Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Blog Book Study: Sacred Marriage

One of my blog/Twitter friends is hosting a book study of “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas. Every other Tuesday, those of us who are participating will post our thoughts on the chapter we’ve read and link-up at Jenn’s blog. (More details here if you’re interested in joining.)

I’m glad Jenn suggested this book. Gary Thomas is a Christian, a great author, and has good perspective. He’s also married, so that helps too. I’ve read “Sacred Influence” by him, and enjoyed it.

After beginning this book, my first thought was, “Gosh. I wish people who are starting to date or are engaged could read this. I wish we had the opportunity to read this before we got married.”


Because this book comes at marriage like this: it’s not about you. It’s not about the other person either, really. It’s about God and the process of becoming more holy, using marriage to do so. Thomas states, “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.”

Most of us never thought of marriage that way. And our culture certainly doesn’t teach those values. With today’s 50+% divorce-rate, it seems like marriage is more of a fashion accessory than a commitment. The entertainment news is constantly filled with what celebrity couple is breaking up this week and glorifying the newest “it” couple that everyone is sure will “make it” this time. No wonder Hollywood keeps making so many romantic comedies. They think that’s what relationships are about.

Wait, did I just say marriage wasn’t about romance? Yep. And I’m not the only one who has said it. Thomas says, “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….” Yeah. Romance isn’t in any wedding vows I’ve ever heard. Remember the part about “for richer or poorer, sickness and health”? No romance there. You also will find no romance in making the budget stretch to cover an unexpected expense. Or when the laundry hasn’t been done and someone’s run out of clean socks (or worse, underwear). Or when the toilet backs up. Or even when the cutest baby in the entire world refuses to sleep and causes one (or both) of you to be awake for what seems like days.

When you go into marriage without the proper expectations, you are setting yourself up for huge disappointments. I struggle with expectations all the time. Without even realizing it, I expect that Husband thinks the same thing I do about something. Or sees the same things I see. And when we realize we have differing opinions or the thing that was bothering me wasn’t anywhere on his radar, I have to remember to adjust my expectations…again. There’s nothing wrong with that. We are different people. God made us that way. I just can’t get caught up in things like that or I will become mired down and allow my attitude to get out of whack. And that’s happened more times than I’d like to admit.

Really, it comes down to this: if you place your hope and trust in people, you will always be disappointed. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.” Seek God first, and the other things will fall in line. That doesn’t mean they’ll be perfect, but it does mean that you’ll be on the right path.

I’m looking forward to the rest of this book. If you’d like to check out the other bloggers doing this study and what they have to say, Jenn will be hosting a linky at Knee-Deep in Munchkin Land.

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  1. I think you are totally right about "Really, it comes down to this: if you place your hope and trust in people, you will always be disappointed." The verse you backed it up with is perfect. Great observation and put it out there very plain and obvious.

    Liking the book hope the next Chapters are even better.

  2. so good to "meet" you! Jenn and I are childhood friends and I'm excited to meet some of her other blogging friends:). I haven't gotten my book yet, Amazon has had some issues with my shipping:(, but I'm enjoying reading all your thoughts on this first chapter. Love your thoughts and totally agree:).

  3. I love what you said about what if someone could read this book before they were married. I wish I would have read this (and other books) before the I dos. I wouldn't change the end result of marrying my husband, but I would have loved to have been better-equipped to deal with the coming years.

  4. Wow! Melissa! So well written! I felt like I didn't have much to offer in my thoughts since it seemed to be an overview of the book in general. But your post hit it head-on! And I found myself wanting to do fist pumps and amens throughout the post. ;)

    I'm really excited to chat with everyone about this study on Thursday.

  5. Ah... I think we are much alike. :-) I am loving this book and the reality-telling, hard-hitting nature of it. I too struggle with having unspoken expectations, and even worse -- I can turn into a pouting brat when plans change or don't turn out like I expected. =\ God has definitely used my marriage, and the day-to-day nuts and bolts of making two lives work together, to challenge and change me. Your writing is always so easy to read and understand. Looking forward to the rest of the book!