Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

by Gary L. Thomas

Paperback

$16.19 $17.99 Save 10% Current price is $16.19, Original price is $17.99. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, June 19

Overview

In this popular bestselling book (with more than 500,000 copies sold), Gary Thomas uncovers how your marriage can become a doorway to a closer walk with God and each other.

Happy is good. But holy is better. Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant with another person. It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better, trust him more fully, and love him more deeply. What if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy?

Sacred Marriage doesn't just offer techniques to make a marriage happier. It does contain practical tools, but what married Christians most need is help in becoming holier husbands and wives. Sacred Marriage offers that help with insights from Scripture, church history, time tested wisdom from Christian classics, and examples from today's marriages.

Sacred Marriage reveals how marriage trains us to love God and others well, how it exposes sin and makes us more aware of God's presence, how good marriages foster good prayer, how married sex feeds the spiritual life, and more.

The revised edition of Sacred Marriage takes into account the ways men's and women's roles have expanded since the book was first written. It has been streamlined to be a faster read without losing the depth that so many readers have valued.

Sacred Marriage uncovers the mystery of God’s overarching purpose. This book may very well alter profoundly the contours of your marriage. It will most certainly change you. Because whether it is delightful or difficult, your marriage can become a doorway to a closer walk with God, and to a spiritual integrity that, like salt, seasons the world around you with the savor of Christ.

Also available: Sacred Marriage gift edition, small group video study and study guide, Spanish edition, and more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310337379
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 08/04/2015
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 44,056
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Gary Thomas is a writer in residence at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct faculty member teaching on spiritual formation at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and Houston Theological Seminary in Houston, Texas. He is the author of 19 books, including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, Cherish, Sacred Parenting, and the Gold Medallion Award-winning Authentic Faith. He has a master’s degree from Regent College, where he studied under Dr. J.I. Packer, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity from Western Seminary. Gary has spoken in 49 states and 10 different countries. He has appeared numerous times on various national radio and television programs, including CBN, Focus on the Family and Family Life Today.

Read an Excerpt

Sacred Marriage

What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More than to Make Us Happy


By Gary L. Thomas

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2015 Gary L. Thomas
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-33737-9



CHAPTER 1

THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN THE WORLD

A Call to Holiness More Than Happiness


By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher. Socrates


I'm going to cut him open.

Historians aren't sure who the first physician was who followed through on this thought, but the practice revolutionized medicine. The willingness to cut into a corpse, peel back the skin, pull a scalp off a skull, cut through the bone, and actually remove, examine, and chart the organs that lay within was a crucial first step in finding out how the human body really works.

For thousands of years, physicians had speculated on what went on inside a human body, but there was a reluctance and even an abhorrence to actually dissect a cadaver. Some men refrained out of religious conviction; others just couldn't get over the eeriness of cutting away a human rib cage. While an occasional brave soul ventured inside a dead body, it wasn't until the Renaissance period (roughly the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries) that European doctors routinely started to cut people open.

And when they did, former misconceptions collapsed. In the sixteenth century, Andreas Vesalius was granted a ready supply of criminals' corpses, allowing him to definitively contradict assumptions about the human anatomy that had been unquestioned for a thousand years or more. Vesalius's anatomical charts became invaluable, but he couldn't have drawn the charts unless he was first willing to make the cuts.

I want to do a similar thing in this book — with a spiritual twist. We're going to cut open numerous marriages, dissect them, find out what's really going on, and then explore how we can gain spiritual meaning, depth, and growth from the challenges that lie within. We're not after simple answers — three steps to more intimate communication, six steps to a more exciting love life — because this isn't a book that seeks to tell you how to have a happier marriage. This is a book that looks at how we can use the challenges, joys, struggles, and celebrations of marriage to draw closer to God and to grow in Christian character.

We're after what Francis de Sales wrote about in the seventeenth century. Because de Sales was a gifted spiritual director, people often corresponded with him about their spiritual concerns. One woman wrote in great distress, torn because she wanted to get married while a friend was encouraging her to remain single, insisting it would be "more holy" for her to care for her father and then devote herself as a celibate to God after her father died.

