitive, but the best things are only learned through repetition, and Tripp includes plenty of true to life scenarios by which you can know that he knows what he is talking about!