See-Through Marriage, Ryan and Selena Frederick. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2020.
Summary: A fulfilling marriage is one that is transparent, about our joys and desires, our past and our failures, where all these things are brought into the light.
This book builds on the idea of 1 John 1:7:
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
The authors maintain that in marriage, the most fulfilling marriages are honest marriages, where there are no secrets, where couples learn to bring to each other their joys and sorrows, their sins and failures, their desires and preferences. Part of what makes this scary is that we hide what we think will make the other love us less. Yet the vulnerability that tells the truth offers the chance to be loved even more–loved for who we are. Hiding actually distances us from each other.
They explore the lies we tell each other, the ways we hide, and what real transparency looks like. Transparency involves knowing ourselves–spiritually, psychologically, and physically. Transparency leads us into oneness. They explore the implications of this for our sexuality, for our communication, our friendships, and our experience of Christian community.
They face us with a choice:
Being completely known and still completely loved is perhaps the greatest human desire. We long for a connection so deep and so unshakable that no matter who we are or what we do, we will still be counted as lovable. The desire drives us all forward, but not always to the same destination. It either will drive you to present a version of yourself that is more readily loved and accepted by others or will drive you into the shadows in hopes of not being exposed for who you truly are (pp. 46-47).
They tell stories of how they and other couples faced this choice and what it looked like to face fear and step into the light of transparency with each other. They offer questions at the end of each chapter for personal reflection or study together.
The patterns of transparency or hiding that couples develop early in their marriages are vital to the health of a marriage. This seems like a book particularly framed for couples in the early years of marriage, though it can be helpful at any point. This is not so much a book for a marriage in trouble, where the help of a counselor may be important, but rather a book that both prevents problems, and paints a vision of what marriage is meant to be.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions I have expressed are my own.