We have been lied to about marriages. We may know that God designed marriage to be a fortress of love and protection, to house our spiritual oneness, and that He built it to last. But we see marriages imploding daily, and couples finding themselves distanced or even divorced—most never even knowing why. We’ve probably heard the disaster stories; we’ve seen that marriage really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; we may wonder if the idea of marriage itself is doomed to failure. But we have missed a key element here that I see as inescapable in any satisfying, long-lasting marriage.

God hardwired a short-circuit into marriage that will inevitably lead to trouble unless the couple knows about it and anticipates it. This short-circuit will cause a power failure to even the brightest, most promising couples, who started out strong and happy, unless they have a heads-up on what’s coming.

I call this short-circuit the Marriage Renovation, and this book is the heads-up.



If you have followed Christ longer than a month, you have noticed that it is not about smooth sailing. It is about being conformed to Christ’s image, which comes through hardship. You may have tried everything you know, but in the end, only true dependence on Christ—not “Churchianity”*—will lead to peace. *Churchianity: putting our lives together for curb appeal, based on performance and obedience. Also known as: a “Twinkie Christian.” Churchianity is my word for “acting like a Christian,” “achieving the Christian life,” or “doing Christianity.” Many of our churches are devoted to this pursuit, and all of these good efforts are like filthy rags [Isaiah 64:6]. You do not have to do Christianity because He already loves and accepts you, no matter who you are or what you’ve done. You don’t have to do marriage either. You can rest in marriage, and you can rest in Him.

If you’ve been married any time at all, you’ve likewise noticed that marriage is not about making each other happy. Marriage is about being conformed to Christ’s image, which comes through hardship. [It’s like a trick—two questions, same answer!] Only life in Christ will produce the life and the marriage you’ve always wanted. Do you see the parallel? Marriage is a hands-on relationship that reflects our spiritual relationship.

You may still be trying to be each other’s savior, or you may have moved to: “What in the world have I done?” But at some point, you’re almost assuredly going to face your failures with each other. Those failures are by design, because God does not want you to be your spouse’s Savior.

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