Sacred Marriage Cont’d

What did you think of Gary Thomas’ idea that God designed marriage to make us holy even more than to make us happy?

There’s more intriguing wisdom in his book Sacred Marriage. As a husband, Gary speaks from his own perspective about the care of wives. Of course, all he says can encourage wives to treat husbands as treasures, too. He writes:

  • My wife was created by God himself! How dare I dishonor her? In fact, shouldn’t it even give me pause before I reach out to touch her? She is the Creator’s daughter, after all!”
  • “The biggest challenge for me in upholding my spiritual obligation to honor my wife is that I get busy and sidetracked. I don’t mean to dishonor her; I just absentmindedly neglect to actively honor her.” Quoting Betsy and Gary Ricucci, “Honor isn’t passive, it’s active. […] Honor not expressed is not honor.”
  • “Quoting Dr. John Barger:  ‘[When women] love, they love quietly; they speak, as it were, in whispers, and we have to listen carefully, attentively.’ Isn’t God also this way? Doesn’t he intervene in most of our lives in whispers, which we miss if we fail to recollect ourselves and pay careful attention—if we do not constantly strive to hear those whispers of divine love? The virtues necessary in truly loving a woman and having that love returned—the virtues of listening, patience, humility, service, and faithful love—are the very virtues necessary for us to love God and to feel his love returned.”
  • “In his audiotape series According to Plan, C.J. Mahaney pleads with men to recover [a] sense of sacrifice. He points out that sacrifice isn’t sacrifice unless it costs us something, and then he leaves a challenging question hanging in the air: ‘Gentlemen, what are we doing each day for our wives that involves sacrifice? What are you doing each day for your wife that is costing you something?’”

The author also shares a thought aimed primarily at women who have allowed this appearance-focused society to damage their self-esteem:

  • “Continuing to give your body to your spouse even when you believe it constitutes “damaged goods” can be tremendously rewarding spiritually. It engenders humility, service, and an other-centered focus, as well as hammering home a very powerful spiritual principle: Give what you have.”

He speaks to all of us about creativity:

  • You were made by God to create. If you don’t create in a thoughtful and worshipful manner—whether preparing meals, decorating a home, achieving a vocational dream, responsibly raising children—you will feel less than human because you are in fact acting in a sub-human mode.[…]The creation, of course, must have a proper focus—namely, the glory of God.”
  • “When this sense of creation is lost, marriage loses some of its spiritual transcendence. […] If we don’t nurture a godly sense of creativity, we will experience an emptiness that we may perversely and wrongly blame on our marriage. The emptiness comes not from our marriage, however, but from the fact that we’re not engaged in our marriage. We’re not using this powerful relationship in order to create something.”

And he continues his thoughts on creativity to include the creation of family:

  • “As people created in the image of God, we have a responsibility to create. […] Creating a family is the closest we get to sharing the image of God.”
  • “Building a family together isn’t a side avocation. It takes enormous energy, concentration, and self-denial.”
  • Quoting Jerry Jenkins, “Tell your [marital] story. Tell it to your kids, your friends, your brothers and sisters, but especially to each other. The more your story is implanted in your brain, the more it serves as a hedge against the myriad forces that seek to destroy your marriage. Make your story so familiar that it becomes part of the fabric of your being. It should become a legend that is shared through the generations as you grow a family tree that defies all odds and boasts marriage after marriage of stability, strength, and longevity.”
  • Quoting Evelyn & James Whitehead: “In our marriage we tell the next generation what sex and marriage and fidelity look like to Christians. We are prophets, for better and for worse, of the future of Christian marriage.”

Then he extends the idea of family and asks us to be of service to the world because, “When marriage becomes our primary pursuit, our delight in the relationship will be crippled by fear, possessiveness, and self-centeredness.”

  • “But a man and woman dedicated to seeing each other grow in their maturity in Christ; who raise children who know and honor the Lord; who engage in business that supports God’s work on earth and is carried out in the context of relationships and good stewardship of both time and money—these Christians are participating in the creativity that gives a spiritually healthy soul immeasurable joy, purpose, and fulfillment.”
  • “I will be most fulfilled as a Christian when I use everything I have—including my  money and time—as a way to serve others, with my spouse getting first priority (after God).”
  • Quoting Evelyn & James Whitehead, “Christianity has long called us to this truth: Marriage must be about more than itself because love that does not serve life will die.”
  • “We allow marriage to point beyond itself when we accept two central missions: becoming the people God created us to be, and doing the work God has given us to do. If we embrace—not just accept, but actively embrace—these two missions, we will have a full life, a rich life, a meaningful life, and a successful life. The irony is, we will probably also have a happy marriage, but that will come as a blessed by-product of putting everything else in order.”

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