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I received a free copy of Love That Lasts by Jeff and Alyssa Bethke in exchange for this honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.
I have been a huge fan of Jefferson Bethke’s since his first spoken word video on Youtube way back in 2012. I remember buying his first book Jesus > Religion when it was first released (I was working at a LifeWay store at the time and a Facebook friend from college who works in corporate LifeWay went to Hawaii to film the video curriculum for Bible studies!) When I heard that Jeff and his wife, Alyssa, were writing a new book together to be released this fall, I knew I would buy it as soon as I could…. and when I was given the opportunity to read + review the book, I was thrilled. Truth be told, I was going to read the book anyway, so I might as well get to read an advanced reader copy early then! 😉
With every turn of the page (okay, swipe on my Kindle screen, since I was reading an e-book version!), it felt like I was sitting down with two friends as they shared their hearts over a cup of coffee. In fact, this book was the best relationship book I’ve ever read because it’s unlike every other relationship book out there. (And trust me, I’ve read a ton.) It’s more of a memoir, telling about their life experiences as it relates to love and marriage. The premise of the book: Christian couples need to build their marriage on Jesus. Marriage is the picture of God’s love for us, and our marriages should reflect that.
There was so much truth and wisdom in the Bethke’s book that I found myself re-reading it, not once, but twice! (Something I rarely do!) If you’re single, dating, a newlywed, or are struggling with your marriage, there is wisdom in this book for you! Jeff and Alyssa share about their personal experiences with eating disorders, porn addiction, adjusting to marriage and parenting, among other things. Their book doesn’t sugarcoat things; instead, it points readers to Jesus as the restorer of our broken relationships and marriages.
If you had no idea about how real this book would be, read the first paragraph of the first page:
I lost my virginity when I was sixteen. In the back of a car. In a church parking lot. To someone who wasn’t my girlfriend.
See, no sugarcoating here! No matter how messed up you are, you are never too far gone for Jesus; Alyssa said it best on page 114: Whatever your story is (…) Jesus makes all things new. He covers you with His love and forgiveness.
Some of the other nuggets of wisdom from their book that spoke to my heart:
In order to realize where we went so wrong (in today’s definition of “love”), we first need to see where it was all so right. Where this intoxicating intimacy and love comes from in the first place. (pg 11)
Here’s a question for anyone in a relationship: If you were to break up right now, would it feel like you’re losing a boyfriend or girlfriend, or would it feel like you’re losing your god? (…) If Alyssa were my functional savior and god, then the minute she passed, I’d be without hope (…) Jesus wants us to put our identity in Him, not in relationships or spouses– as good and as amazing as they may be. (pgs 41-42)
Jeff and Alyssa even spoke some radical truths in their book that contradict “Christian culture.”
For example, when combating porn or trafficking or lust, some of the most common things I’ve heard people say are, Don’t look at that, don’t you realize that’s someone’s daughter? That’s someone’s wife? That’s someone’s sister? The problem is, that’s tethering a woman’s identity and worth and value to her relationship to a man. It’s saying she only means something because of who she’s related to. But the truth is, a woman isn’t valued because she’s someone’s daughter, she’s valued because she’s someone. (pg 69-70)
I still plan on buying a copy of this book– I’ve already placed my pre-order, in fact!– and I bought multiple copies of it to give to friends for Christmas gifts, bridal shower gifts, and wedding gifts. I know this book would have been one I would have loved back when I was struggling with singleness and to prepare my heart for when God brought along the right guy.
As an aside: being part of the Love That Lasts launch team was the best experience ever I’ve ever had on a launch team. The launch leader was amazing in giving team members directions. Jeff & Alyssa’s interactions with the team members was genuine. Furthermore, the team felt like a big family! We shared about our lives and prayer requests and made genuine friendships with like-minded people. I’ve been on quite a few launch teams for book reviews, but this one was by far my favorite!
Whether you’re a teenager or an older adult or somewhere in between, you will enjoy this book. Love That Lasts releases tomorrow so be sure to grab a copy from a retailer such as Amazon or my personal favorite store, LifeWay!
Did you ever watch Jeff’s viral video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”?
Have you read any of Jeff and Alyssa Bethke’s books?