Review: An Impossible Marriage

Review: An Impossible Marriage

An Impossible Marriage
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Published: 2020-10-27
Page Count: 226
Laurie and Matt Krieg are in a mixed-orientation marriage: Laurie is primarily attracted to women—and so is Matt. With vulnerability and wisdom, they tell the story of how they met and got married, the challenges and breakthroughs of their journey, and what they've learned about how marriage is meant to point us to the love and grace of Jesus.

Why would a same-sex attracted woman marry a man? This is the premise of this part-testimony, part-theology book. And, boy, it’s a good one!

Laurie and Matt share their personal journey, and the many struggles they have faced in their marriage – Laurie with her same sex attraction, Matt with a pornography addiction. The book is a raw, honest account where they bring you up close and right into their personal lives. I’m not sure I’ve read an account of marriage with such openness. And yet, while it’s a lot to take it, it never feels like we’re seeing too much. (I listened to this on audiobook, which Laurie and Matt narrate, with all their personality shining through their reading.)

The book weaves an intricate drama, shaped primarily by Laurie’s wrestling with same-sex attraction, and how she came into marriage with Matt. Weaved through this is a consistent unpacking of a theology of marriage, love, relationships and friendship. Everything is wonderfully and deeply soaked in a gospel narrative. Barely a page goes by without highlighting a connection to the story of Jesus and his church.

Despite weaving these two significant narratives – the Krieg’s story and the gospel story – together, neither feels too much. Just when you feel it is becoming too much about them, they switch to sharing something of the gospel. Just when you feel it’s about to become too academic or abstract, they switch into a personal reflection. It’s very well done.

The Krieg’s are keen to help readers understand that marriage’s purpose is to point to the relationship of Jesus and the church. Everything about love, relationships and marriage is ultimately about Jesus. Many others have written about this, but few with such piercing clarity.

When I previously read Ed Shaw’s book, Purposeful Sexuality, he used an extremely helpful line: We all have damaged sexualities, and we all have damaging sexualities. Reading any book on marriage and it’s gospel-centred nature always has moments of struggle. It inevitably leads you to reflect on your own shortcomings, failures and sin. I certainly felt that at times through this book. But Laurie is so keen to have this book soaked in the grace of the gospel, that you don’t want to give up reading, however confronting it may feel at points.

Who wrote it

Laurie Krieg is a writer, speaker and podcaster. She is part of The Centre for Faith, Sexuality and Gender.

Why I read it

Rachel Gilson was my first exposure to a same-sex attracted woman married to a man. Since reading her excellent book, Born Again This Way, (and working on an upcoming sermon series), I’ve been exposed to a number of similar stories, this being the latest. While Rachel’s book is more concerned with her personal journey, this one is more concerned with marriage (both are excellent at looking through a gospel lens). The nature of their story captured my interest as part of a desire to read broadly on the theme of sexuality.

What I liked

It is real, raw and honest. Unlike anything I can quite remember reading. I really appreciate the willingness of Laurie and Matt to be so open and frank about their story.

I also loved how well they shaped everything they said on the story of God’s love for his people through Jesus. Though I’ve read many other books that do this, I’m no sure I’ve ever read such a compelling and convicting account. Their radical, Jesus-centred approach was refreshing, inspiring and challenging in equal measure.

What I didn’t

I appreciate that the personal narrative of the book ends of a very high note. It certainly leaves you feeling positive at the end, after they have exposed you to the darkness they have experienced through their journey. I’m sure they would be the first to tell you that theirs is an ongoing story that is (and will) be filled with ups and downs. But strangely, the ending left me a little dissatisfied; it wraps up almost too neatly. That’s a very minor quibble, and in no ways detracts from the book or it’s strengths.

Major Takeaway

I don’t have a quote from this one (always more challenging when listening instead of reading). But my biggest takeaway is definitely a renewed enthusiasm and joy in the gift of marriage as an experience and portrait of the gospel.

Who should read it

If anything about Laurie and Matt’s story grabs you, I highly recommend this one. Fascinating and inspiring, it will help you treasure Jesus all the more.

3.0Overall Score

An Impossible Marriage

Why would a same-sex attracted woman marry a man? This is the premise of this part-testimony, part-theology book. And, boy, it's a good one! Laurie and Matt share their personal journey, and ...

  • Difficulty to read
    Very personable and easy to follow.
  • Overall Rating
    A fascinating story and an excellent unpacking of the meaning and purpose of marriage.

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