Love That Lasts

I just finished reading Love that Lasts: How We Discovered God’s Better Way for Love, Dating, Marriage, and Sex by Jeff and Alyssa Bethke. I want to recommend it to our young people, especially our high school seniors, and college students. If you are in either of these categories and you are dating someone or looking to date someone, then I DOUBLY recommend this book to you. If you are engaged or newly married, then I TRIPLY (is that even a word?) recommend this book to you.
Jeff and Alyssa are a young couple who have been married for around 7 years. They have two small children. They love Jesus and they love one another, and the story of how they came to love Jesus and one another is extremely inspiring.
Jeff and Alyssa both had trouble finding a “love that lasts.” Both went on their own prodigal journeys during and after high school. By the grace of God, they learned to walk with Jesus and were rescued.
God brought Jeff and Alyssa together at the wedding of a mutual friend. They started dating a short time after that, but it was not happily ever after just yet. Alyssa, still wrestling with who she was in Christ, broke up with Jeff a few months into their relationship. Heartbroken, Jeff gave her space and prayed for her. Alyssa then entered into a dating relationship with someone else, who in turn broke her heart in the same way she did Jeff’s.
Through all this, God showed them how beautiful was their love for one another… that they were better together than apart. He revealed His plans for their life together. Alyssa and Jeff submitted to those plans, were married, and found the satisfaction and joy of “a love that lasts.” Oh, and they had a couple of children too.
I know what I have written so far sounds like a cheesy rom-com movie, but here is what is great about the story.
1. If you are in a season of waiting to meet your future spouse, you will learn how to guard your heart and be patient. From Alyssa, you will learn how to just be in love with Jesus during this season. You will learn how to pray for your future mate.
2. If you are haunted by a shameful past, you will learn from Jeff how to be set free from your guilt. You will see how Christ has changed you into a new creature, and how if you will just trust him, He can redeem you. Having failure in your past does not preclude you from having an amazing future or being able to be set free in a wholesome and holy relationship.
3. If you are dating someone, you will learn from both Alyssa and Jeff the red flags to watch out for. You will either find the courage to remove yourself from an unhealthy relationship or the courage to go all in and prepare for an amazing life ahead with the person who you are supposed to marry.
4. If you have gone through a heartbreaking breakup (or a series of them), you will learn what you have to gain through the breakup. You will be encouraged to know that it is not the end of the world. You will learn how not to let your heart and emotions get prematurely involved in future relationships.
5. If you are newly married, then you will learn how to navigate all the baggage that gets brought into the marriage. The first year can be tough, but it is much easier when you know how to encourage one another.
6. Finally (and this is a big one), you will learn what the Bible says about sex. This is one area where the church often fails, but Jeff and Alyssa do a great job laying out a theology of sex. They not only teach what’s bad about sex outside of marriage, they teach what is good about sex between a husband and a wife. If you are married, then what they have to say about sex can revolutionize your marriage. If you are not married, then what they have to say will give you something to hope for and enjoy once you are married.
So, if you are in the categories mentioned above, or if you love someone who is, give this book a look. Jeff and Alyssa have a lot of good stuff on YouTube too, so check them out.