Review: Beyond Ordinary

Ordinary is the biggest enemy of a great marriage.

You say ‘I do’ expecting everything is going to be great. You are marrying the person you love, and that is never going to change! But, if you’re married, you know that it does change. Somehow, life settles into a normal, an everyday, and often the excitement and thrill over the wedding day fade as the routine kicks in and wills are tested. Marriage becomes ordinary.

But it doesn’t have to. We can combat ordinary. But the thing is, though we all often dream for extraordinary and long for it so desperately, or even feel like we have a right to it, we rarely put in the effort that extraordinary takes.

Justin and Trisha Davis share the analogy of studying in college or excelling at a career. We don’t expect to coast, to ignore the tasks, and still improve in our grades or positions. We know that pursuing that dream – a degree or a promotion – takes work, a lot of work. But, we forget that the same maxim applies to relationships, and especially to marriage. An uninvested marriage is not going to thrive.

In Beyond Ordinary, Justing and Trisha use their story to highlight key factors to an extraordinary marriage. And {spoiler alert} they did not always have an extraordinary marriage. God had to do some major work in both of their hearts to bring them to a place where they could claim extraordinary. 

This book is not going to give you a checklist of things to do better or differently. It is not going to teach you how to change your spouse, or how to manipulate them to fit your mould. This book will force you to work through your own heart, to make sure that your heart is in the right place, that you are open and vulnerable, before God and your spouse, and will help you follow Biblical models for intimacy. Because that is the real goal, intimacy. Not in a sexual manner, but in a manner of sharing two hearts, of being one. The most important point that Justin and Trisha share is this:

we can never have extraordinary relationships with our spouses when we are settling for an ordinary relationship with God.

I know for me, that point can be very hard. For some reason, physical relationships are easier to put stock in because I can easily put the onus on the other. With God and me, if things aren’t extraordinary, I know whose fault it is. He isn’t letting me down. So, every good marriage really needs to start there.

Beyond that, there is much that needs to be done in the heart to make the home a place of thriving love. Justin and Trisha biblically walk you through hard questions and truths that will force you to confront sin in your marriage and together to accept and extend forgiveness and find your way from ordinary, or hard, or devastated . . . to extraordinary. And one of the most beautiful things about this book is the hope that they extend to every couple. No matter how low you may have fallen, grace abounds and God can pick up the broken pieces to mend the image of His bride.

Here are a few quotes from the book:

the success of our marriage was arranged around what we could avoid, rather than loving each other more deeply, knowing each other better, sharing our dreams more, understanding our passions, and growing our intimacy with one another. We looked for the absence of conflict rather than pursing the presence of intimacy. The truth is that we settled for so much less than God longed for us to experience as husband and wife.

So often, we would rather have God medicate the pain in our hearts than do what it takes to bring complete healing to us. So we learn to live with spiritual illnesses while looking for ways to make ourselves feel better.

Wherever sin lives, intimacy dies. That is true in your relationship with God, and it is true in your marriage. But the good news is that wherever intimacy lives, sin dies.

The marriages we have today aren’t reflections of the intentions we have; they are collections of the choices we have made.

Justin and Trisha Davis now run RefineUs Ministries and work to bring healing and hope to hurting marriages.

{read August 2015}

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