When I came home from work on Friday I discovered that my wife had rented the movie Fireproof. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of quality from a movie that had been produced as a ministry tool (some are pretty good, some not so good … ) but I was very pleasantly surprised and glad we watched it. It’s got action, romance and a powerful and significant message. I was challenged by the reminder that loving my wife unconditionally is a daily decision, not dependent on how I feel or on how she is treating me. Not that she makes it difficult to love her – Marion is a wonderful woman – but I needed the reminder that love is a daily decision. I also realized again how much I need the Lord’s help if I am going to show my wife the love she needs.
The movie tells the story of a firefighter, Caleb Holt, whose marriage is in trouble. On the job, Caleb is a hero, and lives by the firefighter’s code (Never leave your partner behind), but his marriage is another story. Caleb’s marriage to Catherine almost goes up in flames, but just in time, he surrenders his stubborn will and begins the painful journey from selfishness to unconditional love. It’s a simple and powerful story – powerful because it speaks to the deep longing of the human heart for a love that is true and enduring.
In Caleb’s journey from selfishness to wholeness, he reaches out to two other men – his Dad and a friend at work – who have something he needs. The availability of mentors and role models is so crucial in learning how to live life well. When Marion and I were younger and struggling in some areas, we were drawn to couples who have been married for some time and whose marriage reflected the Father’s heart. Now I find – somewhat to my surprise – that there seems to be something about our marriage that is attractive to some of the young adults we know. Could it be that as we have learned the costly lessons of surrender, God has made our marriage a resource to others? This is yet another reminder that love is never just for us – it is always a gift to be shared. If more couples saw their marriage as a life-long covenant – a covenant with Jesus first of all, then with each other – what a transforming impact this could have on our world!
Fireproof has the potential to make a good marriage better and to give hope to couples who are having trouble. It could also be a good tool to use with engaged couples. Well worth watching !