Book Review: A Fierce Love

A Fierce Love:  One Woman’s Courageous Journey To Save Her Marriage, by Shauna Shanks

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Zondervan.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

I found this book a lot more relevant than I thought I would at the outset.  I am no stranger to reading about books concerning marriage written by men and women [1] that I consider to be of limited immediate personal relevance, but the more I read this book the more I realized that this book had a deep personal relevance to me and I was not very fond of it.  Indeed, I could see myself as being extremely similar to the author’s husband, and that realization was not necessarily a pleasant one for me, although it does not detract at all from the honesty the author has about this book about about her struggle to save her marriage in the face of her husband’s expressed desire for a divorce.  Having a great deal to identify with in the save childhood and generally estranged emotional affect of the author’s husband, I found the author’s approach towards reconciliation both immensely hopeful and more than a little bit troubling at the same time.

In somewhat more than 200 pages the author gives a memoir of her attempts to save the marriage, filled as they are with flashbacks as well as comments about the marriages of others.  In framing her story as she does, the author examines her own flaws and failures in the marriage and also comments that not every marriage can or even should be saved in the face of a partner’s abusive behavior or infidelity.  This framing is important because the story the author tells is rather chilling.  The author discusses the long-distance relationship the marriage came from and its difficulty in early years and the surprise at which the author was struck by the divorce when she thought everything was going alright.  A great deal of time is spent with the author discussing her discretion in not causing news or gossip of the split to be widely voiced and in her use of relatives of her husband as a spiritual resource in trying to keep the marriage together.  Particularly chilling and relevant, though, is the way that the author’s husband is portrayed as being rather emotionally timid and restrained as a result of his survival from a horrific childhood in a broken family, and that is something I could easily identify with myself.  The author’s fierce desire to save the marriage and her refusal to give up on her troubled husband are admirable if rare qualities.

This book serves many purposes simultaneously and thus proves to be an admirable and deeply interesting work.  In large part, this book is a memoir of the author’s marriage at a dangerous point, showing how in some cases loyalty and devotion and love can win over the heart of an estranged spouse.  The book also, though, has a great deal to do with the simultaneous wooing of the author by God as she realizes her own spiritual shortcomings and commits herself to a renewed relationship with God even as she seeks to save her marriage.  If this narrative was not complicated enough, the author then adds to this story elements of spiritual warfare as she seeks to help her husband overcome his own emotional difficulties as a result of his abusive childhood so that he may better love his wife and children.  The end result is a book that was far more relevant than I had any reason to believe it, and the sort of book to encourage those who struggle in their own marriages with the effects of destructive childhood and the problems of prolonged spiritual warfare.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christianity, Love & Marriage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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