Skip to content ↓

I Still Do

I Still Do

A wise friend once told me, “No one should write a book about marriage until they’ve been married for twenty years.” Then he reached his twentieth anniversary and amended his rule: “No one should write a book about marriage until they’ve been married for thirty years.” The point is, none of us ever master marriage, because marriage, like the people involved in it, is constantly changing. Yet even though we never master it, there is much we can learn from those who have the wisdom and experience we lack. Dave Harvey’s I Still Do, a follow-up to his popular When Sinners Say “I Do,” is a kind of guide to the second half of marriage, to the years that come long after the initial exchange of vows, the honeymoon, and the baby years. Harvey says to “consider this a ten-year checkup.”

His book is framed around a number of life-defining moments that come a few years or a few decades into marriage. These are “experiences, events, and decisions that determine (and sometimes alter) your whole direction.” It’s not just that marriage as an institution is ordained by God, or even that each individual marriage has been ordained by God. It’s more than that. “All the defining moments throughout marriage are God things as well; an experience or season in life when God presents a decision for truth, requires a cost, offers a Christ-exalting opportunity, grows the soul, or determines our destination.” Each “marks a time that is crucial and defining—moments that ultimately give voice to our fear, frustration, and desperation. Each of these moments becomes an invitation from God to transform the core of our being and to deepen our intimacy with our spouse.”

So what are these all-important defining moments? Some are related to starting out together: When you discover that brokenness is broader than sin; when you come to the moment of blame—whether you are the one blaming or being blamed; and when you come to the moment of weakness, where you are forced to acknowledge the inabilities of both spouses. Some are related to sticking together through difficulties, like the moment you realize family cannot replace church; the moment you watch helplessly (or perhaps helpfully) while your spouse suffers; or the moment you discover that sex inevitably changes with age. Some are related to ending together, or at least preparing to end together, like when you understand that your dreams disappoint or when the kids begin to leave. These are moments that in some ways are bigger than themselves, moments in which so much hangs in the balance, even if you do not realize it at the time.

Harvey says, “God presents such moments in the life of every couple. They become doorways to new insights or trailheads that redirect our paths. Some of these invitations will be self-evident; others will be downright astonishing. But one thing remains certain. How we respond to these moments in marriage determines whether we stumble along separately or move forward together toward maturity. As Charles Spurgeon once soberly observed, ‘Failure at a crucial moment may mar the entire outcome of a life.’”

I Still Do is a useful book that is well-suited to its purpose. It helpfully mixes biblical wisdom, personal stories, practical tips, and wry humor. It calls couples to accept life’s defining moments as opportunities to grow closer and stronger rather than excuses to grow apart or fall apart. As someone who is closing in on a quarter century of marriage, I can say that at this stage it’s exactly the book I wanted to read, and perhaps even the book I needed to read.

  • The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    Just as Olympic athletes cannot realistically expect to win a gold medal unless they strictly discipline themselves toward victory, Christians cannot hope to prevail in the Christian life unless they take a serious, disciplined approach to it. Yet lurking in the background is always the temptation to hope that we can have the result of…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (June 15)

    A La Carte: Learn to rest in God’s justice / 3 reasons why your small group is not a church / How can I be a godly father? / Gender in the void / Are images of Christ OK? / The getting of wisdom / and more.

  • Making Good Return

    Making Good Return

    I don’t think I am overstating the matter when I say that this has the potential to be one of the most important books you will read. It’s a book that may shape years of your life and transform the way you carry out one of the key roles God assigns to you…

  • A La Carte Friday 2

    A La Carte (June 14)

    A La Carte: 3 steps to find your voice / 7 things good dads say / One day leads to another / Let’s stop hyper-spiritualizing counseling / Enjoying the many flavors of the Word / What I wish you understood about the ethnic-specific church / and more.

  • A Whole Batch of New Books for Kids

    A Whole Batch of New Books for Kids

    Every month I put together a roundup of new and notable books for grownup readers. But I also receive a lot of books for kids and like to put together the occasional roundup of these books as well. So today I bring you a whole big batch of new books for kids

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (June 13)

    A La Carte: Were the earliest Christians illiterate? / Our new religion isn’t enough / Why do evil and suffering exist? / The missing ingredient in too many marriages / Is Genesis literal or allegorical? / The death of fear / and more.