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Starting with the discovery that the goal of marriage goes beyond personal happiness, writer and speaker Gary Thomas invites readers to see how God can use marriage as a discipline and a motivation to love him more and reflect more of the character of his Son.
- Good Book
This book has been very helpful in preparing for my upcoming marriage. Its biggest influence is that it has given me a perspective that I would have never thougth of on my own. That we do marriage "work" for God. Improving our marriages and our own attiudes is a direct reflection on God in our lives. This book is general and broad and does not give enough specifics so I look forward to reading more on the subject. Yet, I do find myself reflecting on several points Thomas makes. I recommend it to anyone wanting to find the correlation between God and marriage....more info
thomas' corrects mainstream america's views and attitudes toward marriage and helps the reader to see God's intent for this institution. easy to follow, practical, and convicting. i wish i had this book 15 years ago!...more info
- A "Must-Read" book!
Gary Thomas set out on a mission to teach us about marriage and its implications. Mission accomplished! This book teaches us so much: it teaches us to look at our partners as image-bearers of God; it teaches us, "every difficulty in life is an opportunity for spiritual advancement"; it teaches us, "the more difficult something is, the more spiritually beneficial we will find it to be, as it builds our character." Of course, there is much much more to be mined from this work. I wish I could get the words around how this book will impact how you view marriage... read this book! Apply what it teaches to your heart and marriage, and you will be blessed.
If you are a man (i.e. husband or future husband), I would definitely recommend reading this in conjunction with Bob Lepine's The Christian Husband....more info
- Excellent book for husbands
My husband read this and has been most attentive and loving since. We have been married almost 47 years. What a wonderful resource for all husbands ---to-be, or experienced!...more info
- Marriage is a cross to make you a better Christian
My husband and I read through most of this book last winter. The main theme/point running through the book is that marriage is a form of martyrdom a cross of suffering. Which if you hang in there will hone the couples Christian characters into something beautiful. I am sure his wife gets the warm fuzzies every time she thinks about how its such a sacred pain to be with her,that he stays because it makes him feel more righteous and pure due to all the suffering he goes through being married to her....more info
- Sacred Married
Sacred Marriage offers a great challenge to our typically flawed paradigm for the purpose of marriage. Even though it might be a little challenging read for younger, engaged couples; I think such couples would be blessed to address the question asked....more info
- Serious Marriage Saver!
Gary Thomas is a man who knows history, culture, literature and his Bible. His book opened my eyes to the selfishness that pervaded my marriage and taught me to "have contempt for contempt." Although my husband is suffering from severe depression and it is very hard to love him right now, this book showed me how to pursue holiness instead of happiness. Most of his readers are probably evangelical Christians, but as a Catholic, I was happy to read something very practical and not so "preachy". Well done indeed!...more info
- Love this book!!!
How I wished I could have read this 17 years ago...when I first got married!!! This book has made me view marriage differently and I feel so blessed by it!! My husband is currently reading it and I can see in him a transformation that is truly wonderful! Please read this book and let it become a gift you give all newlyweds from now on....much better than a toaster!!!!...more info
- By FAR the best book I have read on marriage
Gary deals squarely with the challenges of marriage that have made me feel paralyzed with "I-Can't-Do-This" fear, but then shows us the hope we have because of our life in Christ. I've never read another book on marriage that was so focused on the life Christ gives us and how God enables us through that.
Too many books I've read on marriage have felt like "12 Steps to Becoming the Perfect Spouse." I take a deep breath and then try to do them in my own strength, and...fail. This book points consistently to CHRIST as our enabler and brings our focus from being only on ourselves (what am I supposed to do?) to God (what is God doing through my marriage, what does He want to do in me?). Real change starts with focusing/depending on what God has done, which in turn allows God to change me. I've felt like too many books on marriage jumped straight to the "do" without examining the "done"--God's work--which is what enables me to "do" in the first place!
