A book on love seems rather farfetched because this is a lesson in life that needs to be learnt rather than read. However, the book ‘The Love Dare’ by Stephen and Alex Kendrick comes across as a true labor of love, in the real sense of the term. This book highlights the importance and power of unconditional love that knows neither any limits nor any boundaries. The mature approach that the book adopts to salvage troubled marriages is truly remarkable.
Though there are many theories, research and supporting material that have been formulated around explaining this concept in a better manner, the fact of the matter is that an open-ended and understanding approach goes a long way in mending broken bridges. It is not just unhappy marriages but also healthy and happy ones that need to adopt this approach to further strengthen the bond and the relationship.
‘The Love Dare’ takes it readers through a 40-day course that acts a guide to assist couples in the process of creating and enjoying a true sense of well-being and emotional intimacy that are the two highly essential ingredients of any relationship. A dynamic and healthy rapport between couples can easily be established by either understanding the areas of common interest or rekindling the love and passion by spending quality time together. The book assigns one task a day for the couples to carry out till the end of the course. So, if you are looking for boring sermons and advice that you have already heard a billion times, you can be rest assured that this book has something novel, fresh and new to offer you.
Based and built on the premise that a solid understanding and trust alone are the foundation on which a good relationship can be built on, this book examines plenty of other nitty gritty areas that people need to work on. More often than not, it is the small things that matter and that is the main reason why they also cause problems. Simple things like a hug, a line of acknowledgement, a smile when you get up in the morning, a pleasant demeanor, a note on the fridge or when you pack your lunch-they all make a big difference. Even though the gesture costs you nothing, it ultimately means everything. While these things seem important during the initial stages of the relationship, people tend to ignore them as time passes. This book is a good reminder of the things that we have forgotten and what we need to adopt all over again.
The very first chapter of the book begins with the quote “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
The book is not just another run-of-the-mill package on marriage. For example, on page 47, the foundation of love couldn’t have been spelt out more clearly. “There must be a stronger foundation than mere friendship or sexual attraction. Unconditional love, agape love, will not be swayed by time or circumstances. Patience gives your spouse permission to be human. It understands that everyone fails. When a mistake is made, it chooses to give them more time that they deserve to correct it. It gives you the ability to hold on during the rough times in your relationship rather than bailing out under the pressure.” Each chapter, numbered by the day has a ‘dare quote’ at the end followed by pages to make notes on certain questions pertaining to the task for that day.
The book includes sentences that remain with the reader, long after putting it down. For examples, on page 131 they say,” You must choose to live by encouragement rather than by expectations.” There exists a harmonious progression of emotions in the book. The authors start with accepting and understanding simple things like love is kind and love is not selfish to the stages of love is thoughtful and love is not rude. It then moves onto the train of thought that love is not irritable and love believes the best. These aspects are covered over the first few days of the program followed by the more complex emotions like love is not jealous and love is unconditional.
The bond that exists between a husband and wife should be one of mutual respect and complete transparency. On page 12, there is a line, “Nobody knows you as well as our spouse. And that means no one will be quicker to recognize a change when you deliberately start sacrificing your wants and wishes to make sure his or her needs are met.” It covers the entire spectrum of treating your spouse with respect and care to buying them their favorite dessert or washing their car for them or just doing the laundry for that week.
A very interesting aspect of the book is that it uses a style that is very unconventional. It has biblical passages interspersed with the main text. For example, on page 27 you find Jesus said” Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12: 34 NKJV)
The best part of the book is that it is an amalgamation of challenging lessons that address the true meaning and essence of love, adequate scope and space for journaling and a highly relevant ‘dare’ at the end of each and every day.
Rather than focusing on the best person to choose a life partner who suits a particular personality profile, the book helps couples see the concept of love in a completely different light and from a much more mature, useful and helpful angle.