Rebuild Your Marriage beyond ordinary book cover
Rebuild Your Marriage 3 minute read

Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough (Review)

Last Updated: November 13, 2020

beyond ordinaryMarriages don’t have to be ordinary. God can help couples find oneness and intimacy, or recapture it. The authors share from their marriage godly beginnings, deterioration, building resentment, the consequences of an extramarital affair, restoration, and healing.

I love when authors boil their story down to a single, potent theme: Only God can turn our marriages into extra-ordinary. This is the theme of Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough.

So many couples settle for less than ordinary. Extra-ordinary has to come on a heart level. God has to transform our hearts as individuals and as a couple. In a way, this book is the story of God taking an ordinary (or less than ordinary) marriage and transforming it. It is their journey of coming to a deeper understanding of the oneness, intimacy, and trust God wants couples to have in marriage.

Incremental vs. Transformational Change

Chapter 10 “No Ordinary Healing” has a wonderful section on fixing our marriages and changing. I think it illustrates the central theme of the book and how married couples get off track when their marriages need fixing.

Incremental Change “is you and your spouse doing your best…making big promises…[working only on the] change you are in control of…. Incremental change tells you if you try hard enough, you can cuss less, drink less, click on pornography less, eat less, lose your temper less, spend less, lust less, lie less, cheat less. Incremental change is motivated by guilt and shame and feelings of incompetence and failure” (p.183).

“Incremental change doesn’t allow you to experience grace and forgiveness because you are constantly trying to make up for the sin in your life” (p.184).

Transformational Change “is about surrender, vulnerability and transparency; humility and dependency. Transformational change at its core aims to destroy you, and if you are willing to pay that price, it will totally destroy every part of you. It’s messy and bloody and it hurts deep and it will cost you everything. It is pulling all of your junk out and laying it on the table for all to see no matter what they think about you” (p.184)

The Back Third of the Book: Restoration

I knew that the authors’ marriage was threatened by an affair and that they recovered, so I wanted to read the last third of the book. My wife and I work with individuals entrenched in sexual sin, as well as their spouses. In most cases, their world is either blown apart, or about to be blown apart by the truth.

If your marriage is in need of restoration, you may want to start with Chapter 8 with Justin’s confession. Here’s a striking quote that shows the reader how bad their marriage got:

“[Justin to Trisha] ‘I don’t love you. I don’t want to be married to you. I want out.’…It wasn’t a confession of remorse, regret, or repentance. It was a confession of resignation.  I was finished.” (p.133)

The details of the affair are not shared in this book (a wise choice in my opinion). The authors reflect the decay in their marriage and unhealthy patterns that were present (as a couple and as individuals), but there is a gap. In one chapter, Justin feels the Holy Spirit telling him to confess to another man where his heart was going. In the next chapter, Justin comes home from a conference ready to leave his wife for another woman. I wish this gap would have been acknowledged. It’s was a hard jump for me to make.

I appreciate Trisha’s perspective on the affair when she says, “In our story, the affair gets all the attention, but what I have come to realize is that I had a forgiveness issue long before the affair” (p.147).

“The affair wasn’t the problem in our marriage; it was a visible and destructive symptom of an illness that had lived in my heart undetected. Insecurity and fear had ruled my life for years” (p.150).

There are tremendous sections on brokenness and forgiveness in this book. An “ordinary” response in today’s culture to an affair is separation and divorce. God helped the authors discover the “extraordinary” heart change required to recover from an affair.

The Value of Reflection and Counseling

The affair forced them into an intense period of counseling and reflection. The depth of this book comes from the authors’ looking back at their personal and marriage histories. It was easier for them to see in retrospect and with good counsel how destructive patterns evolved. Marriages don’t blow up overnight. There is a slow fade that takes place. I think  the authors do a good job of reflecting on this deterioration, diagnosing it, and giving the reader strong takeaways for their own marriages.

Check Out RefineUs.org

Justin and Trisha Davis have a wonderful ministry called Refine Us. They have a lot to say about marriage restoration and enrichment. Check out their blog, website, and upcoming speaking appearances at RefineUs.org. I love the tagline on their site: Restoring Hope, Renewing Relationships.

0 comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related in Rebuild Your Marriage

Editor's Picks

A couple facing one another, holding hands.

Rebuild Your Marriage

Forgiveness vs. Trust: Why Knowing the Difference is Essential

The first 8 years of Troy and Melissa’s marriage were horrible because…

3 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A woman praying with her Bible.

Rebuild Your Marriage

How To (Biblically) Lament Your Husband’s Pornography Use

After I found out that my husband had been viewing pornography, I…

3 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Happy couple at the beach.

Rebuild Your Marriage

Rebuilding Trust in Marriage Through Boundaries

In situations where a marriage has been affected by pornography use, it’s…

5 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Happy family of six.

Rebuild Your Marriage

From Secret Addiction to Full Transparency

After being married for eight years, I came home unexpectedly one afternoon…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Phil Robertson discussing The Blind with Covenant Eyes.

Rebuild Your Marriage

4 Reasons You Should Watch “The Blind”

The Covenant Eyes Podcast team recently made the trip DEEP into the…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A mother with her teenage daughters.

Rebuild Your Marriage

How Porn Shattered My Life (Scholarship Winner)

I was 36, married for 15 years, serving in our Church, attending…

5 minute read

Read Post

Related in Rebuild Your Marriage

A couple facing one another, holding hands.

Rebuild Your Marriage

Forgiveness vs. Trust: Why Knowing the Difference is Essential

The first 8 years of Troy and Melissa’s marriage were horrible because…

The first 8 years of Troy and Melissa’s marriage were horrible because of Troy’s sexual addiction. As God healed them—Troy from his addiction and Melissa from betrayal trauma—they developed a passion for helping other couples.…

3 minute read

0 comments

A woman praying with her Bible.

Rebuild Your Marriage

How To (Biblically) Lament Your Husband’s Pornography Use

After I found out that my husband had been viewing pornography, I…

After I found out that my husband had been viewing pornography, I was devastated. As I processed my grief, one of my dearest friends posed this question to me: “What did you lose when your…

3 minute read

0 comments

Happy couple at the beach.

Rebuild Your Marriage

Rebuilding Trust in Marriage Through Boundaries

In situations where a marriage has been affected by pornography use, it’s…

In situations where a marriage has been affected by pornography use, it’s common for one person to feel responsible for the healing process, while the other doesn’t take enough responsibility. This dynamic can lead to…

5 minute read

0 comments

Happy family of six.

Rebuild Your Marriage

From Secret Addiction to Full Transparency

After being married for eight years, I came home unexpectedly one afternoon…

After being married for eight years, I came home unexpectedly one afternoon to find out that my husband had a pornography addiction. I was defeated, brokenhearted, and overwhelmed. I was a young, stay-at-home mom with…

4 minute read

0 comments

Phil Robertson discussing The Blind with Covenant Eyes.

Rebuild Your Marriage

4 Reasons You Should Watch “The Blind”

The Covenant Eyes Podcast team recently made the trip DEEP into the…

The Covenant Eyes Podcast team recently made the trip DEEP into the heart of Louisiana to meet with Phil and Kay Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame, and to talk about their new movie, The Blind.…

4 minute read

0 comments

A mother with her teenage daughters.

Rebuild Your Marriage

How Porn Shattered My Life (Scholarship Winner)

I was 36, married for 15 years, serving in our Church, attending…

I was 36, married for 15 years, serving in our Church, attending life group and sending our girls to a Christian school to help raise them in the ways of the Lord. I thought pornography…

5 minute read

4 Comments