[Book Review] Cheers to Eternity: Lessons We've Learned on Dating and Marriage by Al and Ben Carraway
I have heard Al Carraway speak twice now; the first time I heard her speak, she wasn’t married to Ben yet. She is such an engaging speaker, so I was excited to read and review this book. I hoped it would be as engaging as her talks are.
“Author of the best seller More than the Tattooed Mormon, Al Carraway and her husband, Ben, remind you that marriage isn’t supposed to be ‘serious and hard.’ A successful marriage is one that you build as a team—emphasizing constant communication, working through hard times together, and (above all) remembering to put God first.
Using a wonderfully open dialogue, the Carraways share the funny, embarrassing, and honest lessons and struggles that have shaped their life together.
Written for singles, newlyweds, and marriage veterans, Cheers to Eternity will help you bring new insights into your relationships, keep life in perspective, and make the rest of your life here and in eternity exciting, amazing, and meaningful.”
This is a fast, yet engaging, read. The Carraways seem to have a good relationship, and seem to have their priorities straight. I like how they play off of each other, and I like how Ben talks and then Al responds, and vice versa. Sometimes in marriage we see the same situation differently, and you see that come through a few times. There are a few parts where this comes across as very cutesy, bordering on cheesy, but it didn’t bother me too much.
The Carraways haven’t been married very long, and this definitely comes through in their book. There were a few times I may have rolled my eyes at them; my husband and I have been married just shy of twenty years now, so they don’t have all the experience that comes from time together. However, their marriage has still gone through some difficult struggles, so their opinions are valid. Also, it’s always good to remember what it was like in the early days of your marriage, and to remember what it was that you loved about each other, etc.
Although there isn’t anything in this book that is groundbreaking or especially new, it’s definitely a good reminder. Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day grind, and it’s good to remember to take the time to love each other and put each other’s needs first.
As you move forward with marriage, it will no longer be about “I” and “Me,” but will always and forever be “Us” and “We.” Let’s not let anything come in the way of loving our spouse and putting them before our selfish desires. It is always better to be kind and understanding than to be right. Let’s lose ourselves in them and, no matter what happens, be there for them. Forgive quickly and always. Every day let’s wake up and think of what we can do to make things easier for them.
I like how they start each chapter with a quote or two on the topic they’re discussing. A few of their discussion topics are: It’s Not About You, Communication, Finance, Intimacy, Expectations, Always Have Time For Love, Affection, and Doing Hard Things Together. There is definitely a religious overtone to this book; Al and Ben Carraway are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes known as Mormon or LDS). They are Christian, and they just talk about how in marriage you also need to put God first.
Even though I’ve been married for many years longer than the Carraways have, it was good to hear their perspective. I may not have learned anything new in their book, but it’s always a good reminder of what we should be doing. If you’re dating or a newlywed then I would definitely recommend this book. If you’ve been married for awhile, like I have, then it’s still a good read. Trying to improve your marriage is never a bad thing, right?