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I read a lot of sex books. The good kind, mind you. The ones that explore sexual intimacy within the context of marriage. Obviously, along the way, I stumble across phenomenal marriage books as well...books that not only cover sexual intimacy, but also offer priceless insights into all aspects of intimacy in marriage.
Such is the case with my latest read, Stripped Down: 13 Keys to Unlocking Intimacy in Your Marriage by Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo. I'm not holding back on this, because the accolades are well deserved (and no, I'm not getting one cent to say that. I'm even a little envious that they came up with such a clever title. Very sexy if you ask me).
Here goes -- my 5 reasons why you should get this book. I'll count them down David Letterman style, because the anticipation is fun. Plus, you'll be left with my #1 reason freshest in your mind. It's an over-the-top super delicious reason, so don't bail on me mid-way through the post, okay?
Number 5: The book is comprehensive, but not cumbersome. I don't know about you, but I want some meat in my reading...but not so much that it feels like trudging through "War and Peace" or "Gone With The Wind." The DiLorenzos do an excellent job of exploring six aspects of intimacy: Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, Recreational, Financial and Physical. (Who would have thought Recreational? Gotta give them props for that).
Number 4: The book does not compartmentalize. Even though they explore six distinct aspects of intimacy, they do so in a way that genuinely recognizes that all areas of intimacy overlap. Even if you have been married only about... uh...23 minutes, you already know that if your beloved has lied to you about the Visa bill, you don't feel too endeared to then bear your soul. Or your body. Marriage is an intricate weave of intimacy on all kinds of levels, and the DiLorenzos don't sugar coat the impact of such complexity.
Number 3: Relational writing. Writing that makes me feel like I'm sitting in their living room having a conversation, rather than half-way across the country trying to figure out what they mean. This point kind of complements reason Number 5. I'm a writer, so I know full well that when an author makes me feel like I could drink coffee with them, even if I'm having a crappy day and didn't do my hair... well, that's my kind of author. I could drink coffee with these people, I'm certain. You could too.
Number 2: The book is a "doing" book, not a "read it once, throw it in a pile, never look at it again" book. Come on, you know what I mean. You buy a marriage book, glance through about half of it, ponder the ideas and then... well...then nothing. This book is chock full of questions, exercises and quotes that compel you to dig into your marriage and see what it's going to take to grow in your intimacy. The book offers ample opportunity to put into practice what resonates within your heart. Change the unhealthy patterns people. It's not easy, but it's soooo needed.
And now... drum roll please. Throw the confetti. Grab yourself an iced cold drink. Without further delay...
The Number 1 Reason You Should Buy This Book: It is drenched with the DiLorenzos' own personal story. They don't just offer tidbits here and there. They don't just give you poignant snapshots of their struggles. The entire book is them sharing with ample detail what they have learned in their more than 13 years of marriage -- the painful depths, the debilitating challenges, the bewildering disconnects between them, the triumphs, the grace, the falling down and getting back up, the brink of divorce, the selfishness, the tenderness and so on.
Why is this so crucial? Because it takes a tremendous amount of humility to speak out of your own story -- all with the courage and hope that by doing so, you will be able to encourage others. I love that about this book. The DiLorenzos don't hide behind some facade, trying to convince their readers that they have it all figured out. They'll be the first to admit that they don't.
They speak not in lofty platitudes, but with a recognition that they, like all of us, are in process...fumbling through the messiness of life. They reveal clearly their love of Christ and His redemption and plan for their marriage (and for all marriages). They are real. I don't know about you, but real people resonate with me, because... hmmm... probably because they look a lot like me. I certainly don't have it all figured out. I'm just a gal who writes and speaks about sex. And I still have a lot to learn about being married.
So, I'm thanking God (and Tony and Alisa) for the book Stripped Down. Snag it for yourself, read it with your spouse, and start stripping down.
Seriously. The book rocks.