Almost four years ago, I bought an outrageously expensive white dress and walked down an aisle to exchange vows with my best friend. One of the songs played during our wedding was “Center” by Charlie Hall. Our prayer still remains that Christ will be the center of our marriage. This is a commitment that requires a daily investment — it’s an intentional choice to put your spouse and others first. I am so thankful that I made that choice four years ago.
One way that I work to stay invested in improving my marriage is by reading Christian non-fiction books on the subject. A favorite read for me was Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. Today, I am going to share “the goodness” with you. This book is so rich… it is a “must” read.
Here are my top 10 quotes from the book:
1. “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” p. 13
2. “Strong Christian marriages will be struck by lightning — sexual temptation, communication problems, frustrations, unrealized expectations–but if the marriages are heavily watered with an unwavering commitment to please God above everything else, the conditions won’t be ripe for a devastating fire to follow the lightning strike.” p. 36
3. “Allow your marriage relationship to stretch your love and to enlarge your capacity for love–to teach you to be a Christian. Use marriage as a practice court, where you learn to accept another person and serve him or her.” p.42
4. “While many people fight to receive respect, Christian marriage calls for us to focus our efforts on giving respect. We are called to honor someone even when we know only too well their deepest character flaws. We are called to stretch ourselves, to find out how we can learn to respect this person with whom we’ve become so familiar.” p. 55
5. “Marriage can force us to become stronger people, because if we want to maintain a strong prayer life as married partners, we must learn to forgive. We must become expert reconcilers.” p. 81
6. “A mature Christian finds his or her fulfillment in living faithfully before God–that is, in being a mature person, not in being around a particular person. Much of our marital dissatisfaction stems in actuality from self-hatred. We don’t like what we’ve done or become; we’ve let selfish and sinful attitudes poison our thoughts and lead us into shameful behaviors, and suddenly all we want is out. The mature response, however, is not to leave; it’s to change–ourselves. Whenever marital dissatisfaction rears its head in my marriage–as it does in virtually every marriage–I simply check my focus. The times I am happiest and most fulfilled in my marriage are the times when I am intent on drawing meaning and fulfillment from becoming a better husband rather than from demanding a ‘better’ wife.” p. 101
7. “… the ‘collisions’ of marriage can create relationships of beauty. Beauty is often birthed in struggle.” p. 128
8. “To fully sanctify the marital relationship, we must live it together as Jesus lived His life–embracing the discipline of sacrifice and service as a daily practice. In the same way that Jesus gave His body for us, we are to lay down our energy,, our bodies, and our lives for others.” p. 187
9. “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.” p. 237
10. “A spiritually alive marriage will remain a marriage of two individuals in pursuit of a common vision outside of themselves.” p. 255
Q4U: What’s the best book you have read on the subject or marriage or relationships?
My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.” Find out what that means here.