Jeff and Sarah Walton’s Together Through the Storms: Biblical Encouragements for Your Marriage When Life Hurts is a marriage book unlike any I’ve ever seen.
Jeff and his wife Sarah (who blogs at setapart.net and co-wrote Hope When It Hurts) have been through a lot together: physical injuries, financial hardship, battling Lyme disease (Sarah and their four kids suffer from Lyme), job loss, not to mention the normal struggles every couple goes through like communication and sin issues. And yet, with the help of God, they remain not only together, but stronger.
While the adversity they face would drive many to give up on marriage and faith, Jeff and Sarah have leaned into difficulty for the glory of God. My wife and I know Jeff and Sarah from attending the same church (until the Walton’s recent move) and can say they are the real deal.
It’s rare to have a book on marriage written by two thirty-somethings that is so deep and helpful. But Jeff and Sarah are wise beyond their years because the furnace of affliction is a great teacher. Jeff and Sarah interweave their story with the book of Job to process suffering in marriage and how to move forward together. Jeff and Sarah’s journey exemplifies the paradox of the Christian life that we can be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.
The Waltons walk through a variety of issues that give readers a well-rounded look at life and suffering in the context of marriage. Issues include: helping your spouse battle depression, dealing with past sin issues, thinking through marital intimacy while suffering, and more. (I found Jeff’s story from one chapter so helpful that I tell it in my book When Prayer Is a Struggle coming out next August.)
Together Through the Storms is part biography, part book on suffering, part book on communication in marriage, and part book on living out the gospel. Reading it with your spouse will help you process past difficulty and prepare for the future. It’s a very practical book too, with ten-page chapters that end with reflection questions, a prayer, and related Scriptures. I suspect many readers will find reading it compare to an inspiring spiritual bootcamp that gives the tools to work through major challenges of life and marriage, and to do so together.
Listen to an interview with Jeff and Sarah with Focus on the Family