Paul and Virginia Friesen, fundamentally grounded in Christ, have thoughtfully represented both sides of the aisle in creating The Marriage App, a practical, APPlicable handbook for anyone who wants to get married, be married, and stay married.
Though the concepts are timeless in nature, The Marriage App has arrived in a most timely manner. Presently, with every marriage staring down a near 50% failure rate, we have to battle to guard our relationships. The popular solution for a struggling marriage is to end it—despite the cost of obtaining a divorce, legal fees, settlements, and the intangible price that families pay both emotionally and psychologically. Unhappy marriages are no longer . . . “longer”. Separation is the new restoration.
Common sense tells us that relationships do not stand still. They are moving in either one direction (intimacy) or the other (separation). Within each moment, a choice is presented—to move either toward or away from one another, and ultimately, God’s plan for us to be a united front.
Even for some that may have already read what the Bible says about unconditional love, forgiveness, and being a good spouse, when it comes to proactively applying those principles to our relationship, we let the battery drain out rather than charge. Being “out of sync” with our husband or wife does seem strange in an age where we are constantly prompted to:
Update our phones
Update our iTunes
Update our status
Update our Instagram
Update our profile pics.
It is an embarrassing truth that we are at times more attentive to the number of “likes” we have on Facebook and Instagram than to how much we have “loved” our spouse—and, that we abundantly “share” what we like on social media, yet find it difficult to recall the last intimate detail shared with our husband or wife.
The “low battery” signal that pops up on my iPhone is, in my mind, the equivalent to an oxygen tank running low on a deep sea dive excursion (this remains one of my worst fears, and therefore I have never wanted to even try it!). I actually carry an extra battery or charger in an effort to avoid such a catastrophic disconnect. I know that I am not alone. How can we so desperately fear a technological freeze, yet—at the same time—remain in denial or stagnant in a marital shutdown?
Truth be told, I love my iPhone. I always say that the Bible changed my life, and the iPhone changed my day! It allows me to connect and to work from the car, and my kids’ pictures are available to me all day long. I can FaceTime my husband, Tim. It allows me to get news, information, biblical scriptures, music, the weather, my NCAA bracket updates . . . the list goes on.
I (now) take great care of my phone (details to follow). All of this care for something that has offered many things—but really promised me nothing. For as much as I love this particular iPhone, it is all but guaranteed that a newer, faster, better looking iPhone is likely to outshine it within the next 12–24 months.
On the contrary: there is no guarantee, nor is it God’s plan, that when the person you married seems “outdated” the iWife3 or iHusband4 will be available to you once you trade in your iCurrentlyCan’tStandMySpouse2! Despite our knowing this, our marriage is the precious good that we too often choose not to maintain.
Confession: My attentiveness to my technology has not always come naturally. A year ago, I never synced my phone. I rarely updated my computer. Laziness, good intentions gone bad, and a decision to not do the upkeep on my tech were all to blame.
Then came the day. You have had one like it, I suspect: 133 photos and videos on my iPhone—vanished. Precious smiling faces of my three babies, including Christmas morning videos, gone. No matter how many restarts, and swipes, and settings I frantically attempted, they would not be retrieved.
Within 17 minutes I was nearly breaking through the glass doors of the Apple Store. One would have thought I was rushing to the emergency room. I was going to fight hard to get back what I had lost, and I was wasting no time doing it. Every minute was too long to let it all somehow escape my reach. How could I ever let something so special just get wiped out? How could I have not backed up my memory? Why did I not take the time it took to simply sync?
Seventeen minutes were all that I let stand between me and the potential loss of my digital life.
And yet years go by before we realize all that we have lost—or stand to lose—in a marriage that has gotten way out of sync.
One is technological; one is biblical. Both require a decision to change it. Both require a practical instruction put into practice. Both have a real consequence if the “I do” becomes . . .
The Marriage App offers a multitude of ways by which the principle of intimacy actually becomes the result of the practice. By doing, you become, and by becoming you want to keep doing. This “app” is loaded with techniques that work, founded in over 30 years of couples counseling experience, and offers wise reminders throughout the chapters.
One of my favorites, found in the title of Chapter 4, reads “Realize the enemy is not your spouse.” Brilliantly conveyed, the chapter points out that the real opponent is not the person that said “I do” to you. The real enemy is evil. Evil is in hot pursuit and will use everything imaginable to hunt, seek, and destroy your marriage because Love is the prime enemy of Satan. Evil does not want you to read this book. Evil definitely does not want you and your husband or wife to read it together, as doing so will only strengthen the very system it wishes to throw into chaos. Evil wants your marriage to fail. Every day, every moment, it is attacking. Evil’s goal, simply put, is to have you think that being apart from your spouse is good, despite that we were created to be together. Evil’s game plan includes making you think that you are better off forfeiting your marriage, for something that seems better, easier, and less work. Evil is counting on you to give up. I firmly believe that when you put into action the APPlications the Friesens wisely offer, the only way your marriage will end is in victory.
Welcome to The Marriage App.
Now go on . . .
Unlock. Sync. Charge. Update. Restore.
From the Foreword by Elisabeth Hasselbeck (of “The View”)