In his penetrating book What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, Paul Tripp writes:
Think of the sturdiness of your allegiance to your own kingdom purposes. Let me help you see what I mean. Think about how little of your anger over the last month had anything whatsoever to do with the kingdom of God. Your anger seldom comes out of a zeal for the plans, purposes, values and calling of the kingdom of God. When you are hurt, angry, or disappointed with your husband or wife, it is not because he or she has broken the laws of God’s kingdom, and it really concerns you. No, you are most often angry because your spouse has broken the laws of your kingdom. Your spouse is in the way of what you want, and that makes you mad, and it mobilizes you to do or say something that will rein your spouse back into service of your wants, needs, and feelings.
But God’s grace is intended to explode that. His grace purposes to expose and free you from your bondage to you. His grace is meant to bring you to the end of yourself so that you will finally begin to place your identity, your meaning and purpose, and your inner sense of well-being in him. So he places you in a comprehensive relationship with another flawed person, and he places that relationship right in the middle of a very broken world. To add to this, he designs circumstances for you that you would have never designed for yourself. All this is meant to bring you to the end of yourself, because that is where true righteousness begins. He wants you to give up. He wants you to abandon your dream. He wants you to face the futility of trying to manipulate the other person into your service. He knows there is no life to be found in these things.
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“What I’ve come to expect from Paul Tripp is consistently deep, transparent, biblical, wise, practical, gospel-driven counsel. Rather than muddying the water with self-focused strategies designed to meet our ever-multiplying needs, Paul, as the seasoned soul-physician he is, correctly diagnoses our problems and provides the cure—humble faith in Jesus Christ. I wasn’t disappointed. You won’t be either.”
– Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, author, Because He Loves Me and Comforts from the Cross
“Paul Tripp issues a challenge for couples to roll up their sleeves, get to work, and do what it takes to build a God-honoring relationship. He presents six commitments for couples to make, and contained within each is insightful, practical, and effective advice on how to construct a loving, growing, grace-soaked marriage.”
– Mary A. Kassian, Professor of Women’s Studies, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild