I just finished reading True Love Weds by Grace Gaston-Dousel. Perhaps this review is coming a little bit late—I’ve already recommended this book to hundreds of students (it is on my recommended reading list when I present True Love Waits). I’ve also linked Grace’s website to this blog (True Love Weds). I’ve never taken the time to read it myself because I’ve heard Grace speak in person and already knew of her heart for the Lord (in other words, no need to check up on her material to make sure it is solid).
So do I still recommend it now that I’ve read it? Absolutely!! Now that I’ve read it I will be able to give an even stronger and more descriptive recommendation to my students.
Let me give you a few of my observations about the book:
First, this book is a great love story. Some of you may have a hard time believing that I would make this comment. For me, a perfect movie starts with something exploding then ends with a bloody swordfight. Remember the scene in The Notebook where the girl pulls her car over, reads the long lost love letters and weeps? I laughed during that scene. “I cannot believe someone talked me into watching this,” I said to myself. Here’s my point: if I can enjoy this love story, I’m sure you will enjoy it immensely (especially if you are woman). Grace has a wonderful way of telling the story of God’s goodness in her life and her love life.
Second, Grace is quite candid about her own struggles and experiences. One of the most appealing qualities of this book is its intensely personal nature. Graces shares about everything from heartbreaks, journal excerpts, painful childhood experiences, her own struggles to please God, and even reflections on her wedding night. She was willing to be quite vulnerable and transparent with us, and I think you will appreciate this. Some of the book’s content might not be appropriate for young children, but everything is written prudently with good discretion.
Third, this book is culturally relevant to the Filipino/Filipina. When the Filipino version of True Love Waits first came out, the statistics were mostly from a ’94 study. Grace uses more recent data from a 2002 study on Filipino youth culture (I used this same source to update my TLW presentation). I appreciated this extra effort to make the book more relevant. She also writes about her extraordinary efforts to earn her parents’ approval on her decision to marry Mang (her husband). This also reflects a uniquely Filipina perspective on family which will resonate with other Filipinos.
Fourth (last but definitely not least) this book gives us a great testimony and defense of sexual purity. Grace’s testimony is story of purity. Through this book, she tells us of her decision to wait until she was married to experience sexual intimacy. She also gives a great Biblical defense of sexual purity.
One of her friends, for example, protested against the idea that virginity was one of the most valuable things you could give your husband. “Though there are other things a woman can give her husband,” Grace wrote, “her virginity still tops the list.” Amen to that! It’s nice to see this emphasis on the value of virginity.
Grace also shares stories of heartbreak, hope and redemption from those who have made poor choices but turned to God for a second chance.
A reader would be very wise to apply Grace’s advice and follow her example of patience and purity. Just keep in mind that some parts of her story are unique to her. I would refer you to one of Grace’s own quotes when you read this book: “Each romance is unique. There is no formula.” This is very important to understand when reading her story. In other words, don’t read her story and think that your love story has to be exactly the same as hers. I’ll give you two examples.
First, Grace reached a point in her life where she “decided to simply trust God by not lifting a finger, and letting him prepare and bring His choice to me.” I believe this is something God led Grace to do at that point in her life. She was 20 and recovering from a broken heart.
For those of us past our mid-20’s, however, it is easy to get into a “rut” in which you meet fewer and fewer quality, eligible, Christian singles. I think the vast majority of singles would agree with me on this. I believe in waiting for God’s choice, but I also think sometimes we singles need to evaluate our social life (or lack thereof). If you are not meeting any singles, get out there and mingle! (Sorry for the cheesy rhyme) If “waiting” means sitting on the couch and expecting Mr/Ms right to jump out of the TV, please think again. I’m not advocating going out and playing the typical “dating game.” I’m just saying its good to put yourself in a position to meet new people.
A second example is Grace’s efforts to win her family’s approval before proceeding with her wedding plans. I commend her for doing this, but keep in mind that she came from a godly, wise, and reasonable family. There were also some clear reasons for her family’s reservations. Eventually her family accepted Mang because of their wise, loving attitude.
But some families reject their childrens’ choice of a spouse without a good reason (much less a Biblical reason). I’ve heard of families objecting because the potential spouse is not rich or has the “wrong” astrological sign. In other words, there are certain situations in which couples may have to stand their ground against parental objections.
I do not see this as a “problem” with the book. The book, after all, is “Grace Gaston-Dousel’s love story.” It is a story that we can all learn from!
Thanks for a great book, Grace!! I’m proud to be your brother in Christ!!
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