Excellent, excellent, excellent book. It will impact not just how you treat your spouse and view your marriage, but also how you view and depend on Christ in the rest of life. Highly recommended!! ...more info
- instructions we must understand and obey
For men: page 41 reminds us that Jesus told us to love our enemies. A man who does not love (seek what is good for) his wife is a man who does not act like a Christian.
For women: page 43 says A wife who plans an unforgettable sexual experience for her husband is serving God....more info
- Best marriage book read ever...
Excellant marriage book and 100% on the mark with every other marriage book concerning the subject of divorce.
Every Christian marriage book will encourage the reader to battle with God to save the holy sanctity of marriage. But once the marriage has ended via an earthly court system and a man written legal piece of paper?
This book, along with 10 out of 10 other Christian marriage books will tell you to just toss your wedding ring and vows aside and into the deepest sea and rush out to find a "replacement" and start over.
Maybe I have a differrent understanding of what God intends to see achieved in real Christ ordained marriage. Maybe I am all wet.
God first provided for divorce because of the cruelty and meaness in a man's heart. But this is not God's plan concerning the Holy Instituion of marriage. If you really study Ephesians 5:25 just a wee tiny bit you will have to agree that a Godly Christian man should have a heart attitude and willingness to literally die for his wife and family even when the legal system sticks its nose between the covers and anounces the marriage dead and over.
I believe once Christians marry they are always married until death seperates their physical bodies. Regardless of how successful they think they are in "starting" over with a new spouse you have in reality only succeeded in corrupting God's deisign and unique handiwork.
But what does "man" care about that, huh? Our personal will is our God. And that is exactley the opposite of what the good Lord wishes us to learn in marriage.
A true Christian marriage is one where personal self becomes totally subservient to God's will and the welfare of the other spouse.
- Life changing book
Whether you are single or married, you have to read this book. It is a life changer. It helps you better understand how to love your spouse and others. As a matter of fact, do what I'm doing: Read it twice, or you could say it's my third time because I also listened to the book on CD.
This book, more than anything else - although the movie Fireproof is awesome - helped me comprehend (more than understanding) the way to truly love my wife. I adore her after 31 years of marriage, and this book helped!
Wouldn't you love to be adoring your spouse? Spend less than $15 for this book and read it with an open mind. Then work on what you learn and over time you will enjoy the romance of your dreams. Buy this book and read it now!...more info
A profound and well written book on marriage. All who read this and embrace its truths will have a stronger, healthier marriage....more info
- Best book on marriage
I am a pastor, and this is the best book my wife and I have found on what Christian marriage is all about. It is our primary text when counseling engaged couples. We have also used it with small groups. We highly recommend it....more info
- Thought Provoking
The officiant of our wedding wanted my fiance and I to read this as part of our counseling. It was fantastic. It really taught us the importance of serving and how to serve each other. It has a unique view that is very biblical, and not at all dominering towards women! ...more info
- Excellent Book!
Thomas' thesis is captivating and his style of writing makes for an enjoyable read. The book is biblical, practical, and important. I have made it a required reading for premarital counseling. Every Christian couple should own a copy and pastors should read it....more info
- Even Better Before you get Married
Christy and I read this together before we were married, even before we were engaged. It is intended for people that are already married. For us, It was a bit scary because it talks about many common problems in very real terms with real examples. We had second thoughts about getting married at all about half way through the book, but it quickly points out how to succeed over these issues by growing humility and a servant attitude. We feel that this has focused and strengthened our relationship immensely. Apparently, marriage is about being challenged to become more Christ like by serving someone else, not getting what you want....more info
- Grow closer to God and your spouse.
This was an excellent book on how to truly grow closer to God through loving your spouse. We can be satisfied in our marriage if we have the right focus. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It can help anyone who is interested in growing in their faith and marriage relationship. ...more info
- Sacred Companions
God made marriage to make us holy, not to make us happy. In his compelling style, Gary Thomas consistently communicates that one marriage-altering message.
