Book review: 'No More Perfect Marriages' by Mark and Jill Savage

Marcia Krahn  ·  Dec 31, 2017

“No marriage is perfect. But every marriage can get better.” With that premise, Mark and Jill Savage, in their book No More Perfect Marriages, challenge couples to lay aside expectations of a happily-ever-after dream marriage and take up the endeavor of a real and growing marriage, one that has the potential to become a marriage beyond their dreams. Strong. True. Free.

Beginning with the first argument they remember, Mark and Jill unravel their marriage for all to see exactly what they are made of. They did so much right, yet their marriage imploded. Why?

With a vulnerability and candor that refuses worn out answers, the Savages relate truths God showed them to heal their marriage. Their back and forth conversational style and humor are refreshing and engage the reader in discovering “real” marriage.

As Mark and Jill worked through their marriage, the Lord emphasized seven destructive tendencies. They call these inclinations “slow fades,” referring to the Casting Crowns song that says “People never crumble in a day/It’s a Slow Fade.” When allowed, Unrealistic Expectations, Minimizing, Not Accepting, Disagreement, Defensive Responses, Naïveté, and Avoiding Emotion are slow fades that erode marriage.

Thrown in with these fades is the “Perfection Infection,” the unrealistic expectations carried into marriage and the crippling comparisons that stunt marriage spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Mark and Jill also identify several protective masks they wore to hide what was truly inside them. Pulling off masks of the comedian, the caregiver, the know-it-all, the pleaser, the passive-victim, and the over-achiever released them to be honest with themselves and each other.

Understanding their individual blueprints—the framework of their pasts—brought further clarity. Exploring their “internal operating system”—temperament and personality—helped them appreciate that God purposely designed them to be “wonderfully incompatible” to complement and strengthen each other.

Even more importantly, the Savages learned to embrace and use “God-tools” to restore their marriage. Only the powerful God-tools of courage, forgiveness, grace, love, humility, wisdom, compassion, and acceptance can uproot perfectionism, slow fades, and masks, creating the conditions for marriage to flourish.

Every chapter more fully explains some aspect of becoming more authentic and using the God-tools to shape couples into greater Christ-likeness. A “Think about It, Talk about It, Talk to God about It” section and a “Today’s Truth” summary verse that grounds that chapter in Scripture, end each chapter. This book closes with an appendix that includes a self-test to evaluate personality traits, a discussion guide, and contact information for Mark and Jill.

By working through No More Perfect Marriages, couples can experience a growing marriage and join Mark and Jill in acknowledging, “A real marriage isn’t perfect. A real marriage is two people being perfected.”