De Sales put the troubled young woman at ease, telling her that, far from being a compromise, in one sense, marriage might be the toughest ministry she could ever undertake. "The state of marriage is one that requires more virtue and constancy than any other," he wrote. "It is a perpetual exercise of mortification ... In spite of the bitter nature of its juice, you may be able to draw and make the honey of a holy life."

Notice that de Sales talks about the occasionally "bitter nature" of marriage's "juice." To spiritually benefit from marriage, we have to be honest. We have to look at our disappointments, own up to our ugly attitudes, and confront our selfishness. We also have to rid ourselves of the notion that the difficulties of marriage can be overcome if we simply pray harder or learn a few simple principles. Most of us have discovered that these "simple steps" work only on a superficial level. Why is this? Because there's a deeper question that needs to be addressed beyond how we can "improve" our marriage: What if God didn't design marriage to be "easier"? What if God had an end in mind that went beyond our happiness, our comfort, and our desire to be infatuated and happy, as if the world were a perfect place?

What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? What if, as de Sales hints, we are to accept the "bitter juice" because out of it we may learn to draw the resources we need with which to make "the honey of a holy life"?

This isn't to suggest that happiness and holiness are contradictory. On the contrary, I believe we'll live the happiest, most joy-filled lives when we walk in obedience. John Wesley once boldly proclaimed that it is not possible for a man to be happy who is not also holy, and the way he explains it makes much sense. Who can be truly "happy" while filled with anger, rage, and malice? Who can be happy while nursing resentment or envy? Who can be honestly happy while caught in the sticky compulsion of an insatiable lust or incessant materialism? The glutton may enjoy his food, but he does not enjoy his condition.

So we're not anti-happiness; that would be silly. The problem I'm trying to address is that a "happy marriage" (defined romantically and in terms of pleasant feelings) is too often the endgame of most marriage books (even Christian marriage books). This is a false promise. You won't find happiness at the end of a road named selfishness.

This is a book that looks and points beyond marriage. Spiritual growth is the main theme; marriage is simply the context. Just as celibates use abstinence and religious hermits use isolation, so we can use marriage for the same purpose — to grow in our service, obedience, character, pursuit, and love of God.

For centuries, Christian spirituality was virtually synonymous with celibate spirituality; that is, even married people thought we had to become like monks and nuns to grow in the Lord. We'd have to do the same spiritual exercises, best performed by single people (long periods of prayer that don't allow for child rearing or marital discussion, seasons of fasting that make preparing meals difficult for a family, times of quiet meditation that seem impossible when kids of any age are in the house), rather than seeing how God could use our marriages to help us grow in character, in prayer, in worship, and in service. Rather than develop a spirituality in which marriage serves our pursuit of holiness, the church focused on how closely married people could mimic "single spirituality" without neglecting their family. The family thus became an obstacle to overcome rather than a platform to spiritual growth.

The reason the marriage relationship is often seen as a selfish one is because our motivations for marrying often are selfish. But my desire is to reclaim marriage as one of the most selfless states a Christian can enter. This book sees marriage the way medieval writers saw the monastery: as a setting full of opportunities to foster spiritual growth and service to God.

You've probably already realized there was a purpose for your marriage that went beyond happiness. You might not have chosen the word holiness to express it, but you understood there was a transcendent truth beyond the superficial romance depicted in popular culture. We're going to explore that purpose. We're going to cut open many marriages, find out where the commitment rubs, explore where the poisoned attitudes hide, search out where we are forced to confront our weakness and sin, and learn how to grow through the process.

We'll also look at what Scripture, church history, and the Christian classics can tell us. You'll find that the classics are amazingly relevant and that the past influences the present far more than many people think.

The ultimate purpose of this book is not to make you love your spouse more — although I think that will happen along the way; it's to equip you to love your God more and to help you reflect the character of his Son more precisely. At the very least, you'll have a new appreciation for the person with whom you have embarked on this journey.

I also pray it will help you to love your marriage more, appreciate your marriage more, and inspire you to become even more engaged in your relationship with your spouse. When you realize something is "sacred," far from making it boring, it gives birth to a new reverence, a take-your-breath-away realization that something you may have been taking for granted is far more profound, far more life-giving and life-transforming, than you may ever have realized.

