Now, think about it.  Who has that conversation with couples going into marriage?  We talk a little bit about sex, a little bit about finances, a little bit about roles, a little bit about communication, but those aren't the cause of our problems.  Those are the locations of the problems.  The cause is this selfishness. 

Imagine a husband and wife getting married, and they have this thought in their mind, "Because of the DNA of sin inside of me, I am my biggest marriage problem.  It is me.  I don't need to be rescued from you.  I need to be rescued from me."  If both people go into marriage that way, then they have a whole different way of approaching the things that every couple faces. 

I think many people think, "Our romance is deep enough, and it is sturdy enough.  We won't deal with the stuff that other people do."  But they still carry that DNA with them.  It is inescapable.

CW: You used the phrase "the things that every couple faces."  I have some friends going through tough times in marriage, and when they bring it up to their friends in the church, their friends are shocked to hear it; they thought they were the only ones.  Why do we think that not every couple faces what we face?

PT: Well, I think part of that is that the Church of Jesus Christ has not been the honest community that it could be.  If God's grace has covered all of my sin—past, present, and future— why am I afraid of what you think of me?  I shouldn't be.  And so I should be able to say, "Look, I am struggling in my marriage," and not be haunted by how I will be viewed because the person who most knows most about me still loves me and forgives me and wants to give me strength to grow. 

So I just think the Christian community isn't honest.  And so it makes it very hard for couples to say, "We are struggling," because they have misconceptions about everybody else, because we dress ourselves up on Sunday, and we say the platitudinous things.  You can see this in Sunday school.  The person will raise their hand and say, "Maybe this is a dumb question, but …" and fifty people are happy that they asked the question because they had the same question. [Laughs].

CW:  In the book, you go into six commitments of how couples can redeem the realities of marriage.  Why these six commitments?  How did you arrive at them, and how can these commitments get couples to focus?

PT: Let me say a little bit about how the book is structured.  The up-front part of the book provides couples a mirror to look into and see themselves.  It is a diagnostic.  And I am welcoming couples to let down their guard and say, "Yes, this is me.  This is where we are struggling."  Then the second part of the book, The Six Commitments, says okay, what do we do about that?  How do we get ourselves on a different road toward change?  

And the six commitments just flow out of the kinds of things that the Bible says about me, and the kinds of things that the Bible says about God's grace for me.  For example, if it is a flawed person married to a flawed person, then it seems that you have got to have a habit of daily confession and forgiveness.  There is no way that I am not going to sin against you.  There is no way that I am not going to have a bad day, and I am not going to blow it.  So we have to have a culture where you can come to me, and I am not going to activate my inner lawyer and defend myself against you.  I am actually going to be thankful for your help because I know I need it.  I am going to say, "Please forgive me."  You say, "Done."  And we have settled that.  That becomes not a scary thing that we have to build up to, but it becomes just an everyday habit because we know we are broken people.