The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage Rob and Kristen Bell
I believe we are created to be in relationship with each other and with God. One of my gifts and joys in ministry is supporting relationships-individuals and congregational relationships with God, loving partnerships, family, friends, etc. To help support these relationships, I’m always searching for good resources to share. As my readers know, I find Rob Bell very readable with an easy to follow style. And this book was a quick, easy read.
The word zimzum is the theme that holds this book together. It is a Hebrew word that means in order for God to create God had to withdraw and create in a space where God wasn’t. Basically, God moved over to allow space for us to thrive and grow and be. They take this word zimzum and use it to describe how we interact with the person we love. “You meet this person, you fall in love, and you zimzum–creating space for them to thrive while they’re doing the same for you. The zimzuming unleashes energy and creates space that didn’t exist before, generating flow that is the lifeblood of marriage” (19).
Many things in this book just make sense. In order for your partner to thrive, you need to know what he or she needs/wants. Talk to the one you love (25). Stop keeping score of who does more (31-36). “How is the space between us?” Are we too close or is there too much distance? (56-58). Give your partner the benefit of the doubt (61-62). Go places and do things together. Shared experiences are essential (76-83). Extend grace and forgiveness with reckless abandon (100-110) as long as it is safe to do so.
All of the things mentioned in the previous paragraph are wonderful ways to support and strengthen the relationship you have with your partner. Are they new and revolutionary? Probably not. What I found the most wonderful of this whole book was the set of questions at the end (123-127). Even without reading the book most of these questions could be excellent ways to start a discussion about your relationship in pre-marital counseling, with your partner, or even by yourself to see how well you know the one you love.
This book is for people in any stage of a romantic relationship. This book would work for those who are just getting to know each other and for those who have been together for decades. Most of the book keeps the pronouns fluid enough to allow this book to work for all couples. I noticed a few places like page 57 where the couple language is “husband and wife”. This book contained excellent nuggets of conversation starters for couples. When I finished reading, I wanted more. I think this feeling was a wish that the book had explored any of these ideas on a deeper level instead of skimming the whole concept of marriage and romantic relationships in only 120 pages. I would recommend checking a copy of this out of the library and going through the questions at the end with the one you love.