Friday, January 11, 2013

Beyond Ordinary by Justin & Trisha Davis: A Book Review

Justin & Trisha Davis know all too well the dangers of settling for an ordinary marriage. Their own failure to recognize the warning signs almost resulted in the end of their marriage, their family, and their ministry. Now, with disarming transparency, the give readers a rare glimpse into the slow fade that eventually led to the near destruction of everything they held dear.

Using a compelling "he said, she said" approach, Justin & Trisha share two sides of the same story, exposing the seemingly insignificant comments and decisions couples make every day that can dramatically alter the course of a marriage. They also share the invaluable lessons they learned that helped them restore their relationship and transform their ordinary marriage into an extraordinary one!

It's your marriage. Why would you settle for anything less?

Beyond Ordinary by Justin & Trisha Davis (founders of RefineUs Ministries, Inc.) is supposedly not an ordinary book on marriage. Having never read a book on marriage prior to this one, I have no idea whether or not that's true. What I do know, however, is that this book is funny, engaging, challenging, and extremely convicting!

From the simple introduction to the very last page, the Davis's bare their heart and soul to the reader. They share their story with such openness and honesty, allowing the pain and raw emotion to leak onto the pages. Justin & Trisha take their time telling the story, not rushing through to the "bad stuff," but show the reader the ins and outs of their daily interactions with one another, the little things that led up to the near destruction of their marriage.

The simple style of the book takes a "he said, she said" approach. Both Justin & Trisha take turns sharing their side of the story. In marriage (and life), there are always two sides of every story, so it was good to hear both perspectives. Also incorporated into the book were occasional journal entries from Trisha, which gives the reader a genuine glimpse of her heart and emotions at the time. 

The message of Beyond Ordinary is profound. Justin & Trisha don't simply try to give the reader steps to a better marriage. This book does not give a list of rules and regulations, do's and don'ts, or say whatever a typical marriage book would say. Instead, the Davis's focus on telling their story of redemption and what it takes to go from an ordinary marriage to an extraordinary one. What it takes might surprise you as having an extraordinary marriage is not a result of doing more or less of this or that for your spouse. It's what you do with your heart that matters.

Whether you have a happy marriage, an ordinary marriage, or a down-right difficult marriage, I recommend you read Beyond Ordinary

Click here to watch the official book trailer for Beyond Ordinary.

Here's the honest truth - my husband & I struggle BIG TIME in our marriage. We've been married a little over 5 years now and it's never really been easy. My husband and I are as different as night and day. There are things that both of us do constantly that grate on each other's nerves, we fight like cats and dogs, and spending time together typically means a few minutes here and there throughout the day. And the "d" word has been thrown around from time to time in our short married life.

The good news is, we both love each other more than the other could possibly imagine. Both of us desire to have a marriage that is not just surviving, but thriving. That helps considerably when the "d" comes up. 

The bad news is, this book has revolutionized my thoughts on marriage. You can ask my husband how many times I've told him, "I don't want to change you, I just want to change your behavior." One of the first things Justin & Trisha tackle in Beyond Ordinary is this very issue. Here's what they say:

"We work really, really hard to improve our marriages by improving our behavior, and while these changes might last for a few weeks or a few months, we end up right back in the same rut. Even worse, we try really, really hard to improve our marriages by forcing our spouses to improve their behavior, and we end up frustrated and exhausted; and our spouses feel like they never do anything right.

Those in ordinary marriages believe behavior modification will solve their problems, that spouses can behave their way to an improved marriage. But you can't behave your way to an extraordinary marriage.

God doesn't want to improve your marriage; he wants to transform it. God doesn't want to modify your behavior; he wants to change your heart. Extraordinary comes when you, as a husband and wife, invite God to change you."


To say that this book stepped on my toes just a little bit would be true. Do I still want my husband's behavior to change? Absolutely. But the truth is, my heart really isn't in the right place. My heart needs A LOT of work. And I'm not sure I'm ready yet to make the changes. Sounds ridiculous, right? Who wouldn't want God to change their heart?! God's way of changing hearts often comes through brokenness as that is what brings about true healing. Yet my mind screams, "why can't this be easy?!" I want life to have an easy button. 

So that's where I am right now, caught in this tango of wanting things to be easy yet wanting God to break me and change my heart.
Here's the deal, I loved this book so much that I want to give one of my lucky readers a FREE Kindle edition! On Monday, January 14th at 8 PM, I will randomly select a winner. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below. Good luck!

Are you married? If so, what makes your marriage extraordinary?

I was given a free copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.


Shauna Shanks said...

Maybe you will randomly select the first commenter? ;) But on a serious note, I love your honesty in this post & your sweet spirit too! You always inspire me. Love you!

Denise Dilley said...

Maybe you will randomly select the first commenter? ;) But on a serious note, I love your honesty in this post & your sweet spirit too! You always inspire me. Love you!

Denise Dilley said...

Ha ha! We'll see what happens. ;)

Thank you for the encouragement. Love you too friend! :)

Justin and Trisha Davis said...

Thank you so much Denise for your honesty and for your willingness to allow God to change you! I know that God is going to answer your prayer and that He will do what only He can do in your marriage. Please know we are praying for you and your husband and honored that He would use our book in your lives. Thank you for your review of our book and your willingness to share it with others! -Justin

Denise Dilley said...

Great review, Denise!

Denise Dilley said...

Thanks, Rachel!

Denise Dilley said...

Sounds like a good book! YOU are a good writer Denise :)

Denise Dilley said...

Sounds like a great book. I think all marriages have their ups and downs. It is work and communication is the key. You are very special. I am sure your hubby knows that you are one of a kind.

Denise Dilley said...

Thanks for posting the review. A friend told me today that her marriage is struggling. She is trying hard to hold it together but she can't do it alone. I'm praying for her. Sounds like this book would be a good resource for her and give her some encouragement.

Denise Dilley said...

Thanks for reading the review. I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I'll be praying for her! I agree, the book would be an encouragement for sure.

Denise Dilley said...

Thanks, Kelly. I agree, marriage takes work & communication is a key component to making it work better.

Denise Dilley said...

Thanks, Nikki!! :)

Denise Dilley said...

Thank you so much for being brave & sharing your story! Your book was an encouragement to me, and I know others must feel the same. Thank you for praying for my husband and I. My hope is that God works on my heart He will also work on my husbands.

Denise Dilley said...

Great Post. I like your website. thank for your share to us.

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