Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sacred Marriage

I just finished reading Sacred Marriage: Celebrating Marriage as a Spiritual Discipline by Gary Thomas.  What a GREAT book!  If you need a book to read together with your spouse or even by yourself, this is a must-read.

I could never give this book total justice by trying to tell you about it in my own words, so let me put a couple of my favorite excerpts from it on here so you'll see how wonderful it is and go get it.  I promise it will transform your marriage!

" 'Stocism' has never been a Christian philosophy.  
If truth be told, we serve a passionate God who feels deeply.
Our passions are what make us come alive.  
The apathetic person is a pathetic person.  
While we often fear our passions 
because they can carry us into an affair, 
a fight, or some other destructive behavior, 
the solution is not living a less passionate life 
but finding the right things to be passionate about."

So often, I think that emotions and passion are looked down on.  It supposedly portrays weakness and lack of self-control.  But, I have learned to embrace my emotional side.  I truly feel that the Lord has given me a deep passion for others and emotions to share with them.  This book has totally confirmed this emotional embrace that I've found.

"Let your relationship with your spouse point you 
to what you really need most of all:  
God's love and active presence in your life.  
Above all, don't blame your spouse for lack of fulfillment; 
blame yourself for not pursuing 
a fulfilling relationship with God."

Ouch!  Okay so how are we supposed to do that?!

"Marital dissatisfaction, on whatever level, 
is best met with the prayer, 'That's why I need you, O God.'  
We are reminded of the transcendent ache in our soul 
that even this one very special person 
can't relieve entirely on his or her own.  
As odd as this may sound, 
I have discovered in my own life that my satisfaction 
or dissatisfaction with my marriage has far more 
to do with my relationship to God 
than it does with my relationship to Lisa (his wife).  
When my heart grows cold toward God, 
my other relationships suffer, 
so if I sense a burgeoning alienation from, 
or lack of affection toward, my wife, 
the first place I look is how I'm doing with the Lord.  
Lisa is, quite literally, my God-thermometer."

Ok, I've got one more that is by far my favorite section!
Francis De Sales wrote, "Let us be what we are, and let us be it well."

"In other words, if we are married, we are married, 
and we must not try to live as if we were otherwise.  
Francis noted that by living with this attitude, 
we 'do honor to the Master whose work we are.'"
"To accept this counsel entails that we do not make the mistake 
John Wesley made-get married, 
but then refuse to adjust his life accordingly.  
Wesley said he was adamant that he wouldn't let being married 
slow him down by even one sermon.  
This kind of vision is unrealistic, 
and even unfair to our spouse, to be sure." - Thomas

De Sales also wrote, "If I ignore God's daughter/son to do God's work, am I honoring God?"
Thomas expounds on this by saying, 
"Christian men in particular might be tempted 
above all others to let ambition erode their marital devotion, 
even to the point of using religious language 
to justify shortchanging their spouse, 
but de Sales warned that even spiritual devotion 
can be taken 'out of bounds.' ... 
God is not served well if we turn off 
everyone around us in our selfish pursuit of devotion."

Wow, I thought Josh and I had a great marriage, and quite frankly I still do, but boy do I have a lot of maturing to do...

Now, on to my next book!  I've been waiting for this one:)
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