I had mentioned in The Truth about Marriage Part I that the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas gave insight as to how marriage is to make us more holy than happy.So, here are a few of the quotes that are highlighted in my copy of the book. Are these not fantastic???
Pursue God through Marriage… If you want to become more like Jesus, I can’t imagine any better thing to do than to get married. [It] forces you to face some character issues you’d never have to face otherwise… The real transforming work of marriage is the 24 hours a day 7 days a week commitment… [It] calls us to an entirely new and selfless life…”
“If I really wanted to see God transform me from the inside out, I’d need to concentrate on changing myself rather than on changing my spouse… Just as physical exercise needs to be somewhat strenuous, so “relational exercise” may need to be a bit vigorous to truly stress-test the heart… the ultimate purpose of this book… is to help you reflect the character of His Son more precisely….”
“As long as a couple is married, they continue to display – however imperfectly – the ongoing commitment between Christ and his church. Thus, simply “sticking it out” becomes vitally important… In a man-centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator…”
Ooooooh one of my favorites, “Strong Christian marriages will still 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.” Yep that one’s good enough to read a couple of times and chew on for a minute.
I highlighted these quotes before I got married (this time). And I fully believe that one of the biggest mistakes in marriage today is going into marriage thinking that when you get married, that your marriage will somehow be different, and won’t face severe storms. But I’ve learned, that’s like saying that your toddler will never throw a fit in public. That’s just not reality. And you on your own can’t always have control over it. Much of your marriage will be in how you face the problems (storms) that you will face together and how you react to your spouse during problems.
There is something super spiritual about “going through” storms with your spouse. It changes you forever and only solidifies the “me to we”… the “one flesh” aspect of marriage, and helps your spouse “get you” in a way that no one else can.
If you go into marriage knowing that your marriage WILL be struck by lightning, then you can start preparing in advance. Water your yard frequently (date nights, communication nights, what I call “share a thought” nights where we are scheduled just to talk about something other than the kids or bills, etc). If you KNOW your marriage will be struck by lightning you can also pack your survival kit (hypothetical band-aids, duct tape, an eraser … aka the Word of God).
Many marriages fail or are not running as smoothly as they can simply because the spouses didn’t bring their survival kits and half of those couples thought they wouldn’t need it. Well, load up your marriage survival kit like you do your cell phone charger or tanks of gas in your SUV. Take it with you everywhere you go and don’t forget to keep filling the relationship tank back up as it drains out (the busyness of life, raising kids, working jobs, etc).
I just love these reminders. We all need them sometimes.
Marriage enrichment hugs!