A book review of How To Ruin Your Life and Starting Over When You Do, by Eric Geiger
I don’t know the story of this couple, but I hate this commercial from DirecTV Now. In fact, I hesitate to even share the link because it’s like I’m promoting the product and the commercial.
You can tell others hate the commercial as well, since it has 153 Likes and 1.5K dislikes! I’m not alone.
The reason I hate the commercial is because this is the world we so often live in. It’s a little too close to real life—families torn apart, fighting over who gets what in a divorce, and calling the police or attorneys to help resolve arguments.
Regardless of the story of the (fictional) couple in this (fictional) commercial, it’s a similar story to what I often hear after marital infidelity. A friend recently cheated on their spouse, and infidelity has proven, once again, a great way to ruin your life and the lives of many others.
In this post, I’m sharing some wisdom from Eric Geiger from his new book, How To Ruin Your Life and Starting Over When You Do.
Through the telling of King David’s story, Geiger unpacks three poor decisions David made when he had an affair with Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 11). Among other things (as seen in 2 Samuel 11:1-4), David:
- Isolated himself
- Ignored his boredom, and
- Believed in himself.
Instead of isolating yourself, ignoring your boredom, and believing in yourself, I provide a few suggestions to help you protect your marriage. Nothing you do can guarantee you or your spouse won’t have an affair, but these actions can help build a solid foundation and can help grow your marriage.
1. Engage others.
Sin demands to have a man by himself. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Go deep with your community. Instead of isolating, draw near to others. This holds true in both the good moments and the bad ones. Celebrate victories when things are going well, and move towards your community when you walk through challenges.
Let me give you an example. A few months ago on the way to a meeting, I went into my local CVS and bought three bags of jelly beans. I quickly opened the first bag, and consumed about 25% of the fantastic, delicious, scrumptious jelly beans on the way to my meeting. Just before I opened bag number two, so I could try a different flavor of fantastic, delicious, scrumptious jelly beans, I experienced some conviction from the Holy Spirit. While there’s nothing wrong with eating jelly beans, my problem was the covert nature of it, the gluttony of my consumption, and the satisfaction I thought the jelly beans would deliver.
In the midst of my conviction, I called my wife, texted four friends, and confessed my decision to buy those jelly beans. I threw out the jelly beans when I arrived at my meeting. Again, no sin in eating the jelly beans, but I sure didn’t want to confess to others my behaviors.
No one would have known about my purchase and candy consumption, but I knew it wasn’t God’s best for me.
For those in the middle of an affair, contemplating an affair, looking at porn, gossiping, drinking to excess, or some other struggle or addiction, what do you need to confess to others? What are some of your behaviors you need to share and confess to your spouse and/or community?
Don’t isolate yourself. In the middle of sin, or while contemplating sin, engage others instead of pulling away.
2. Live an adventure.
Sin is always, in some sense, a life of boredom. Martin Lloyd-Jones.
Sometimes our lives seem so boring. It’s the same thing, day after day after day. The lives of couples who often experience infidelity are marked by boredom and complacency. Since they don’t find fun or excitement in their marriage, they look for it elsewhere or with others.
I’m currently reading Everybody Always by Bob Goff. The guy’s life is one giant adventure! I’m amazed at how Goff turns the mundane into something amazing. He throws parades, toilet paper’s the neighbor’s yard as an adult, and so much more. No one can accuse Bob Goff of ignoring boredom, because he has none to experience!
What would it look like for you and your spouse to live an adventure? Is it the vacation you’ve always wanted? Camping? Glamping? Training for a race together? Sharing your faith with everyone on your block?
What is it? Figure it out and do it. Live an adventurous life with your spouse so that you don’t fall into boredom like King David.
Pride is spiritual cancer. It eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense. C.S. Lewis.
My friend who recently cheated on his spouse thought it would never happen to him. As followers of Christ, we don’t have to give in to our sin. We’re slaves of the Spirit, not of the flesh. But, I never want to believe the lie that it can’t happen to me.
When I know what I’m capable of, I live life like a humble, dependent person. When I think I’m incapable of moral failure, I’m being prideful and self-sufficient. Read James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Choose to be a humble spouse, stay dependent on the Lord, and surround yourself with others who can help you grow spiritually.
While God always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13), I also want to be careful and take heed, lest I fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). I pray God would keep me dependent, and that I would meditate on scripture and be reminded of the Goodness of God as well as the potential wickedness of my decisions, even as a follower of Christ.
Look to Christ, not Ourselves
Geiger nails it when he says, “The way we walk in humility is to look to Him, not ourselves. When our minds are focused on Him, our thoughts about Him grow bigger and our thoughts about ourselves grow smaller.”
How To Ruin Your Life, by Eric Geiger is a very important book for followers of Christ to read. Through the telling of King David’s story, Geiger reminds the reader in honesty and transparency of the dangers of sexual and moral sin. I’m glad I read this book and believe it should be read by anyone who wants to do everything they can to avoid ruining their life.
The book is filled with scripture, and also focuses on Nathan’s confrontation of David, David’s confession, and the ensuing celebration that comes when a life is restored. Because we all need God’s grace, Geiger leads the reader to find hope after failure. An individual’s implosion does not need to be the end of their story.
The book will sober you, equip you, and encourage you to fight for intimacy with Jesus and with your spouse.
I liked this book so much that I bought a few extra copies. I’d love to give one away today. Comment below on how you can take some ground in your marriage: Engage with others, live an adventure, or choose to be humble. I’ll pick one winner from everyone who leaves a comment.
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