Love Warrior Reading Group Guide
About This Book
Ten years into her marriage, Glennon Doyle Melton learns a devastating truth that leads her to the brink of divorce. But instead of bolting from the pain or drowning in her grief, she chooses to listen to the still, small voice inside her that urges her to find the gift in this crisis. Glennon decides to welcome the pain, to see it through and discover what it has to teach her.
She is not sure she wants to save her marriage, but she is determined to save herself—a self long ago saddled with beliefs about beauty, sexuality, and a woman's role in the world. To move forward, she must sit with the feelings of discomfort—a hot loneliness she has been trying to numb all her life. She must develop a new understanding of intimacy, a new relationship with grace, and a new perspective on forgiveness, family and what it means to be in love.
On this journey, Glennon reconsiders far more than her marriage and discovers what it means to be true to oneself, to claim her true identity as a Love Warrior.
Questions for Discussion
1. Initially, Glennon assumes her marriage began with her wedding. In what ways do we expect weddings to function as beginnings? When do you think a marriage begins?
2. By the time she graduates high school, Glennon has come to see that there are hidden rules about how to matter as a girl (pages 30 and 187). Glennon later understands how she's been hurt by the messages our culture sends about what success should look and feel like for a woman. What are those messages? Where do they come from? What "hidden rules" did you follow, or feel pressured to follow, as a child or a teenager? How about now? How has following those rules affected your life?
3. When Glennon runs out of places to go, she drives toward God (page 52). How does her experience with Mary compare to her conversation with the priest? Why do you think she feels safe in the presence of Mary? How could the priest have been more helpful or supportive?
4. At Glennon's first twelve-step meeting, she is relieved to notice that "there are no representatives in this circle," just "folks who are ready to quit pretending" (pages 66–67). Discuss a time you felt like you had to show up as your representative instead of your true self. How would it have felt to stop pretending?
5. After Glennon accepts her pregnancy as an invitation to come back to life and Craig proposes, she decides she will be a new person. Have you ever wanted to put your old self in a box and tuck it away? Do you believe it's possible to be a new person?
1. For years in her marriage, Glennon feels lonely because it seems she and Craig cannot meaningfully connect. She says, "He wants to be inside my body like I want to be inside his mind" (page 99). Why do you think men and women often have different understandings of intimacy?
2. When she discovers pornography on the family computer, Glennon realizes she is "part of a system that agrees women are for being…dominated and filmed and sold and laughed at" (page 121). Although her fury "feels primal, all-encompassing…and general and impersonal enough to burn the whole world," she decides to point her anger "directly at Craig" (page 122). Have you ever felt a similar fury? In what ways is it easier to blame a person than a system?
3. After learning of Craig's infidelities, Glennon wonders "if the answers to the question of me are not successful wife and mother, then what answers do I have left?" (page 137). What labels would you feel lost without? How do these roles define who you believe you are?
4. Though she would prefer an easier choice, Glennon vows not to use the security of her relationship to avoid her fear and loneliness. She declares that "self-betrayal is allowing fear to overrule the still, small voice of truth" (page 145). What does self-betrayal mean to you? When have you heard your own still, small voice? What habits or activities do you engage in that help you to access that inner wisdom?
5. People respond in varying ways to the news of Glennon's separation (pages 146–47). Were the descriptions of Shovers, Comparers, Fixers, Reporters, Victims, and God Reps familiar to you? Discuss a time when someone reacted to your pain. What felt supportive? What didn't?
6. While she's alone at the beach, Glennon's mother tells her, "Sand and water have always been home to you" (page 169). Learning "one true thing" about herself cements Glennon's commitment to care fiercely for her soul and to become her strongest, healthiest self. What feels like home to you? What is "one true thing" you know about yourself?
1. Reflecting on a passage from Pema Chödrön's When Things Fall Apart, Glennon realizes that pursuing the journey of the warrior means enduring the "hot loneliness" without reaching for what Glennon calls the "easy buttons" (pages 201–202). What are some of your go-to easy buttons? What happens when you resist pressing them and choose stillness instead?
