How often do we go into marriage with the understanding of being made happy by the marriage and our spouse? How often do we hear people end marriages because they were "unhappy?"
Now what if you were to learn that God did not design our marriage with our happiness as its central focus? What if our marriage is designed to make us holy before Him? What if marriage was not designed for our happiness but to completely glorify God?
That is what Gary Thomas is answering for us and opening our eyes to see in his book Sacred Marriage.
When I got married and throughout a great portion of marriage and even at times now, I get angry because of the times when we are unhappy and it is chaotic. I am still learning that my marriage was not designed for me to be happy. Yes happiness can be a by product of marriage. But that is not the original design for marriage.
This book is filled with examples of couples who had been going about marriage (and in some cases divorce) the wrong way. They'd been consumed with themselves and what made them happy. Yet they either forgot or were completely unaware of the fact that happiness is fleeting and that is not marriage's purpose. That is not our spouses purpose. We cannot burden our spouses with the task of making us happy all the time. Our joy must come from the Lord and when that happens we become content to let marriage be what God designed it to be.
A really good example of this is Hosea in the bible. Hosea was instructed to marry a harlot (a prostitute) who would give birth to children that may not have even been Hosea's children. Yet God had a purpose in this. He wanted to use marriage, specifically Hosea's marriage, to demonstrate His purpose for marriage. God wanted to show that there needs to be constant forgiveness and not human forgiveness but Godly forgiveness. God wanted to show His relationship with the people and how before we get married to our earthly spouses we have a heavenly spouse. And in our submission & obedience & loving to our earthly spouse, we are essentially doing that unto our heavenly spouse. The same goes for the message Paul gives us in Ephesians 5.
Gary Thomas seeks to give this knowledge to the believer. To live out marriage the way God intended for it to be. To stop being prideful and selfish in our marriages. To allow God to use our marriages to make us holy before Him.
As a wife one of the things my husband is charged to do is to "that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." (Eph. 5:26-27 NKJV) And in response my job is to submit and allow him to do so. No matter how hard that may be or how hard my flesh wants to fight. (And trust me my flesh has been and is fighting.)
That is what I have been learning from this book.
FYI: I received this book as a member of BooklookBloggers for free in exchange for my honest opinion.