“We think, if I had that job, or that relationship, or lived in that city or that house, or lost twenty-five pounds, or gained a lot of money…then I would be happy. In other words, often when we are unhappy, we think that more of something would make it better.” – Foreword, Henry Cloud, PH.D.
Constantly Craving by Marilyn Meberg begins stoically, stripping away our romantic ideas of love and identifying our cravings and what causes those cravings.
Marilyn begins by breaking down our craving for more. We think if we got more of something in our life, then and only then, would we discover true happiness. The whole book goes psychologically deep into our motives and methods as Marilyn looks from how our search for our mate stems from the cradle; how we seek a duplication in our mate of what we loved or lacked in our parents; and to how our search for more can get us into trouble.
When we think of Bible characters, we forget how they didn’t live in America, enjoying surplus and physical freedoms. The Apostle Paul endured much for the gospel from stoning to shipwrecks, and finally execution because of his belief in Christ. So when I read, “That’s how Paul’s transformed new soul enabled him to sit in jail, even knowing he would ultimately experience execution, and still say, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. (Philippians 4:11-13),” it made me realize how this want for more of something can keep us from living in contentment.
What’s striking is the last sentence, quoted from scripture in Marilyn’s book, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Marilyn also speaks about solitude and friendships.
She makes suggestions in how to make new friendships, opening ourselves up to the risk of rejection, and then gives sound counsel in how to deal with someone who doesn’t want our friendship. Marilyn encourages us to not take it personally. She says, “When a person is unresponsive to me, I first consider the personal grid that basically assures me it’s not about me but about that host of “thems” in the other person’s early background.” By “thems” Marilyn speaks about the people in our past who have hurt us and how that hurt instinctively keeps us from new friendships because those friendships are too risky. Her chapter on solitude I could relate to, and in fact, something Marilyn encourages. There is a lot of humor and good advice, but like I mentioned earlier, she stripped romance of its idealism and makes it a practical application.
The book warms up into a conversation between two friends, but when I first read the book I balked at two places—the clinical view of love and how we are looking for father or mother in our spouse. While what she says is true, it’s hard to hear. Especially, when she talks about looking for cradle love. Talk about taking the romance out of the evening when you recall that part as you listen to your husband say, “Let’s have a romantic night together!” Still, it’s a good read and worth four stars.
*book given by publisher to review.