Two weeks ago my hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. I say ‘celebrated’ – the celebrations included a short drive out to a local beauty spot, and a home- cooked steak dinner! Which suited us fine. Neither of us do big gestures, but it was good to mark the day and especially look back and thank God for our marriage, and His faithfulness to us over the years. Is ours a perfect marriage? Well after 29 years it must be pretty good, right? It is! But it is not perfect; it never has been and probably never will be. There have been times when it has been a fight, and times when it has been a joy. But we made vows to one another and before God, and by His grace, we are still here, and still one, and still loving each other.
This week I have also had the joy of reading a new book, ‘Grace-Filled Marriage’, by Claire and Steve Musters. I agreed to be part of their launch team, not entirely sure what I had signed up for! But I have been privileged to be able to read a pre-publication copy of this amazingly insightful and helpful book. I have devoured it. Perhaps having been married a good many years, it seems strange to be reading a book on marriage, but the truth is that we still make mistakes, we still unintentionally hurt one another, and we still need grace – buckets full of it. I also found it a challenging read. It is heart- breakingly honest in places, and disturbingly convicting in others.
‘Grace Filled Marriage’ is a perfect marriage in my humble opinion. It brings together great scripturally based wisdom and advice, and marries it seamlessly with compelling real- life stories. I found these little snapshots into other people’s marriage struggles particularly helpful, not least the authors’ own candid revelations of their own troubled marriage journey. It is a brave thing to do, to let God use your own ‘warts and all’ story to bring hope to others. And I think that is what Claire and Steve have done. You know that they know what they are talking about. You can trust they have ‘been there, done that’, and come through it all with a stronger, more loving, more God- honouring marriage -because of His redemptive grace and their willingness to fight. I pray God will honour them for that vulnerability.
The book is 12 chapters long, each tackling one area of marriage where we need to exercise God- given grace with each other. They cover such subjects as complacency, forgiveness, conflict, and championing one another. Each chapter contains at least one story from a real life marriage, and ends with a few thoughtful and helpful questions to ask ourselves. As well as being a great read for individuals, it is potentially a great resource – for couples considering marriage, for newly-weds, for all marrieds wanting to be better at it, or for small study groups.
As I said, we don’t have a perfect marriage, and I don’t actually think God expects us to have perfect marriages – we’re not perfect people after all. But in the same way as He is working in us, and changing us as individuals, from glory to glory, to becoming more a reflection of Him, the only perfect one, so I believe He also wants our marriages to get better and better, with His help. I read this book alone, although there were times when I paused to share some particular nugget of wisdom, or challenging thought, with hubby. As a couple, many of the things the book deals with we have already learnt, the hard way sometimes, in our nearly 30 years of marriage. But we can still learn more, so we have decided to go through the book again together, slowly and prayerfully, and see how we could be doing better. And by God’s grace we will.
Grace Filled Marriage by Claire and Steve Musters is published today, 7th May 2021, by Authentic Media, RRP £9.99. It is available via all the usual bookselling outlets but you can bless Claire and Steve particularly by purchasing a copy direct at
 2 Corinthians 3:18