And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives by John and Julie Gottman
What happens when you pair two psychologists with research statistics like “67 percent of couples become very unhappy with each other during the first three years of their baby’s life” and “83 percent of new parents go through moderate to severe crisis in the transition to parenthood”? You get a survival guide like this one. Dripping with real-life examples, data, and advice, the Gottmans provide crucial insight into navigating the dynamics of adding a third pea to your pod. Curl up together with a warm drink and a readiness to grow. You’ll learn some history. You’ll work through exercises. And you’ll end up much closer when you finish the book than when you started it.*
Practicing the Presence of People: How We Learn to Love by Mike Mason
“We are not born with love; it is something we must learn.” Thus Mike’s premise opens a host of quick meditations on how to embrace the glory of God in every single person we meet. If this sounds like a feat possible only for the super-extroverted among us, Mike is a contemplative introvert with a highly developed appreciation for the mess of humanity. His thoughtful writing smacks of grace—an essential component if we are determined to view love as a lifelong practice. Some of his ponderings are ethereal, others practical. “If we like, we can sit around endlessly speculating on the meaning of love. But why not just get on with it?”
Love Walked Among Us: Learning to Love Like Jesus by Paul Miller
If the main marker of a disciple is love, we should probably learn how to do it properly. This simple and beautiful primer beckons us to get an up-close view of the way Jesus interacted with those around Him. Readers will inevitably encounter some uncomfortable truths, but Paul’s personable “been there, done that” style makes it easy to let our guard down. He covers extremely practical topics like love’s common obstacles, when love needs to say no, and how love sometimes requires anger. Incarnating Christ’s heart for people isn’t the least bit mushy (though it might lead to genuine softness in the best sense of the word). There’s a quiet strength in loving like Jesus, and it’s work only God can do.
Our epic tour around the globe (and through the Gospel of John) now brings us to St. Peter’s Basilica. This architectural colossus is the world’s largest church; with a capacity of 60,000, it dominates the physical landscape of Vatican City and the spiritual landscape of the West. St. Peter’s has been called “the greatest of all churches of Christendom.” It’s impossible to behold without an overwhelming sense of awe.
John 8 finds us in the courts of Jerusalem’s vibrant temple complex during a holiday. Religious fervor is high, and so is the unfolding drama between Jesus and the Jewish rulers. Let’s sneak in the back and grab a seat to see what will happen.