I read a lot and love to discuss books, but I don't do a lot of book reviews. However, I do follow Adam Hamilton's blog and was intrigued with the title, Love To Stay, when it was released in August. I enjoyed reading some foundational scriptures on love and marriage, but also interesting results from a survey that Adam did with over 5000 people. So here's my book review for Love To Stay that I posted on Amazon.com.
I’m single and twice-divorced so I know I have a lot to learn about love and staying in it. Adam Hamilton’s book provides insights from his pastoral ministry, but he also shares from interviews with over 5000 married, and single people on either how they were able to Stay in Love, or what they are looking for in a mate. Adam begins the book by laying a foundation that a long-term marriage cannot exist on eros (the passionate, sexual side of love) alone. There has to be a desire to help and encourage, to nurture and lift up, which transforms eros into agape, the sacrificial love that wishes the best for the other.
Adam explores the biblical basis for marriage, but also offers practical advice such as reviewing your wedding vows frequently and examining how you are fulfilling them, as well as praying together daily. And if you’re single, Adam recommends thinking about the spouse you want to be, and which marriage promises will be the most challenging for you in the future.
His survey results are most interesting and Adam discusses the different responses between men and women by age group. Nearly 1000 single people participated in the survey and > 80% said that they hoped to be married someday. They were asked, “What are the key qualities you are seeking in a mate?” The answers in my age group, 50-90+, from men were:
- attractive or intelligent (over age 70)
- emotionally stable
- strong faith
Single women, age 50-90+ said:
- strong faith
- emotionally stable
- good communicator
- fun/humorous or compassionate
Although in somewhat different order, honest/trustworthy, strong faith and emotionally stable were in the top 5 for both men and women in the 50-90+ age range.
Married respondents who answered the survey ranked “having fun with me” and “demonstrations of affection” high in all age groups for both men and women.
I like the concept that we have “love” bank accounts that our spouse needs to make frequent deposits into. A bank account that runs dry will eventually be closed just like our hearts eventually become hardened.
One of the best chapters is on the trivialization of sex where Adam makes the case that far from liberating us, it robs sexual intimacy of its power. “We become vulnerable, completely open, naked before the other and it is meant to be a beautiful, holy and profound thing.” Adam rightly criticizes that churches don’t spend enough time on the beauty and importance of sexual intimacy in marriage. Adam’s survey results showed a definite correlation between physical intimacy, church attendance and daily prayer together.
I’d recommend this book to everyone who is seeking a holy relationship of friendship or marriage. The principles in the book encourage us to lead our lives as stewards of God’s love, and then show us practical ways that we can further serve those whom God has brought closest to us.
Please note: Abingdon Press provided me with a complimentary copy of Love To Stay for review purposes.
(click below for MP3 file of this review)