I love marriage, and I love my marriage. I love the fun parts, the easy parts, and the pleasurable parts, but also the difficult parts — the parts that frustrate me but help me understand myself and my spouse on a deeper level; the parts that are painful but that crucify the aspects of me that I hate; the parts that force me to my knees and teach me that I need to learn to love with God's love instead of just trying harder. Marriage has led me to deeper levels of understanding, more pronounced worship, and a sense of fellowship that I never knew existed.

"Sacred" isn't my brand; it's my way of life. And applying it to my marriage has transformed every one of my days. I believe it can do the same for you.

CHAPTER 2

ROMANTICISM'S RUSE

How Marriage Points Us to True Fulfillment


Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate.

W. H. Auden


While holiness as a goal of marriage may sound like a radically different view of marriage, the very concept of "romantic love," which is celebrated in movies, songs, and novels, was virtually unknown to the ancients. There were exceptions — one need merely read Song of Songs, for instance — but taken as a whole, the concept that marriage should involve passion and fulfillment and excitement is a relatively recent development on the scale of human history, making its popular entry toward the end of the eleventh century.

This is not to suggest that romance itself or the desire for more romance is necessarily bad; after all, God created the romantic component of our brain chemistry, and good marriages work hard to preserve a sense of romance. But the idea that a marriage can survive on romance alone, or that romantic feelings are more important than any other consideration when choosing a spouse, has wrecked many a marital ship.

Romanticism received a major boost by means of the eighteenth-century Romantic poets — Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Blake — followed by their successors in literature, Byron, Shelley, and Keats. These poets passionately argued that it was a crime against oneself to marry for any reason other than "love" (which was defined largely by feeling and emotion), and the lives of many of them were parodies of irresponsibility and tragedy.

For example, one of the writers who embraced this romantic notion with fervor was the sensuous novelist D. H. Lawrence, whose motto was "With should and ought I shall have nothing to do!" Lawrence fell in love with Frieda Weekley, a married woman, and sought to woo Frieda away from her husband, as his "love" demanded he do. As part of his less-than-noble designs, Lawrence sent Frieda a note, proclaiming that she was the most wonderful woman in all of England.

Being married with three children and having already suffered a couple of affairs, Mrs. Weekley saw through Lawrence's emotion and coolly replied that it was obvious to her he had not met many Englishwomen.

In her startling and insightful essay on marriage written in the 1940s (titled, interestingly enough, "The Necessary Enemy"), twentieth-century writer Katherine Anne Porter bemoaned how "Romantic Love crept into the marriage bed, very stealthily, by centuries, bringing its absurd notions about love as eternal springtime and marriage as a personal adventure meant to provide personal happiness." The reality of the human condition is such that, according to Porter (and I agree), we must "salvage our fragments of happiness" out of life's inevitable sufferings.

Porter carefully explores the heights and depths of marriage, making the following observations about a young bride:

This very contemporary young woman finds herself facing the oldest and ugliest dilemma of marriage. She is dismayed, horrified, full of guilt and forebodings because she is finding out little by little that she is capable of hating her husband, whom she loves faithfully. She can hate him at times as fiercely and mysteriously, indeed in terribly much the same way, as often she hated her parents, her brothers and sisters, whom she loves, when she was a child ... She thought she had outgrown all this, but here it was again, an element in her own nature she could not control, or feared she could not. She would have to hide from her husband, if she could, the same spot in her feelings she had hidden from her parents, and for the same no doubt disreputable, selfish reason: she wants to keep his love.


With only a romantic view of marriage to fall back on, Porter warns, a young woman may lose her "peace of mind. She is afraid her marriage is going to fail because ... at times she feels a painful hostility toward her husband, and cannot admit its reality because such an admission would damage in her own eyes her view of what love should be."

Romantic love has no elasticity to it. It can never be stretched; it simply shatters. Mature love, the kind demanded of a good marriage, must stretch, as the sinful human condition is such that all of us bear conflicting emotions. "Her hatred is real as her love is real," Porter explains of the young wife. This is the reality of the human heart, the inevitability of two sinful people pledging to live together, with all their faults, for the rest of their lives.

