Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Review: "Sacred Marriage"

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

I'm not married yet so I find it kind of strange to review and recommend a book on marriage but I will anyway. This book seems unlike anything I've ever read or heard of about marriage. Excellent book from an excellent perspective on an excellent topic! 5 stars. or whatever. Some of my favorite quotes:

Contempt is conceived with expectations. Respect is conceived with expressions of gratitude. We can choose which one we will obsess over—expectations, or thanksgivings. That choice will result in a birth—and the child will be named either contempt, or respect. P67

A man might be able to preach a sterling sermon, write inspiring books, and quote the Bible from front to back. But if he hasn’t learned how to be a servant to his wife, to respect her, and to be considerate of her, then his spirituality is still infantile. His prayer life—the lifeblood of his soul—will be a sham. P76

Christmas Eve and Christmas morning are merely the climaxes to a long-running story set in motion centuries before. It’s a fascinating tale, one that God follows with all the passion of a husband, the hurt of a betrayed friend, the frustration of a wise parent, and the perspective of an aggrieved Lord and King. It would not be fair to judge that history at any one point, for it is the history of God and his people Israel—his bride and his spouse—taken together over the long run, that tells the complete story. P125

Love is a heart that moves…Love moves away from the self and toward the other. –Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III P153

The absence of conflict demonstrates that either the relationship isn’t important enough to fight over or that both individuals are too insecure to risk disagreement. P162

Marriage based on romanticism embraces an idealized lie (infatuation) and then divorces the reality once it presents itself. Marriage based on life in Jesus Christ invites us to divorce the lie (and idealized view of our spouse) and embrace reality (two sinful people struggling to maintain a lifelong commitment). As the Whitehead observe, “The challenge is not to keep on loving the person we thought we were marrying, but to love the person we did marry!” P165

Quoting from Dan Allender and Tremper Longman: These conflicts over time and money cloud the real issue: Are we willing to sacrifice for the good and the glory of the other? Quarrels over time and money usually reflect a demand to “own” our life rather than to serve the other with our wealth and existence. The typical fight over who ought to pick up the kids usually is about whose time is more valuable, who works the hardest, and who is least appreciated. It is not wrong to alternate chores or divvy up responsibilities, but the hurtful interactions usually reflect drawing battle lines over more petty manners. P192

Mission includes not just what we do, but what we become. Christianity is one of those rare religions that marries internal reality with outward obedience. P254