BOOK REVIEW: A LOVE LETTER LIFE by Jeremy & Audrey Roloff
There are a lot of books on my to-read list that I’m itching to get my hands on. This wasn’t one of them.
Back in April, their names popped up on two separate podcasts I subscribe to, & the little description in the episode bio intrigued me, so I gave both podcasts a listen (That Sounds Fun with Annie F Downs, episode 132; Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, episode 239).
I liked them. I liked their personalities & the way they talked with each other & what they had to say about dating and marriage.
I was still on the fence about reading their book.
And I like books on marriage. I think it’s a great way for Blake & I to stay intentional about our relationship. One of my favorites is Timothy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage. (And it turns out, Jeremy & Audrey Roloff quote him quite a bit in this book.)
So why was I hesitant about this one?
Well for starters, they’ve been married for less time than Blake & I have been married. Seven years doesn’t make us professionals by any stretch of the imagination, but I wouldn’t call us newlyweds by any stretch of the imagination either– ha. They do have a baby, but this book is centered on their pursuit, dating life, & ends with getting married.
And that’s why I was so hesitant– I didn’t want to spend my time reading a book about how someone did it better than me– the pursuit thing– the dating thing– the preparing for marriage thing.
So I asked myself– Can I grow as an individual & as a wife now by reading this story? And also, is there a chance I can gain some wisdom to teach my children about pursuit & dating down the road? Both answers were yes. (Bonus: They live in Oregon so you get to read through their outdoorsy adventures. And of course it gave me more of an itch to move there.)
So I read. And I read fast. I was sucked into the story, & the chapters are broken into small enough sections that I could easily read a few pages here and there. I never felt like I’d have to gear up for an uninterrupted hour. I read some of this book at home, some on an airplane while holding Jude, who is in a very big Little Baby Bum stage on Netflix, & finished it at the beach. Usually, I think fiction when I think of the beach, but a perk of reading this book was Blake being nearby instead of at work– so if I liked a habit or idea they had, I could share it with him on the spot.
The chapters are split into Audrey sections & Jeremy sections so they are both giving their perspectives as their relationship unfolds & progresses. And there’s a sweet timeline of their story in the middle of the book scrapbook style so you get a visual glimpse into their relationship & personalities. (Favorite picture is Jeremy reading A Severe Mercy out loud to Audrey in the airport. A Severe Mercy taught me so much about love, & the fact that they have read this book together & applied the principle of sharing into their relationship because of this book makes me swoon.)
Honestly, I’m a sucker for a this is how we ended up together story, & reading this book felt like I was sitting around a campfire with friends listening to a couple share theirs. We hear about their initial reactions when they met at Audrey’s parents’ house for the first time. We hear about their individual struggles when they dated long distance in college. We hear their dumb fights & the practical steps they put into place to help them navigate conflict next time.
What I was the most surprised (& grateful) to read was their fight for purity. I wish I had read these chapters in high school or even in college. I grew up valuing virginity until marriage, but there really wasn’t a conversation behind it & purity certainly didn’t have its own platform. Purity & virginity were tied together & if you loved Jesus enough, you would surely hold onto both. But the way Jeremy & Audrey process their story frees single & dating people from this idea. They are vulnerable in sharing their struggles. They talk about why purity is worthy & beautiful & on the flip side, you aren’t a screwup if you lose/lost the fight (party of 1??).
I’ve noticed that I gravitate to stories with confident characters– people who know who they are & what they want. It’s because confidence has never felt natural to me, & getting to know characters teaches me. (It’s why I love Lorelai Gilmore, y’all.) A Love Letter Life revolves around two confident characters, which I think is a rarity in the dating world. You won’t find codependency, any stage 5 clingers, or manipulation red flags. You’ll find two humans who are drawn to each other as they pursue their own passions & find every ounce of their Joy in Jesus.
**Also! I ordered their Marriage Journal (they talk about how they started the process & eventually created this journal in the book) & got it in the mail yesterday! I think it’ll probably be a Sunday night thing for us, & I can’t wait to get started! If you want to read more about Jeremy & Audrey, you can check out their website here!