As a marriage counselor, seminary professor, and writer of books on the spiritual life, I find far too many Christian books on marriage shallow, surface, and simple. Their solution-focused answers to self-centered questions often do more harm than good as they create more self-sufficient, self-centered sinners.
"Sacred Marriage" does a 180, putting the sacredness back in marriage. God intended marital love to mirror the love relationship between Christ and the Church. Further, God intends our marriages to be a spiritual discipline of spiritual friendship encouraging one another toward communion with Christ and conformity to Christ.
In the able hands and from the artful pen of Thomas, couples learn the most fulfilling message about marriage--together you have the capacity for sacredness, for a God-honoring, other-empowering, self-sacrificing purpose that brings joy now and impact forever.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Soul Physicians," "Spiritual Friends," and "Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
- puts it all in perspective
This book, recommended by our pastor, puts the whole meaning of the marriage into perspective. Anytime I would become discouraged with my marriage or hit a tough time I would open the book and it helped me immensely. I purchase the book for anyone I know having a rough go at marriage, and I recommend the book for anyone having a tough time or involved in a wonderful marriage, it's just a wonderful book. It helped me turn the focus of trying to fix on my own what I thought was wrong, to trying to make myself a more Godly wife and do what God wants me to do....more info
- My new favorite marriage book
I used to give out copies of Bryan Chapell's wonderful Each for the Other. Before that my favorite book on marriage had been Mike Mason The Mystery of Marriage. Thomas is my new favorite.
He shows that the design of marriage is not for our mere happiness. It is so much greater than that. Its central purpose is our holiness. In this approach, God alone is acknowledged as Lord of our lives. He is central to marriage, not our spouse. Thomas wants the reader to embrace a Biblical vision for marriage that views all of the joy and sorrow, success and struggle as opportunities to draw closer to God and to grow in grace.
Again and again, the Scriptures show us that all of life (marriage included) is about showing us who God is, how we need him, and may draw near to him through faith alone: Habakkuk's prayer for justice is answered by sending the Babylonians (Hab. 1:6f.); Hosea is told to take his wandering wife Gomer back and bear children with her; the people will be sent into 70 years of exile as a blessing; Job loses it all (Job 1), except the most important thing; Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers (Gen 37:12f.); following Christ faithfully leads the disciples literally into life's storms (Matt. 8:23-24 and 14:22-24). All because the Lord loves his people, and desires their holiness more than their immediate happiness.
All this is obviously true. Yet, Gen. 2:19-24 may still seem in tension with this: "And the Lord God said, `It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.' "
But as on writer points out, this is about God providing "companionship in the labor of dominion.... He [Adam] needs a companion suitable for him in the work to which God has called him." Marriage in Gen. 2 is not about solving Adam's loneliness, but about giving him a partner in life to fulfill his calling. A calling, Scripture everywhere teaches, that is primarily about knowing and trusting God.
So Thomas writes convincingly, "the challenges, joys, struggles, and celebrations of marriage.. [are to] draw [us] closer to God and to grow [us] in Christian character." (p.12). For this reason, one friend commented that Thomas' book is less a "how-to" and more of a "what-if" book. What if we pursued God in marriage rather than our own desires for happiness and comfort? What if we saw the call to serve in marriage as a uniquely potent opportunity to confront our own selfishness?
Marriage is an unmatched tool used by God to refine us, Thomas argues. He shows how this is true in specific areas of the Christian life. Marriage teaches us to love (chapter 3), to respect (chapter 4), to pray (chapter 5), to expose our own sin (chapter 6), to persevere (chapter 7), to embrace difficulty (chapter 8), to forgive (chapter 9), to serve (chapter 10), to find spiritual insights in sexual intimacy (chapter 11), to be aware of God's presence (chapter 12), and to develop our spiritual calling (chapter 13).
