I just finished reading the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.
I received a free copy of this book on my Kindle from BookLook Bloggers, but this review is my own opinion.
Where to begin?
This book took me several months to read. And not just because I am a busy Mom of two little ones. No, this book is the type of book that took me forever to read because it is so jam-packed with incredibly encouraging and challenging words. I had to keep reading and re-reading sentences, just to let it sink in. I had to carry my journal around with me everywhere I went so I could write down so many important snippets of information that I was reading. I had to stop and think and let the truth settle in my mind and on my heart.
This is one of the books that I am now going to recommend to all my Christian married friends, especially after they get through that honeymoon stage and start to wonder if choosing marriage for life was really what they should have done. It’s a book that I will order and keep on my shelf to read and re-read in the upcoming years. It literally has so much information packed into it that I know if I started reading it again right now (I just finished it about 5 minutes ago), I would find new and challenging information.
It is obvious to me that as Gary Thomas wrote Sacred Marriage, he wrote it from the heart. He was led by God and I cannot imagine how much work went into writing such a powerful and truthful book. It was also obvious to me that he loves his wife- deeply. But not with a perfect sort of love that seems absolutely unattainable from the rest of us, but with a sinner-saved-by-Christ sort of love. The sort of love that is needed to glorify God through marriage. The sort of love that comes only after enduring trials together- both external trials on the marriage and internal trials caused by the marriage.
Gary Thomas asks this main question:
What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?
The rest of the book unpacks the answer to that question. I won’t spoil it all by hashing out all of the book here, but I will give you the basic layout of his book. He begins by explaining why God created marriage, and how it is designed to make us more like Christ (holy) rather than selfishly fulfilled (happy). He then lays out how marriage can grow us to love others, to respect others, to be prayer warriors, to expose and confess our sins, to build the spiritual discipline of perseverance, to help us build character, to help us learn forgiveness, to teach us how to have a servants heart, to help us develop our spiritual calling, and to make us more aware of God’s presence.
In conclusion, I just wanted to include two quotes from the book. There were so many that I wrote down and that I wanted to share, but these two really stood out to me.
What if a few Christian couples took the challenge to become a “couple saint”? Their relationship is a significant aspect of their sanctity– building it, showcasing it, using it to bless the church and the world. No longer defining their relationship to God in solitary terms but working together to present themselves as a holy unit, they resemble a pair of cherubim in the middle of whom God’s presence is radically enlivened.
The more difficult something is, the more spiritually beneficial we will find it to be as it builds our character. It is only natural when facing all these responsibilities that our souls cry out for relief. But Francis urges us to draw maximum benefit from them by crying out for patience and virtue and growth in Christlikeness. We can learn to grow in God by focusing on serving him through even our daily chores. Accepting this with the right spirit shapes us into a different kind of person.
If you are a married Christian, or about to be married, I highly recommend that you put this book on your list.