Book Review: That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places
By Marcia Naomi Berger, author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love
I know the authors, so I’m writing from firsthand experience about their most recent book. They are master teachers, gifted writers, and two of loveliest and the most authentic people you will ever meet. And believe me, in their astonishing new book That Which Doesn’t Kill Us you will meet them ¾ warts and all.
This raw, vivid sharing of their innermost experiences during their fifty-year marriage is a gift to humanity. Traversing the colorful landscape of their relationship from the male and female perspectives is both harrowing and enlightening. This book should be put in a time capsule so that intelligent life in the future have a realistic understanding of what love in the 20th and 21st centuries looked like.
The book is a joint memoir that covers a ten-year period in which the authors experienced severe challenges nearly wrecked their marriage to the point of divorcing, and nearly resulted in divorce. Charlie and Linda chose to apply the lessons from their painful experiences to gain the inner strengths and wisdom that a full recovery demanded. They discovered that they each had some serious work to do in order to stave off a total collapse of their marriage.
While That Which Doesn’t Kill Us is a non-fiction, it reads like a compelling novel. It presents in vivid detail just what that work was and how they managed to fulfill its demands despite frequent setbacks. Their story reveals exactly how a couple, who experienced brokenness that would have ended many marriages, ultimately brought about a profound healing and a strengthening of their bond that went far beyond anything that they had previously known. It was not despite their ordeals but because of them and their willingness to learn from them, that they were able to create a new standard of relatedness that was beyond what either had imagined was possible.
In a time in which disposable relationships are too common and in which many couples believe that marriage means choosing between commitment and freedom. That Which Doesn’t Kill Us not only affirms that it is possible to have both, but offers the means through which such a union can be created. It provides hope and assurance for couples that have struggled with ordeals that can tear love apart, as well as for those who wish to master the skills for developing the personal qualities that can decrease destructive relationship patterns, or even prevent them from occurring.
That Which Doesn’t Kill Us is a representative story of one couple’s journey through despair and how they managed to reconstruct a relationship from the ashes of their broken dreams. It is both inspiring and instructive, demonstrating to the reader the power of true commitment in the face of great odds and enormous obstacles.