As Thomas illustrates, Ephesians 5 states that marriage is a living sign of the Gospel. Marriage becomes the best arena for us to learn how to love better, deeper and more sacrificially, as Christ loves us.
We all desperately need to know that God's intentions for our marriages are so much grander than merely providing an enjoyable companion. God offers us something far greater: holiness, not just happiness. He offers us a marriage, through all its struggles and pain, which can teach us how the deepest longings of our hearts can finally be satisfied in the embrace of Christ....more info
- Recommending Reading
I will be recommending "Sacred Marriage" to all of my married couple friends, newlyweds and longtime married couple....more info
- Sacred Marriage
One of the best books on marriage that I've read. We are using it for a marriage class and the response from the couples have been tremendously positive. Thanks....more info
- Great small group study tool
We used this book for a women's small group study. It is a great book, and study questions can be downloaded for free from Gary's website. There are personal questions at the back of the book that can also be used, but the ones on the website include both personal and group questions.
This book is a great foundational book on marriage and in many ways can translate into all your relationships. It focuses more on what God is doing in you rather than what you are trying to get out of your spouse. Very good redirection of the heart that makes you look at things in a different perspective....more info
- Excellent book with right focus
I purchased The Sacred Marriage recently, having high expectations from having read another excellent marriage book, The Mystery of Marriage (also highly recommended.) I was not disappointed, and this book offers a tremendous theological basis for why we should make our marriages work: not just for our happiness but for the glory of God as a witness to His power of reconciliation. I have only read three chapters, but already I have been hooked, and have started leading a discussion of the book in a small group I am in. Excellent writing, and a great and right focus. ...more info
- No 10 star choice?
This is great at reframing how you look at marriage. Hooray for a Christian book that doesn't sink to simple platitudes and sugar!!
- A Christian Marriage
It is as if God Himself, breathe the words of encouragement through the pages of this book. For those in a troubled marriage that seems beyond repair, I highly recommend this book. I found it to be very forward, hope filled, and inspirational. It gives marriage advice and counseling from a Biblical standpoint and challenges the reader to do that which is very difficult for most of us, which is self examination. The principles offered in this book, gives a new perspective on what marriage is and what it means. I never realized that I could serve God by serving my wife. After reading this book i was challenged, as a Christian to be obedient to God's word which caused me to except some things about myself that I did not want to admit. I highly recommend this book for those who are looking for Biblical guidance as they weather difficult times in a marriage, or for singles who are considering marriage so that they will have a better understanding about this new life long journey they are about to undertake. If I had known then what I know now, my marriage would have avoided many difficult times....more info
- Highly Recommended
The only reason I have given this four stars is because I haven't finished it yet! So far though, it's been very, very good and definitely takes a different course than most marriage books. The author is engaging and stays true to scripture, I think every married couple should read this. If you are seeking counseling for your marriage, I recommend reading Boundaries and then this book....they balance each other pretty well I think....more info
- Boring and Impersonal
I guess I have to be devil's advocate, but this book to me was just so drab. I only read half of it because I couldn't get through how the author just kept saying the same things over and over. And the chapter about finding God in sex was "too heavenly minded for any earthly good". If you are a new Christian or an engaged Christian, you might find it insightful....more info
- One of the best biblical critiques on Marriage
