Chapter 1 - Chapter 1 covers the false ideas that Hollywood have poisoned our culture about love, sex, and relationships. This poisoning takes place through the use of music, Television, movies, books, radio, and many other ways. Ingram gives Hollywood’s 3 step plan for relationships.
The first step is to "find the right person." Here, Hollywood teaches that we should just keep our eyes open, and one day we will magically find the person that we were meant to marry and fall in love with. The second step Hollywood proposes is to "fall in love." After finding the right person we simply fall into love. This takes place by constantly thinking about them, buying them gifts with money we don’t have, and do silly things all in the name of "love." "In the Hollywood formula, love is based on chemistry, not knowledge or character."1 As a result of this, many people marry the person that they have "fallen in love" with in a matter of weeks or months.
The third step in this formula is to invest all of the dreams, plans, and hopes on that person. Because "love" is based on feelings, falling in love comes unexpected and unplanned. Therefore, at this point, the person may forget previous commitments (one possibly being marriage). Also, if two people aren’t filling as giddy and excited around each other, then they are "falling out of love." As a result, they can move to step 4. Finally, when "love" has failed, the individual is to start the process all over beginning at step 1. This is why people have had five wives, three step-children, and so forth.
So, what are the results? Does this type of relation seeking guide helpful and flawless? No! The divorce rate in our society is skyrocketing every year. In 1996, over 18 million marriages ended in divorce. Why? Because the "feeling" (what is called love) is no longer there. So we are led to go to step 4, and when he/she’s "love feeling" ends, we can move on to the next person. Also, the aftermath of divorce is haunting. Thirty percent of divorced women live under the poverty level. On top of that, the effects on the children continue through the rest of their lives. Here lies one of the main reasons for why young adults wait so long to get married: they are afraid that the end result will be like that of their parents. As a result they wonder, why make such a commitment that ends in hurt and shamefulness.
In the end, the reader must understand that God weeps to see his creation go through such sin. God wishes to help, and does help if we will follow his way of building marriage relationships. Marriage is a life time commitment, not just a passing feeling.
Chapter 2 - The next chapter in the book is written in story form. Chip Ingram recalls a time in which he taught a course to divorced men and women. He reveals to them that their main problem with their relationships is that they follow the Hollywood format. As already discussed, many follow the Hollywood format and the end result is disastrous, but God has a different plan. His formula is the complete opposite of the media’s. In God’s eyes, relationships should not begin with the physical aspect and end with the spiritual, but there should be an agreement in spiritual matters first, and the rest will follow.
Chapter 3 - Chapter 3 picks up where the previous chapter left off. What are the four Biblical steps for a lasting marriage? The first is, instead of finding the right person, we are to be the right person. To do this, we must "imitate" the love that God has for us. God’s love is forgiving and unconditional. The second step is to walk in love, whereas, Hollywood teaches to fall in love. This means that we are to give our spouse what he/she needs and not always what he/she wants. In short, love is sacrificial and seeks for what is the best for the spouse.
Step three is to "fix your hopes on God and seek to please Him through this relationship."2 (Ingram, 57). Hollywood says to put all of your hope and dreams into that one person, whereas God teaches to put our focus on Him. With this understanding, the couple seek to please God, and by doing that they will live up to His standards. Living by God’s standards prevents a lot of problems, and solves those that arise. The last and final step is like Hollywood’s last step: if the first three fail, then start over to step one. In Biblical sense, the couple begins at step one still a couple. In the media’s format, divorce and breakup are easy options, but in God’s eyes, marriage is a life long commitment.
Chapter 4 - The next chapter discusses the three types of love. The first love is eros love, in which we get our English word Erotic. Eros love is simply love that is romantic and passionate. This type of love should only be acted out within a marriage relationship. The second type of love is phileo love. This type of love is simply brotherly love. Though a person should want to be the "lover" of the other spouse, it is vital that they are also friends. Love based on sex and feelings will not last. But a relationship based on friendship and romance will strive much longer.