2. Glennon says that the poison is not our pain, but the lies we tell about our pain. She writes, "We either allow ourselves to feel the burn of our own pain or someone we love gets burned by it" (page 203). Can you think of a time when you've found this statement to be true? How does refusing to experience our own pain hurt others?
3. So many people tell Glennon to breathe that she eventually takes a class on the topic and has a transformative experience (pages 213–20). Have you ever paid close attention to your breath? What do you think your breath can teach you?
4. Reflect on Glennon's experience during her breathing class. Do you agree that "grace can only be personal if it's also universal" (page 219)? How does this understanding affect Glennon's view of Craig? Do you believe forgiveness can be universal without being personal?
5. Glennon grew up understanding the biblical definition of "woman" to be "helper." When she questions this, she learns that the original Hebrew word for "woman" has a different translation altogether (page 222). Discuss what Glennon's discovery that "woman" was created "as a warrior" means to you.
6. When she teaches the children at Sunday school that "they are loved by God—wildly, fiercely, gently, completely, without reservation" and that they have nothing inside of them to be ashamed of, Glennon says she is also speaking to her ten-year-old self (page 232). What would you tell your ten-year-old self?
7. To reunite her body, mind, and spirit, Glennon must learn to tell the story of her insides with her voice, which she does for the first time in the scene with the man and the garbage truck (pages 235–37). Do you think the man intended to hurt Glennon with his behavior? How did her response effectively honor them both? When have you given voice to your inside self? Was that experience comfortable or difficult, and why?
8. What do you think allows for the creation of physical intimacy between Glennon and Craig? Discuss the idea of consent and how voicing needs and concerns can create safety and connection (pages 237, 241, and 249).
9. What do you think it means to be sexy? Revisit Glennon's previous understanding of sexy (page 248) and the explanation of sexy she gives to her daughters (page 252). Is there anything you would add or change?
10. The ending of Love Warrior is deliberately ambiguous. Why do you think that is? Were you tempted to root for a "happily ever after"? In what ways does our society equate staying married with success? In what ways can separation or divorce be considered successes?
Enhance Your Book Club
Join the growing community of Love Warriors by connecting with Glennon on Twitter (@momastery), Facebook (@glennondoylemelton), and Instagram (@glennondoylemelton), and be sure to sign up on momastery.com to receive e-mails about what she's up to and where she's speaking next.
Host a meeting with "No Representatives Allowed." Agree to honestly answer discussion questions, even if your response breaks the "rules." Dress comfortably, give your still, small voice full permission to speak, and for an added bonus, show up without makeup.
Yoga plays a significant role in Glennon's healing and growth process. Whether yoga is new or familiar to you, look for ways to make it more a part of your life: Attend a class with a friend, try a round of sun salutations when you wake up, or make use of online resources like yogaglo.com to practice at home. If you're curious about the breath work Glennon experienced, you can check out transformationalbreath.com and see if there is a facilitator who might be holding a class near you.
When Glennon first hits the "rock bottom" of her marriage, she makes three lists: "Questions I Can’t Answer," "Questions I Can Answer," and "What I Know" (pages 138–39). Consider a situation you find challenging and create three lists of your own. Compare your "What I Know" list with others in your group and see if there are any items you want to borrow!
Glennon's therapist tells her that "we make a hypothesis about someone, and then our brain searches for information to verify our hypothesis" (page 186). Identify a current negative hypothesis or belief of yours that is related to a situation you find challenging. Now try an experiment: Change the hypothesis to something positive and spend the next week looking for proof to back it up. Be sure and compare your results with others in your book club.
Get involved with Together Rising, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit that emerged from the Momastery community. Together Rising has raised more than five million dollars for families in need via Love Flash Mobs, the Holiday Hands project, and the Compassion Collective—a partnership with other leaders like Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, and Cheryl Strayed. Visit togetherrising.org to learn more, donate, or volunteer.
At the top of a piece of paper, write "I am a Love Warrior because:" For the next three minutes, jot down whatever comes to mind. How many answers did you come up with? Consider posting your favorites to social media with the hashtag #lovewarrior.