Although I have not finished reading the book, it is one of the best book I have read on marriage, from a biblical perspective. Thomas addresses issues that are so important to marriage: prayer, respect, love, etc. He presents them in a way that is both encouraging and convicting. It is a great book for pre-marital counseling or for those who want to strengthen their relationship. I highly recommend this book. ...more info
- Beat expectations
My wife and I read two books when we went through counseling with our pastor. I particularly found them almost useless. After we got married, I especially wanted some more practical guidance during the tremendous process of change that takes place immediately after marriage. My view of many things concerning marriage was skewed, badly. I searched for a book because it was the most convenient form of advice I'd take. I bought this book and have been most rewarded for doing so. Thomas is evangelical (a scary idea to me) but he cites many theologians from across church history to help convey his ideas and message. His anecdotes are quite absorbing yet short enough to appreciate how they relate to my own situation. My situation was mostly in terms of ideas, i.e., the ideas I had about marriage. Thomas has done much to correct them and put marriage in proper light. He doesn't try to be your friend and sound odd doing so, but he wants his readers to know how marriage is of God and used by God. As he says, marriage is not about making us happy but making us holy. Though at first this sounded way too evangelical for me, Thomas is not pietistic in his approach to marriage. He's quite realistic and grounded. The questions were very helpful as my wife and I used them as part of our reading of the book. We're not even finished with the book but we're already reaping its benefits. If you're looking for a book that will actually help you in your marriage (I'm speaking as a newly wed and this may pertain more to this demographic), then investing in this book will meet your expectations. ...more info
- A Call to Holiness
The great thing about this book is that it specifically addresses some common areas that all married couples are likely to struggle with, but it ties them back to the Bible and the call for all of us to lead holy lives. The Bible doesn't say, "Be holy if your spouse is holy," but God says, "Be holy because I am holy." It is the relationship with God that is central. We are called to be ever seeking to emulate Christ, and the marriage relationship gives us plenty of opportunity! Now, of course if you are in an abusive relationship, use appropriate judgement, but if you are finding yourself in a dissatisfying marriage for other reasons, remember that instead of changing your spouse, the place to begin is with YOURSELF! God bless!...more info
- Should be required reading for Christians prior to marriage
I received this book as a wedding gift. Reading this book humbled me to consider that marriage is not only two people who want to share lives for the purpose of love and family, but is also a way to show God's love as a ministry. In the American culture, marriage certainly has taken some blows. It saddens me that something so sacred and holy as marriage has been made to be more like dating with committment lacking. I hope this book helps people to really consider the impact of marriage, not only for themselves but for everyone who is watching as well....more info
- Thanks Gary! The best book written on marriage! Jeff & Cheryl Scruggs, Authors of I DO AGAIN" , Hope Matters Marriage Ministries
We have been teaching this book to groups since 2002 and have watched countless marriages getting to a place of understanding what it really means to become "holy" in your marriage! It is by far one of the best books written on marriage out there. We recommend this book to every married couple! ...more info
- A book about why there can be triumph in the face of the seeming defeats in marriage
My first read of this book was in 2002 when it first came out. I knew then it was an important book, speaking to the many questions married people and those approaching marriage ask. It's not a "How to" as much as it's a "Why and Wherefore" kind of book, thereby lending vision and hope to a generation diseased by cynicism and skepticism. Gary Thomas is a voice that points to triumph in the face of the seeming defeats in marriage as he raises our eyes to an eternal view and a God-centered purpose of marriage. ...more info
- Great marriage preparation book!