Finally, there is agape love, which is unconditional love. This love does what the other two can’t. Agape love will make sacrifices for the other. Walking in the park, letting them control the TV remote, etc. Also, this type of love never gives up. Marriage is a life long process and agape affirms this. When one understands these three types of love, they are ready for the marriage relationship.
Chapter 5 - Chapter five consist of twelve test to see if a relationship is based on true love or just infatuation. The first test is the test of time. Also, there is the test of knowledge, focus, singularity, and security. Then, there’s the test of work, problem soling, and distance. The last four test consist the test of physical attraction, affection, stability, and the test of delayed gratification. Combined, these test will reveal the truth about a couple "love."
Chapter 6 - The next chapter explains the difference between love and sex. Chip writes that many people confuse the two words to mean the same. If you love someone, you should have sex with them. This is totally wrong. To illustrate that, he gives three examples of the dangerous aftermath of couples who got the two confused. He also returns to Ephesians 5 to explain the difference. It is made clear the apparent dangers of immorality, impurity, and course jesting. To prevent such sins in which Paul warns, he tells us to gives thanks to God for the relationship we have. Doing this prevents future problems in the relationship. It is hard to be interested in someone else, whenever we are so thankful for the one we have. This chapter, I feel, is one of the most important and practical ones so far, and the true stories make you realize that sexual sin hurt, and the effects can last a lifetime.
Chapter 7 - Chapter 7 is titled "Why Only One?" But really, this chapter echoes the theme that despite of past sins, relationships, and situations, God forgives. That is why Jesus died on the cross, so that we can be forgiven and live Holy lives. He ends the chapter speaking directly to different people. The first group are those who are single and not in any relationship. He says to set yourself apart from any possible relationship and begin deciding where to draw the lines, and to get right with God before plunging into a relationship. Then he rights to those in a dating relationship. He writes that if they have crossed the line, then they need to resolve the problem. This may include not living together until marriage, not being alone, and other ideas. Finally, he tells those in a marriage that is falling apart because of sexual sin. He tells them to get counseling, and though they may feel like the relationship is over, God can heal the wounds of their marriage.
Chapter 8 - The next chapter helps the reader know how to not break God’s commandment when it comes to sex and love. The first step is to "develop convictions."3 This basically means to make the personal commitment to remain sexually pure until marriage. This conviction is a commitment from the heart. This first step is essential in order to succeed at the other steps.
The second step is to think about the consequences of sexual sin. At the beginning of the chapter he gives a list of dangerous effects as a result of this sin. They include obviously disease and pregnancy, but also, statistics tell us that a relationship that plays with sex before marriage will likely fail. Also, married couples who have waited for sex usually have better and more satisfying sex. These are just some of the consequences that someone should ponder before having sex before marriage.
Thirdly, we should pre-decide our actions. This includes knowing where to draw the line, remove yourself from tempting situations, keep from watching certain movies, telling bad jokes, looking at magazines, etc. After that, we can go on to the final step, and that is to have an accountability partner. For many, it’s hard to remain pure and faithful without someone encouraging you. So, by having a partner to hold us accountable, we are better able to "say yes to love and no to second-rate sex."4
Chapter 9 - To sum up the next chapter, I would say that it was about the end result of doing relationships God’s way, and what a blessing it is. He tells the story of when he went to a couples home and saw the genuine love the two had for each other, and how important God was in their marriage and family. Chip tells the readers to Wake Up and be a man or woman desiring to remain pure until marriage. Towards the end of the chapter, Ingram writes specifically to any virgins who may be reading. He simply says that virgins aren’t weird but very wise.
Chapter 10 - The last chapter of the book is about how to start the second sexual revolution. The difference between this revolution and the one in the 60's is that this time it’s all about God. In this chapter he gives insight on how to do this. They include modest apparel, devotion to God, right decision, courtship, and may more things. The overarching theme is that the revolution can not happen unless we live contagious lives that the world can see. This means changing both the internal and external. Once the world sees that God’s way is the best way, then it’s only a matter of time.