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The Zimzum of Love:
A New Way of Understanding Marriage
– Rob and Kristen Bell
My wife and I have been through counseling.
We’ve also had training to “do” counseling.
We have, in fact, provided counseling.
And we have 36 years (more or less) of marriage.
Just saying, I know a little bit about marriage and counseling.
From that stance, I can highly recommend this book.
This is a pretty short, easy read. Yet, there are some great truths and principles here. There’s a lot in these pages that is relatively standard marriage counseling, as well as some new ideas. All of it, of course, has that trademark “Bell-style” way of looking at life; a style I very much enjoy.
And, you get stick-figure drawings!
Who doesn’t like stick-figure drawings?!?!
We are given, of course, an explanation of zimzum (originally tzimtzum, a Hebrew word), and how that concept relates to marriage. Chapters 2 through 5 expound on how marriage is Responsive, Dynamic, Exclusive and Sacred.
“The Zimzum of Love” is highly anecdotal. There is a lot of back-and-forth between Rob and Kristen.
Every marriage is unique, but a book like this helps us see how universal many of our experiences are. Just about whatever you may be going through, rest assured you are not alone.
This book is written from a Christian perspective, and thus incorporates a lot of spiritual language and understanding. The associated actions could be easily adapted by non-Christians, as well. I can’t imagine anyone not receiving some benefit from reading this book. I think this would be a good hand-out for premarital counseling, as well as for those already married.
I’ve only done a few wedding ceremonies, but for future ones I’m asked to officiate I will be offering this book to the couple.
Marriage has been at the forefront of recent national discussion.
Some see marriage as a meaningless social construct, and think we’d all be better off without the legal commitment and ceremonial form. Many of us, including Rob and Kristen, believe marriage is much deeper than that. We believe that there’s more going on than meets the eye. More than biology. More than just synaptic brain activity. More, even, than what it means for the 2 people who are married. That marriage means “more” for our entire society.
“The Zimzum of Love” takes an in-depth look at this “more.”
Buy the book. Click HERE.
Some thoughts from other readers:
“The Bells wield their heartfelt words and honest voices to cheer on couples of all kinds. . . . This is a ‘feel good’ book, not because it skirts the issues, but precisely because it delves so deeply into them. . . . Married or not, read this book.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“After having stood on the cliff of divorce, I sure wish that our marriage counselor would have had a resource like this to share with us.” – Roger
“This is a book about how to people partner in life and create a special space between them–they zimzum. I’ve got a fantastic marriage, but I learned new things about my wife as we read this together.” – Mike
Buy the book. Click HERE.
A few QUOTES:
– There are moments in marriage when you realize that some of the most profound truths of the universe are lying next to you in bed.
– Great marriages have an ease about them, a back-and-forth nonreactive, non-defensive, open, and ongoing flow in which you never stop talking and figuring it out together.
– Life never stops changing. It’s inevitable that these changes will affect the space between you.,br.
– Any thought – however trivial or fleeting it is – about who or what you aren’t takes directly away from who and what you are.
– Home is whenever I’m with you. [Recently stated by me to my wife during our recent move, before reading the book.]
– Out of 7 billion people on the planet, you decided to say yes to just one of them.
– Learn to see things from their perspective. When in doubt, assume that they are seeing something that you don’t.
– Few triggers are more explosive than the phrase “You always do that.”
– One of the primary ways you strengthen this bond is through shared experiences.
– Marriage -gay and straight – is a gift to the world because the world needs more – not less – love, fidelity, commitment, devotion and sacrifice.
– It’s easy to divide your experiences in marriage into the good ones and the bad ones. We are invited to transcend those binaries, becoming aware of the divine presence in all of life.
Buy the book. Click HERE.
First of all, this post is not about the ridiculous books, movie, or the bad theology they represent.
Not mostly, anyway.
This is about things I’ve left behind.
More than that, it’s about some of those things that I’m reaching back to pick up again.
There’s a small group of guys I meet with about once a week.
We are “Comrades.”
We share our life experiences, discuss “spiritual” issues (which means everything in life) and we often are somewhat of a “book club.” Books and audio we’ve delved into so far include, “The Naked Gospel,” “The Misunderstood God,” “The Idolatry of God,” and “Living By The Indwelling Life of Christ.”
We’ve recently started the Brian McLaren book “We Make The Road By Walking.”
This is my ninth book by that author.
Basically, the book is made to be read and discussed one chapter per week for an entire year.
Each chapter also contains some suggested Bible readings.
Now, I used to read the Bible every day. I’ve been through it cover to cover a couple of times, read the New Testament dozens of times, and many passages, well, possibly hundreds of times. I am, after all, a [clears throat] “licensed minister.”
In my spiritual journey out of the cult of right-wing fundamentalist evangelicalism, reading the Bible is one of the things I pretty much left behind.
I also, for the most part, left behind biblical terms like “sin,” “salvation,” “hell,” “redemption” and many others.
Now, I’ve never stopped appreciating the Bible. In fact, I can honestly say I appreciate and respect those holy writings more than ever. A large part of that respect is realizing how disrespectful it is to take it all literately, or as some kind of historical or scientific text book.
Most of the reason for dropping terms like “salvation,” and the others, isn’t because I’ve stopped believing in them. It’s just that I’ve come to better understand them, and how differently they are actually used in the scriptures than I had been taught and believed. The misuse and abuse of those terms, as well as the Bible itself, led me to no longer refer to such because I knew that when I spoke them, what was being heard by others was not what was being said by me. Sadly, that’s still predominately the case.
So I needed a clean break.
A break from that kind of language as well as a break from even reading the Bible. Organized religion has brought so much baggage and destruction that the christ it presents is nothing like the Christ we read of in our holy book. I’m still aware of the limitations of using certain terms in public.
More and more, though, people are seeing that many (maybe even most) who believe in Jesus are not biblical literalists.
With help from authors like Philip Yancey, Peter Rollins, the amazing Rob Bell, and Brian McLaren (along with many others) I’ve been able to rediscover the beauty of The Book, properly understood. I’ve been able to see that terms like sin, salvation, glory, heaven and hell are all valid terms worthy of discussion when understood as the original audience understood them. Which, of course, is not how we’ve heard them used for centuries. Well, not from those most vocal who have falsely claimed to be speaking for God.
I know people often have to set aside things that have been an important part of their lives, re-evaluate, and then see what remains.
I actually missed what we called “worship music,” but so much of it was filled with such bad theology I could no longer listen to it.
Groups like “The Choir,” and “Gungor” have helped with bringing that back into my life.
Music which helps me contemplate The Divine.
I’m now able to pick up some of the things I’ve left behind. But I’m picking them up with the respect they deserve by not making them into something they were never supposed to be. I’m picking them up having shaken off the garbage I was told was inseparable from them.
Still, there’s much that remains behind me as my journey continues.
Some ideologies to which we’ve given birth need to be killed off.
Some babies actually should be thrown out with the bathwater.
Some cherished beliefs and doctrines really should be left behind.