I'm getting married in a few weeks, and I read this book with my future husband. We both learned a lot from its main message: "Marriage is more to make you holy than to make you happy." We would recommend this book to any one who wants to base their marriage on truth....more info
- Bits and Pieces
Thomas' most important paradigm shift from the majority view of modern evangelical Protestants is his assertion that marriage should be a discipline that God uses to help us grow up in Christ. For evangelicals, this is a radical departure from the endless "what's in for me?" attitude which characterizes the essence of most of their evangelism, typified by such organizations as Campus Crusade for Christ. For this, Thomas should receive praise and deserves it. On the other hand, despite his claims of wanting to learn from the teachings and traditions of the Church (which he then ignores), he presents the modern line of American evangelicalism with nary a toe out of line. He fails to note, for example, that the Early Church was unanimous in teaching that nothing but death dissolves a marriage. They should know as biblical Greek was their first language. His respect for the Fathers is but hollow praise. His exegesis and use of Scripture is largely shallow and insipid, not unlike large swaths of American Christianity. Rather than carefully start from Genesis 2 with what the man and woman are, the purpose for the creation of the woman, the man's and woman's roles in marriage, and the like, he begins with stories mixed with some Bible truth. This diet of anecdotes is popular fare here. As Hebrews exhorts, people want milk, not solid food so growth beyond infancy is unlikely to happen. Thomas accepts without question the Reformation's novel view that marriage is dissolved by adultery (how is it then sacred and like the bond between Christ and His Church?) But Thomas is a disciple of James Dobson and his quirky mix of the Christian faith and modern humanistic psychology so we should not expect that marriage is permanent or that the woman is the glory of the man and should submit to him. His long quote of John Barger's experiences is a classic modern demonization by humanistic Christians of godly men who know how to lead their women and families with grace, truth, and love. Barger simply needed to confess that he was mean, a common trait of American church leadership. (Ask a heathen neighbor to describe "Christians" -- two out of three will aptly describe them as "mean busybodies", especially Dobson.) Godly men do NOT scorn their women nor exploit them nor are they mean. They firmly, gently, and lovingly lead them as sheep through a spiritual wilderness. American women -- generally -- know little of obedience and submission. Suffice it to say, Sarah is the model (1Pet 3). She called her husband "lord" -- the exact word used by the disciples in their address to the Son of God. Sarah, if she were alive, would have some words for the average church woman here. But submission to authority, to one's husband, and the like are 180 degrees out of whack with the Reformation and the Renaissance Humanism and egalitarianism that wormed its way into the doctrines, creeds, and Bible translations of the time. American evangelicals, including Gary Thomas, should heed the fruit of their syncretistic doctrines by observing what has become of the Church in Europe. The social anarchy here is worse than ever, despite the efforts of Focus on the Family. Unless there is a major turning, the glorious temples built by church leaders will become shopping malls at best (the UK) or ruins at worst (Turkey). Still Thomas' point that one cannot expect of one's spouse what he should only expect of God is an excellant observation. He should follow the paradigm further, starting with such Scripture as 1Pet 2:13ff. Marriage is not a particular source of discipline in our learning to live holy lives -- everything in the Christian's life is often a source of training and discipline. That American evangelicals are surprised that marriage is not endless fun is a pity. Suffering is to what we are called (1Pet 2-4 et al) and it may result from a marriage. Yet it is good for the Christian -- what another surprise. Wives submitting to heathen and harsh husbands and suffering as a result -- yet remaining faithful and chaste -- is GOOD in God's sight and is their duty (yet another surprise). Husbands loving rebellious, disrespectful, and ambitious wives is just the same as Christ's love for the Church (Eph. 5). What is new? He loves the Church, just the same. Sad to say, American Protestants do not look at it this way. And the downhill slide continues right along (Jer. 18:11-12).... But if Thomas' book can result in the married merely beginning to serve each other with the man holding his woman fast in undeviating love and loyalty (the Hebrew verb DBQ in Gen. 2:24), then a read may be worth the rest of it....more info
- Christian Insights into Marital Holiness
It's refreshing to find a book about marriage that does not focus solely on happiness or on fulfilling yourself. You'd have to look elsewhere for a book on that. "Sacred Marriage", as its title suggests, is a bold attempt at examining marriage with the ultimate aim of achieving marital holiness, rather than happiness. The book does not, of course, repudiate the goal of happiness in marriage. That would be perverse. Instead, it points to a higher God-intended purpose in marriage - that of achieving Christ-like holiness between the couple. Fulfillment and happiness will flow from such a marriage as natural by-products.
The book takes an exhaustive look at the arenas in daily life through which martial holiness may be cultivated, be it through one's work, prayer life, or even sex life. It challenges the religious notion, held fast through the ages, that holiness is best achieved through celibacy. I personally found the chapter on servanthood particularly helpful. In it, we are exhorted to serve our spouse as Christ served those around him. This is a badly needed reminder to us in a culture supremely concerned with self-fulfillment - even through marriage.
