[openbook booknumber="ISBN:9780310242826" templatenumber="1"] My first book that I finished in 2012 is one I have had on my reading list for awhile, so I felt like I had accomplished a lot already! Woohoo! With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought this title would be an appropriate one to share.
A few months ago, I read Gary Thomas' Sacred Parenting and I really enjoyed his perspective, so I thought I would pick up Sacred Marriage as well. The premise is that marriage is designed by God not merely for our happiness but for our holiness. Like his other title, his emphasis is on how God uses these key relationships to help us to grow in our walk with Him. In the 13 chapters, the author goes through various ways our marriages can help us grow, such as building perseverance, character, forgiveness, service, and calling.
I must confess that after reading it, I realized how self-centered my view of marriage is. It is easy for me to divorce (is that a pun?) my relationship with my husband from my relationship with God. I don't usually see a connection between how God may be wanting to use my marital woes to build up my faith and refine my character.
And yet, if I am willing, I am beginning to see how God can use these hard times to help me to grow into the kind of woman He wants me to be. In fact, Mr. Thomas suggests that loving our spouses "may be one of the most spiritual things you can do." It is in the nitty-gritty of real relationships that we mature the most in our faith. I love that thought.
What I did like about this book was that it was not for the faint of heart. The author hits some really tough subjects and he doesn't water anything down. He's definitely not aiming for a feel-good message. Which is always why this is a tough book to read too. And yet I must say that as I was reading it, I was inspired and challenged to look at my marriage in a different way.
However, on the flip side I felt like there were times when marriage seemed to be portrayed as one big, long spiritual discipline. Maybe I am more immature and shallow than Mr. Thomas, but I didn't want to look at my husband as God's big tool of discipline either. We're serious enough as it is! It seemed like it would be important for me to remember to laugh and enjoy our lives together too, not turn everything into a spiritual lesson. (Which I could totally see myself doing!)
This is one of those books that I would love to interact with others over because it is so deep. I can imagine it being a wonderful one to ponder and read together with my own husband. (We're nerds like that.) Or it could be a good one to read with other women who seek to grow in their marriages. That might be a great idea for a Mom University, wouldn't it? I'll have to think about that...
Again, like I mentioned, it is probably not one to read if you or your husband are still new in your faith, though I definitely wouldn't stop you if you wanted to give it a try! You go girl! But if you have been walking with the Lord for many years and feel like your marriage has gone dry and you need a good kick in the pants, this is a great one to pick up and read.
Above all, I hope that whether you read this or not, that we will remember that God can and does use all the relationships in our life to bring Him glory and to transform our character. May we rise to the challenge and become women who are transformed by Him who desires to use us to help transform others.