I am delighted to announce the release of my new book on the first year of marriage!
The Long Game of Joy is the book I wish I could have read before I said “I do.” It’s a blend of memoir, manual, and meditation; interwoven within the story of our first year of marriage, you’ll find practical advice from savvy relationship experts and bits of poetry for those moments when no practicalities will do. You’ll encounter a wild mix of the sacred and mundane—the Enneagram, rivers, the wound-that-heals-us, RITZ-cracker communion, the True Self, corn dogs, and a key thing called zimzum. This is a playbook for couples looking to up their game by practicing grace to live in gratitude, faith to trust, and forgiveness to love. May we celebrate marriage in all its mud and wonder, all its stains and stars. Here’s to the learning curve of love for the win.
Below you’ll find a bit of the first chapter, “We Fought About What?”
I titled this book The Long Game of Joy, though I’m not a huge fan of games—there’s usually just one winner. But I discovered that on the playing field of marriage, both players can win. On this Unified Field of Love, two can become one and know joy.
Which might sound sweet….
But it’s also a marvelous-hard healing process!
I confess: the first year of marriage was rough for me. And I’m pretty sure it would have been rough regardless of whom I’d married; I had too much of my own unlearning and learning to do—even though I thought I’d done it.
That’s one of the many things I wish I’d known but discovered only after talking with people who’d been married 10, 20, 30, 40+ years. And after reading poems to help with mystery. And after reading books on marriage to help with practicalities. All of which I’ll reference often in these pages. Like this bit of wisdom from Winifred Reilly:
I thought of how helpful it would have been to have learned, early on in my marriage, that not every problem can be solved and not every irritant can be negotiated away, that a good marriage is a mixture of delight and disgruntlement, that unhappiness comes from expecting it to be otherwise.*
That’s good advice for the long game.
And what is the long game?
A long-term endeavor.
You can read the rest in the book (both as paperback and eBook).
My gratitude to Bo Stern-Brady for her lovely endorsement:
Anna Elkins has the ability to capture a world of emotion, turmoil, joy, and hope in just one sentence. In her newest book, The Long Game of Joy, she tells the story of her first year of marriage with a mix of disarming transparency and delightful self-awareness that only serves to elevate the magic and mystery of love. This is the book for those who suspect that true love still exists, but it is messier, sturdier, and yet more beautiful than the fairytales have led us to believe.—Bo Stern-Brady, author of Beautiful Battlefields
Here's to grace, faith, and forgiveness in all realms of life,
Anna (pictured here with my husband, Jared, at the start of our long game)
PPS: And do share it in social-media-land: #TheLongGameOfJoy
* Winifred M. Reilly, It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse—and How You Can, Too (Gallery Books, 2017), 236.