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  • Writer's pictureAmy Noel Green

Well, I didn't actually read it, but...

Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this. I'll be in a conversation, and it will remind me of an article I saw on social media. So, of course, I bring the article up as a relevant addition to the conversation. And only in describing the article do I realize that I never actually read the article. I read the headline. I probably read the excerpt underneath the headline and maybe even the quote my friend pulled out of the article and their personal commentary that they wrote when they shared it.

Here's where I know you expect me to tell you that I hate social media culture and that I lament that all we care about are headlines and that we don't take the time to dive deeper and think more critically. But I'm not sure I do hate it. Sometimes just the headline and quick excerpt give me a lot to think about. When I have time and energy, I do read more. But I like that I have a little nugget to ponder in my own way, even if I don't have the time to read the four-minute article.

Yes, I hear myself. Four minutes! Who doesn't have four minutes? Sometimes, I don't. And I see how ironic it is that if you've read this far, you did take the four minutes. So, I may not be speaking to my "skim-it-over, think-it-over, talk about it as if you're an expert now" people.

But today, I want to share with you a book review for a book I never read. It has impacted my life in such big ways that I have the audacity to recommend it to people, always with the caveat that I never read the actual book. For all I know, the book is garbage and contains terrible, unGodly advice that is sure to destroy your life. I mean, I assume it doesn't...because I've heard other people bring the book up and recommend it, so it's probably solid. It has 4.5 stars on Amazon, so it can't be that bad. But the point is, I don't know, because I never read it. But the title and subtitle and whatever I recollect from the book flap might change your life.

Okay, so the book whose title I love enough to recommend without reading a single page of it is, Sacred Romance: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? Okay, yes, it's definitely the sub-title I love, not the title itself. But, what a concept! I'm parading around my marriage lamenting that my husband isn't more Amy-focused every day. As if our marriage was just an elaborate ploy on my part to sign up one life-long fan of me, a permanent member of my entourage whose job it is to praise me and make my life easier and remind me why I'm lovable. Looking back, I do think that was kind of my intention when I got married at 21, and I'm not convinced I've matured a whole lot since then.)

But really, what if every time I wish my husband was doing more for me, I remembered that my marriage is an opportunity for me to practice laying down my life for someone else? What if, in marriage, I learned to selflessly love someone who won't always love me back the way I want, and what if by practicing that kind of love, I learned to love a lot more people who were sometimes hard to love, without expecting love back in return?

I don't have to read the book. The concept in the subtitle is challenging enough. Just pondering this concept has shifted my marriage in small ways. If I'm honest, I'm afraid to read the book. It used to sit on my bookshelf and I often considered reading it. But already, in so many of my fights with Ryan, the subtitle pops into my head, and I have to struggle through whether or not I'm willing to let God use my marriage to refine me in that moment, or if I'm going to stubbornly insist on my own way, disregarding the nudge in my spirit that the harder my husband is to love in any given moment, the more I stand to gain if I choose to love anyway. If I read the book, I'm worried I'd have even more convincing reasons to lay down my life like Jesus tells us to, by choosing, in a single moment, to lay down my preference and prefer someone else instead. And sometimes I still want to choose me. I'm working on it, but not enough to want to add any fuel to the fire just yet. Baby steps!

Okay, if you've actually read this book, please, in the comments, bombard me with the truth bombs I've been avoiding. Tell me what your takeaways have been. Convince me to read it. ;)

Also, if you liked this totally random post of mine and want more book reviews of books I didn't read, (I have so many!!) let me know in the comments. If enough people dig it, I'll make this a regular thing.

Amy Noel Green is a conference and keynote speaker. She is a writer and game designer who has received international press attention for her work on the video game about her son Joel, That Dragon, Cancer.

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