"Sacred Marriage" will be a blessing to Christian couples - both to those who are married and those preparing to be. Non-Christians too will find the book useful as an insight into a biblical Christian view on marriage.
- Great book
It's probably not fair to review a book I haven't finished yet. But, after reading so many "how-to" type books and going to "how-to" type conferences, it is great to read a book on "why". I highly recommend this book to anyone who is concerned about marriage (their own or someone elses). ...more info
- Must read for every marriage
As a student of the Focus on the Family Institute, "Sacred Marriage" was foundational reading material for our Marriage course. It does a wonderful job putting the realities and the purpose of marriage into perspective. My husband and I read this book together when were engaged, and it was quite helpful in preparing us. We've been married nearly a year and a half now, and have carried many of the lessons from "Sacred Marriage" with us. It is also the one book I almost always give out to friends who are about to marry....more info
- Amazing Book on Christian Marriage!
This book presents all that a Christian marriage should be! It challenged my own thinking about the purpose of marriage and has given me a greater appreciation for the man I will be getting married to in eight months. Gary Thomas' premise that God made marriage to make us holy, not make us happy makes so much sense and is a message that should be given more often. If married people could learn that marriage teaches them to be selfless and holy, how would that change our marriages? A great deal I think. I highly recommend this book to Christians planning to get married or even in marriage already. It will challenge you to think about marriage in ways you never considered before!...more info
- must read for everybody
This book was recommended to be by a married person (I am single) and it was VERY applicalbe to my life as a single. Not only did it open my eyes to the reality of marriage and how much one needs to die to self in marriage but I could also apply the same dying to self concepts with my friends and roommates. I would reccommend this book to anyone. ...more info
- eye opener
This book giver a fresh new perspective on the purpose of marriage-much different than what we read and see in love movies and love stores--this is What You Need To Read before You Get Married!...more info
- Good nuggets, but alittle long...
Like many books, this book has great little nuggets to pull out and apply to your marriage and relationship with God. However, I was ready to be done the book by the end, and found the chapters to be quite long. Overall, it's a fine book, but there are better marriage books out there....more info
- A book on marriage by a guy with a bad one
This book has a really good premise. The problem with this book is the perspective of the person writing it. If you need a book to read because your marriage is having problems, read this book because the author can sympathize with you. His way of shifting focus from his pessimistic view of marriage to focusing on God is revolutionary for someone in a bad marriage, someone who doesn't respect women, or someone who doesn't value their family. I can see how it would be a life changing point of view. If you have a good marriage however, you may find it very hard to relate to the author. ...more info
- Delightfully insightful
The insights I found in this book have been incredibly helpful to me in my relationship with my girl friend(soon to be fianc¨¦). Reading this book has giving me a totally different view of marriage and my responsibilities to my future wife, and God, with-in marriage. I would recommend this book to anyone in a serious dating relationship or is engaged. ...more info
- Insightful, hopeful marriage guide
Sacred Marriage offers a new look at married life. Whether you are experiencing difficulties or frustrations in your marriage, or have a good marriage, there is much to learn. God's purpose for marriage is to enhance both spouses' spiritual lives as well as provide companionship, security and happiness. The latter will be results of following Thomas' recommendations for marriage. Becoming more Christ-like is the bottom line. How to do this in a marital relationship is what Sacred Marriage is about....more info
- A Valuable Look at How Marriage Can Be an Incredible Vehicle with Which to Love and Serve God
Gary Thomas' main purpose in this book is simple. It's not to encourage you in your marriage, although that is one of its secondary goals. It's not to give you practical steps on improving your marriage, although there's some of that as well. It's to change your attitude regarding your marriage from something that exists for your happiness to something that is for your holiness. In other words, marriage is for serving your spouse and learning to love and serve God in that context, not meeting your own desires and needs.