A wedding calls us to our highest and best — in fact, to almost impossible — ideals. It's the way we want to live. But marriage reminds us of the daily reality of living as sinful human beings in a radically broken world. We aspire after love but far too often descend into hate and apathy.

Any mature, spiritually sensitive view of marriage must be built on the foundation of mature love rather than romanticism. But this immediately casts us into a countercultural pursuit.

In his classic work The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis satirically ridicules our culture's obsession with romanticism. The demon Screwtape, a mentor to the demon Wormwood, gloats:

Humans who have not the gift of [sexual abstinence] can be deterred from seeking marriage as a solution because they do not find themselves "in love," and, thanks to us, the idea of marrying with any other motive seems to them low and cynical. Yes, they think that. They regard the intention of loyalty to a partnership for mutual help, for the preservation of chastity, and for the transmission of life, as something lower than a storm of emotion.


I think most of us who have been married for any substantial length of time realize that the romantic roller coaster of courtship eventually evens out to the terrain of a Midwest interstate — long, flat stretches with an occasional overpass. When this happens, couples respond in different ways. Many will end their relationship and try to re-create the passionate romance with someone else. Other couples will descend into a sort of marital guerrilla warfare as each partner blames the other for personal dissatisfaction or lack of excitement. Some couples decide to simply "get along." Still others may opt to pursue a deeper meaning, a spiritual truth hidden in the enforced intimacy of the marital situation.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Sacred Marriage by Gary L. Thomas. Copyright © 2015 Gary L. Thomas. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

1. THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN THE WORLD A Call to Holiness More Than Happiness, 9,
2. ROMANTICISM'S RUSE How Marriage Points Us to True Fulfillment, 14,
3. FINDING GOD IN MARRIAGE Marital Analogies Teach Us Truths about God, 28,
4. LEARNING TO LOVE How Marriage Teaches Us to Love, 39,
5. HOLY HONOR Marriage Teaches Us to Respect Others, 51,
6. THE SOUL'S EMBRACE Good Marriage Can Foster Good Prayer, 70,
7. THE CLEANSING OF MARRIAGE How Marriage Exposes Our Sin, 82,
8. SACRED HISTORY Building the Spiritual Discipline of Perseverance, 97,
9. SACRED STRUGGLE Embracing Difficulty in Order to Build Character, 123,
10. FALLING FORWARD Marriage Teaches Us to Forgive, 145,
11. MAKE ME A SERVANT Marriage Can Build in Us a Servant's Heart, 164,
12. SEXUAL SAINTS Marital Sexuality Can Provide Spiritual Insights and Character Development, 182,
13. SACRED PRESENCE How Marriage Can Make Us More Aware of God's Presence, 209,
14. SACRED MISSION Marriage Can Develop Our Spiritual Calling, Mission, and Purpose, 228,
EPILOGUE: THE HOLY COUPLE, 244,
Acknowledgments, 249,
Questions for Discussion and Reflection, 251,
Notes, 265,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Sacred Marriage : What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More than to Make Us Happy? 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My marriage had been dying a long painful death and I didn't even know it. When a friend of mine, who God used to open my eyes and heart, gave me this book, I learned that when I pointed a finger at what my husband had done and was doing, I was pointing 3 at myself. I learned, slowly and painfully that I was at fault as well. I was not the wife God required me to be and the partner my husband needed. There were times I had to put the book down because the truth was killing me,yet it has helped me realize that we can only change ourselves when we truly see what we are and we must stand back, develop a close relationship with our Father and let him work his wonders on our spouses....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was recommended to my fiance by her professors at college. Since I am in the military and have little time for pre-marital counseling we decided to read and discuss this book together as an attempt to make up for that loss. To give the reader a more accurate view of how this book affected me I will let you know a little about myself. I tend to be a very Type "A" kind of guy, who very readily falls into being a male chauvinist. I always believed that a man should love his wife as Christ loved the Church but for some reason, what that truly meant just never sunk in. After reading Sacred Marriage I definitely feel as though I am more aware of how to truly love my wife. I have a long way to go but this book has definitely helped with my understanding of scripture and how to apply it to my life. I have and will continue to recommend this book to every christian (single or married) that I meet. I hope it makes its way into every Christian home and finds open hearts willing and ready to repent. -in Him
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
My women's group used this book to guide discussions on a weekly basis for about six months. The group contained women with kids, without kids, single, divorce, remarried, widowed, and with traditional marriages. Everyone got something out of the discussions that took place despite their current situation. The author uses a lot of examples to try to get points across. Some are better than others, but all were helpful in getting the discussion going. The one chapter we lingered on the longest was the chapter on sex in marriage. This book speaks plainly about a lot of issues that people deal with in marital relationships. The only weakness I can see is that in a marriage where the wife is a Christian and the husband is abusive or hostile towards Chrisitianity, the advice given could be more harmful than helpful - especially the one on serving. As long as the two people in marriage are relatively equal in regards to their care and concern for each other, the advice given should help their marriages tremendously. Overall, this was a fabulous attempt to conquer difficult subjects. No one can write something that will fit all situations, so this author did a great job reaching the majority of his readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had owned Sacred Marriage and read it before, but I misplaced my copy. After buying it again, I led our Family Life department at church in a seminar about the book. I find Gary Thomas's views challenging, but I think he's on to something. This book is not easy to read, but if you stick it out, I believe that you will learn a lot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading Sacred Marriage helped me process and accept things in my 39-year old marriage that I should have processed years ago. Thomas has a deep, Biblical and practical perspective. I gave a copy to my pastor and my son. Don't miss this book, no matter how many years you've been married.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Thomas provides the reader with an awesome opportunity to view one's marriage against the standard of what the Bible says that marriage is based: holiness and servanthood before God first - there is natural flow into our marriages. I've read this book twice, each time with additional notes and comments, virtually on every page. If we understand what Gary Thomas say about loving God, you cannot help but love your spouse. Each is intertwined.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A beautiful combination of how-to advice with spiritual underpinnings. Nicely written, very thought-provoking. The author knows what he is talking about. Dr. Paul Coleman, author of 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Intimacy'
Adayriddle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another great book by Gary Thomas. I recently finished Sacred Parenting and the Sacred Parenting bible study. I read this book in preperation for the bible study that goes with it. After finishing this book I am all the more eager to do the bible study at church! Gary Thomas does an excellent job of addressing the issue of marriage from a very practical and biblical point. It is easy to relate to the illustrations. This book is not a "how to" book on marriage but rather a book that points to the fact that marriage is designed by God and is essentially for God and the deepening of a relationship with God. As this personal relationship deepens so does the marriage and it also is fortified and strengthened by this personal relationship. God is a God of love and that is what marriage is all about. To better understand this one must seek out God on a personal level. This book is an excellent book to be read with your spouse, however, it is also worth reading even if your spouse does not wish to read it with you. Be challenged to apply God's word to your every day life.Thank you Zondervan for providing this review copy.
