Best-selling author Ravi Zacharias offers a moving, albeit awkwardly titled, tribute to lifelong love with I, ISAAC, TAKE THEE, REBEKAH.
As its subtitle suggests, the book is about "moving from romance to lasting love," and in light of modern day attacks on the sanctity of marriage, its message is not only timeless but timely.
While it is Zacharias' first treatment of this subject matter, fans of his more philosophical works, including CRIES OF THE HEART, DELIVER US FROM EVIL and JESUS AMONG OTHER GODS, won't be disappointed by his departure from "weightier matters of philosophical debate about truth and belief in God," as he states it.
Centering on the Old Testament story of Isaac and Rebekah, Zacharias identifies them as a covenantal couple committed to loving each other unconditionally. In the process of telling their tale, he espouses a return to the enduring values of family, faithfulness and fidelity in the marriage relationship.
Decrying the prevailing popularity of "sex without strings and marriage without rings," Zacharias shares invaluable insights for nurturing a marriage that stands the test of time. For example, in the chapter titled "The Living Act of a Dead Self," he writes that "if the first thing about committing the will is that it is a death to yourself, what comes to life is a disposition that seeks to serve."
Zacharias lists personal maturity, premarital counseling and preparation for disagreements as the three characteristics of a couple properly prepared for life as man and wife. And with clarity and conviction, he drives home the point that "conflict resolution is the key to success in most marriages," an understatement if ever there was one.
As Zacharias points out, the wedding is the easiest part of being married, and it is not until afterward that couples actually discover whether or not their words carry the weight of authenticity. To help couples striving to make their marriage a success, he proposes some governing disciplines that must translate into the lives of each partner.
According to Zacharias, there must be a daily commitment to prayer, to the study of the scriptures and to active involvement in a local church, if couples are to cultivate the type of character that enables them to successfully navigate the stormy seas of modern day matrimony.
Presenting foundational truths in the face of mounting threats to marriage, the book is a useful guide for establishing love that lasts for a lifetime. It is specially suited for use as a premarital counseling tool and related church resource; it's also recommended reading for any couple seeking to ground their relationship in biblical bedrock.
Reviewed by Sean Fowlds on November 13, 2011