Thomas is a fairly engaging writer, and he pulls no punches in getting his message across. He hopes to show how marriage can be a vehicle for Christian growth and spirituality. In some ways, you could call him a more practical and more evangelical Brennan Manning, someone who's more concerned with relating Christian spirituality to people who don't have much time for a devotional life. He comes across as much less of a feeler than Manning, however, as he presents a picture of marriage as something that's not necessarily enjoyable but requires constant self-sacrifice on the part of both spouses. (One married friend half-seriously said that marriage is depicted as so tough and joyless in the book that he might have broken off his engagement if he'd read it before getting married.)
Fortunately, given his hard advice, Thomas has the good sense to make himself exhibit A in negative examples of what not to do in a marriage. This vulnerability is refreshing, and the personal stories are among the strong points in the book. The book is also wonderful in that it examines marriage as a vehicle for the spiritual life. Chapters on spiritual disciplines such as prayer complement chapters on more traditional marriage topics. Thomas wants people who are married to understand that their entire marriage can be an incredible vehicle with which to love and serve God.
It's unfortunate, given this focus, that Thomas feels compelled to exalt marriage over celibacy, at least as a vehicle for becoming more like Christ. He does this so often that he seems to want to convince people who feel that marriage hampers their Christian life that they have made the best choice by getting married. While at one point he says that marriage and celibacy can be used by God equally to help Christians grow, at other times he contradicts this assertion, even at one point suggesting that celibacy is essentially (or at least usually) self-centered. Given his background in Christian spirituality, it's disappointing that he sees celibacy as only a vehicle for serving God and not for loving God irrespective of service, as ancient Christian writers did and as Roman Catholics today still do. Thomas seems unaware of just how much marriage is considered within most of evangelicalism today to be spiritually the best option for Christians, so much so that those who are called to celibacy may be unable to hear that calling.
Despite this flaw, Thomas is to be commended for attempting to connect evangelicals with the spirituality of the Christian classics. Even though he thinks that many or even most of the classics are useful for monks but not for your average Christian, still he searches high and low to include quotes from Christians of the past (most of them from before the Protestant Reformation) in this book. It's great to see such authors being consulted for as practical a subject for marriage. (And here's a question to ponder: Are such classics really so impractical for today's Christian, or do we need to change our priorities and live a simpler lifestyle so as to cultivate more of a devotional life and/or spend more time in serving others?)
So Sacred Marriage is a valuable book that offers a new prism on holy matrimony when compared with other evangelical treatments of marriage. It is probably most useful for married couples, and particularly for those who are struggling under the illusion that marriage is mostly for our happiness and/or self-actualization. However, it can be beneficial for people in other walks of life, including engaged couples and singles ascertaining God's call on their lives. Speaking personally, my fiancee and I are glad that we read it! ...more info
- A Meaningful Perspective
I have been married for over 32 years and during that time I've also read a plethora of books on the subject. Sacred Marriage is far and away the best of these books I have ever read; the purpose of marriage, its challenges, and the identification of a proper perspective regarding this most intimate of human relationships are all woven together with a deep sense of faith, and clear direction. I facilitate a college group and recently purchased 10 copies of the book to share. The response has been incredibly positive, and rewarding....more info
- Sacred Marriage
An excellent marriage relationship book. Whether you are engaged, newly married, or have been married for years, this is a must read. Gary Thomas' spiritual perspective on marriage was what I was looking for. The campanion devotional book is helpful too. ...more info
- THE BOOK FOR BELIEVERS ON MARRIAGE
As a friend told me right after I got engaged: "Read this book and you will live." I give this book to every one of my newly engaged or married friends as an attempt to remind them that God created marriage for holiness, not happiness....more info
- Great paperback
Arrived sooner than expected in a well protected package. This book was in great condition! I am very pleased...more info
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