Friday, December 21, 2012

Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman

As Christmas Eve approaches, Jake and Marlee plan to end their twenty-something year old marriage.
Both feel empty, sure that they have drifted too far apart to ever reconcile, but afraid to tell their young children.  Quietly the snow falls as the two drive together to the divorce lawyer's office, an agreed effort to end this charade civilly (and cheaply).  When Jake decides to take a side road to avoid slowing traffic, Marlee objects, but then quiets to "keep the peace."  Suddenly they are in the path of an oncoming truck and the car spins out of control. 

Dazed and bleeding, Marlee rallies a few minutes later to find that she is alone in the car.  Has Jake gone for help?  Cold and unable to just sit and wait for help, Marlee begins to walk toward a lit house in the distance.  There an elderly man kindly takes her in, listens to her pleas for help, and offers shelter.  Before he sets out to look for Jake, the man (named Jay) begins to ask Marlee about her marriage.  At first Marlee believes this is odd, but when she finds out that Jay's home is actually used for marriage retreats, she opens up to the older man.  Through that night Marlee will have her own personal "Christmas Carol" experience as she  sees her marriage through Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future.  Why had she forgotten how sweet their early years were?  Is she locked into the dismal future she sees in Christmas future?  Is it too late?  Can Jay find her husband?  Will he care about what she witnessed? 

Gary Chapman is the author of the well known Five Languages of Love, and Chris Fabry has written several successful Christian novels.  This short novella is an interesting addition to recent seasonal tales.  No big surprises in how the story unfolds except for the impact of that Christmas Future scene.  The authors clearly make their point that divorce affects not only the couple, but their family; and that effect reaches far into the future.  I am sure you've heard the saying that love is NOT a feeling, but a CHOICE.  In fact, I recently ran across it again in the Men of Sunday book I just reviewed.  Fighting for the survival of a marriage is also a choice, a choice worth the effort.

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