Monday, November 22, 2010

Book: "The Love Dare"

AUTHORS: Stephen & Alex Kendrick
PUBLISHED: Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2008.

The Love DareIf you have seen the movie "Fireproof," you will be familiar with the authors as well as the idea behind this book. Just like the hit movie, which focuses on marriage, this book enlarges the treatment by challenging readers to take the 40 days of building up one's spouse. Each day for 40 days, a specific dare will be issued. Based on a particular Bible reference, the book leads the reader through 3 stages of daily dare. First, there is a short reading to describe the area of loving. It is about 2-3 pages long on average. Based on some aspect of love, the reading summarizes brief talk about love, as expressed throughout the Old and New Testaments. Second, the dare will be issued. It challenges one to love his/her spouse in unconditional ways. Third, at the end of the day, one is invited to record down what has happened, and the learning experience from working out the dare. Each chapter begins and ends with Scripture references for the reader to hone his/her thoughts on.

My Comments
In general, this book is simple and very practical. Anyone can pick this book and read it quickly. There are no heavy theological discussions. The instructions are easy and immediately applicable. I like the way the dare is being worded: Unconditional loving. It challenges one to take the initiative to love, to care and to demonstrate his/her commitment to the marital partner. It reminds the reader that it is not about self. It is all about the spouse. This is a much needed correction in our society that gears toward individualistic choices and personal needs. Everywhere we go, people are bombarded by "I am most important" messages. In marriage, one is reminded to treat one's spouse as more important. After all, marriage is never really about oneself. True love is always about the other person. Marriage is a covenant and a commitment; not a convenience or a shallow insistence on the other to meet one's need.

I want to highlight three positive things to learn from the book. I coin it IGO.

1) INITIATING: Love begins with self toward the other, not the reverse.

2) GIVING: The book refers to marriage as a giving of oneself to the other.

3) OBEYING: The multiple Scriptural references show us that we love out of obedience to the Word of God. If there is a single largest reason why we loe our spouses, we should resolve to love out of love for God, out of a response to God's love in Christ.

If there is one criticism I have, it will be the hasty references to Scripture without much explanation of the contexts behind the Bible references. After all, when the Bible was written, the focus was toward specific backgrounds and issues. In this book, it appears to be drawing out biblical references for the sake of the 40-days dare. For example, 1 Corinthians 13 is not written to talk about marriage or romantic love. It is about Church unity within the Corinth parishes.

That said, this book is a welcome addition to a world of lopsided marriages where people tend to see themselves as more important than their spouses. This book tries to reverse this.


Other Resources:
a) Official 40-day Love Dare website

b) Love Dare Book

c) Sample of Book here

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