I recently finished The Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and absolutely loved it. I chewed it bit by bit, and always came away with a refreshed perspective on what the Lord desires from my marriage, how I am intended to love and respect my husband, and how my character can continuously be refined through the marriage relationship. His purpose in writing was to explore the question:
What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy?
The book’s promo proposes a similar question in asking, “what if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?” I made notes on almost every page; but wanted to share just a handful of great quotes:
We have valued the wrong activities when we look only at a person’s outward accomplishments. Our relationships – especially our marriages – are an integral part of our ministry. – 78
If you want to grow toward God, you must build a stronger prayer life. If you’re married, to attain a stronger prayer life you must learn to respect your spouse and be considerate. – 79
Many marital disputes result precisely from this: “you want something but don’t get it.” …Instead of placing demands on your spouse, look to God to have your needs met. That way you can approach your spouse in a spirit of servant hood. – 82
Loving something and purifying something go hand in hand. A husband who truly loves his wife will want to see her grow in purity. A wife who truly loves her husband will want to see him grow in godliness. Both will put growth in godliness above affluence, public opinion, or personal ease. What marriage has done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin. It forces me to face myself honestly and consider my character flaws, selfishness, and anti-Christian attitudes, encouraging me to be sanctified and cleansed and to grow in godliness. – 93
…I wouldn’t be surprised if many marriages end in divorce largely because one or both partners are running from their own weaknesses as much as they are running from something they can’t tolerate in their spouse. – 97
The times that I am happiest and most fulfilled in my marriage are the times when I am intent on drawing meaning and fulfillment from becoming a better husband rather than from demanding a “better” wife. – 101
…one researcher found that the average married couple actively communicate on the average just twenty-seven minutes a week, and that they exchange the most words on their third date and the year before a divorce. – 154
Even in moments of anger, betrayal, exasperation, and hurt, we are called to pursue this person, to embrace them, to let our love redefine our feelings of disinterest, frustration, and even hate. – 157
Just when we are most eager to make ourselves understood, we must strive to understand. Just when we seek to air our grievances, we must labor to comprehend another’s hurt. Just when we want to point out the fallacies…of someone else, we must ruthlessly evaluate our own offensive attitudes and behaviors. – 163
I highly recommend reading this book regardless of your relationship status.. single, dating, engaged, married or divorced. If you’re married (or going to be), he shares powerful antecdotes that will challenge you to use the marriage relationship to grow ever closer to God. If you’re not married, it grants awesome insight and a glimpse of understanding what the marriage relationship entails.
What are you reading these days?