retiredlib on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"What if god designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?"Thomas is from a Catholic background. This is an interesting proposal. Each chapter is about a different aspect of holiness. It seems to be written with men in mind. Chapter titles:1. Greatest challenge in the world: a call to holiness more than happiness2. Finding God in marriage: marital analogies teach us truths about God.3. Learning to love: marriage teaches us to love4. Holy honor: marriage teaches us to respect others (particularly our spouse)5. Soul's embrace: good marriage can foster good prayer6. Cleansing of marriage: how marriage exposes our sin7. Sacred history: building the spiritual discipline of perseverance8. Sacred struggle: embracing difficulty in order to build character9. Falling forward: marriage teaches us to forgive10. Make me a servant: marriage can build in us a servant's heart11. Sexual saints: marital sexuality can provide spiritual insights and character development12. Sacred presence: how marriage can make us more aware of God's presence13. Sacred mission: marriage can develop our spiritual calling, mission, and purposeQuotes from the book:Romantic love has no elasticity to it. It can never be stretched; it simply shatters. There is much in Christian history that has unofficially considered married believers to be second-class Christians who compromised their integrity. Any situation that calls me to confront my selfishness has enormous spiritual value. if the purpose of marriage was simply to enjoy an infatuation and make me happy, then I'd have to get a new marriage every two or three years. The ultimate purpose of this book is not to make you love your spouse more. It's to equip you to love your God more. He planted marriage among humans as yet another signpost pointing to his own eternal, spiritual existence. Marriage creates a climate where this love is put to the greatest test. The problem is that love must be acquired. It must be chased after, aspired to, and practiced. A man who says "I've never loved you" is a man who is saying essentially this: "I've never acted like a Christian." It's easy to love God because God doesn't smell, have bad breath, or reward kindness with evil like humans. Can it mean, then, that if my wife is unhappy, I'm failing God? Contempt is conceived with expectations. Respect is conceived with expressions of gratitude. 1 Peter 3:7 Peter tells us that we should improve our marriages so that we can improve our prayer lives. Dissension is a major prayer-killer. The institution of marriage is designed to force us to become reconcilers. That's the only way we'll survive spiritually. What marriage has done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin. Don't give in to the temptation to resent your partner as your own weaknesses are revealed. Biblically speaking you can't swap your spouse for someone else. The mature response, is not to leave but to change ourselves. We live in a nation of quitters. Today you can virtually define marriage with perseverance or the maintenance of a long-term relationship. When you divorce your spouse, you have no idea what the future hold for him or her. If you're reading this after you've gone through a divorce, you serve no one, least of all God, by becoming fixated on something you can't now undo. That's what forgiveness and grace are for, a fresh start, a new beginning. By remaining faithful in the midst of unfaithfulness (being divorced), her eyes were opened to God's presence in a new way. By remaining faithful to an unfaithful husband, she demonstrated the truth of a God who remains faithful to an unfaithful people (like us). This tendency to avoid difficulty is a grave spiritual failing that can and often does keep us in Christian infancy. Strength comes from facing the struggle head-on, not when we run from it. A good marriage is not something you find, it's something you work for. Marriage can never remove the trials. But even difficult marriages to difficult men can
prozacstan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There was quite a bit of good material in the book. However, the author's continued focus on mystical / contemplative Christianity was a somewhat large distraction for me.
erikssonfamily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Originally I was hesitant to buy this book; I am not a fan of "self-help" books, but it isn't one. It's a treatment on the role of marriage in relationship to God and man. I read this before getting married, and frankly, it has helped us move beyond ourselves and grow closer to each other. I would recommend reading this before marriage; it will prepare you for issues. As someone else stated, the writing is a little light at times, but overall his insights are somewhat refreshing.
drj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The author has taken the relationship of the married couple and made it into a special relationship with God in the Christian experience. Many personal stories illustrate the author's points, as do Bible citations. The bottom line is that marriage is a specific way for two people to have a closer relationship with God than on their own and that this marriage can be a testing ground for spiritual development.
BriaNicklaus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The subtitle is a good summary of the book. Despite traditions that say a person is more holy by remaining celibate and single, the author points out how the marriage relationship can be a training ground for becoming all that God wants us to be. For a society where marriage is no longer sacred and where Christians also seem to be giving up too easily, the author calls us to commitment. The book is full of great illustrations from history and individuals who the author counseled.Each chapter is on a different attribute that should be learned in marriage: forgiveness, service, prayer, love, perseverance, respect, etc. There is a chapter on sexual intimacy and one of balancing family responsibilities with our mission for God which is very appropriate for ministers.A great resource to have before teaching or preaching on marriage, doing any marital counseling, and just for your own marriage.
perrigoue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brutally honest. Unlike any other marriage book I've ever read. Not a step-by-step, thank God!
tgee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My wife and I haven't finished this yet, but for the most part we've enjoyed the book. It's a bit light, but makes enough useful points to be worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book contained very good points but something about the tone made it feel a bit abrasive to me. Worth a read if you are struggling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must-read for married and engaged couples...and those considering marriage. Gary Thomas is an outstanding writer, both in his writing style and his content. He's real, as well, sharing illustrations from his own life. This book will challenge the way you think about marriage and relationships. Counter to our culture, his compelling message is that marriage is about being (and becoming) the 'right' person rather than looking for or expecting to be married to the 'right' person.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Thomas gives Christians a great perspective on marriage. My husband and I read it together and recommend it to all our friends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thomas rightly resizes the Christian Marriage model gone astray. 'Love your neighbor as yourself'-your spouse is your nearest neighbor....Excellent work, tough to apply.