February 28, 2010

Sacred Marriage; Chapter 1

Chapter One of Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

A Call to Holiness More Than Happiness

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher. -Socrates

Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate. -W.H. Auden

In chapter one Gary Thomas discusses the first physicians dissecting a cadaver in order to learn about how the human body works. He used this as a comparison to how he would dissect marriage in the book. This is a book that looks at how we can use the challenges, joys, struggles, and celebrations of marriage to draw closer to God and to grow in Christian character. (pg 12)

To spiritually benefit from marriage, we have to be honest. We have to look at our disappointments, own up to our ugly attitudes, and confront our selfishness. (pg 13)

What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us holy? (pg 13)

He goes on to discuss romanticism in marriage. Romantic love is a rather new concept, other than Song of Songs no one speaks of it until the end of the eleventh century. Webster's dictionary defines romance as "a love affair; romantic involvement; a strong, usually ephemeral interest of enthusiasm."

Personally, "Hollywood romance" isn't a priority in our marriage. We have two small children, hubs in is the military and goes to school full-time, I have too many hobbies to list plus taking care of our home. Romance for us is simply spending time together, whether we are watching a movie or re-runs of our favorite shows. Flowers are nice but not as nice as sharing a blanket on the couch.

Marriage calls us to an entirely new and selfless life. (pg 18)

He moves on to discuss expectations. We need to remind ourselves of the ridiculousness of looking for something from other humans that only God can provide... much of the dissatisfaction we experience in marriage comes from expecting too much from it." (pg 25)

I didn't have many expectations for marriage, other than fidelity, companionship and stability. I expected my husband to maintain employment and to be responsible for his family. I had been in relationships that taught me not to expect anything so those become my standards for marriage. I am very lucky because my husband takes very good care of us but knows that I can't completely rely on him for my needs. I have to rely on God first. Being a military wife makes that reliance on God even stronger. Hubs isn't always here to cater to my needs.

Thomas moves on to priorities. Where do your priorities lie? Are you craving more than anything else to be intimately close to the God who made you? If not, what is keeping you from doing so?

These are some loaded questions. Of course God should be our first priority but it is easy to say that He is because that is the right answer. So many times we let life get in the way of the relationship that God craves to have with us and that we should crave to share with him. He created us to honor Him! He is what we should be living for! What are you living for?

If that relationship [with God] is right, we won't make such severe demands on our marriage, asking each other, expecting each other, to compensate for spiritual emptiness. (pg 24)

MEMORY VERSE for the week:

If I really want to see God transform me from the inside out, I need to concentrate on changing myself rather than on changing my spouse.

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