The Sweet Christian Bride

Featured Resource: Sacred Marriage

Sacred Marriage

By Gary Thomas

Summary: Sacred Marriage is an unorthodox marriage book in the sense that it does not teach you how to have a happy marriage.  In fact, the whole premise is that “God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy”(13).  It’s about how to use your marriage as a vehicle for greater growth in your relationship with God.  For many, that seems backwards and unappealing, yet that is the very heart of Christianity—to grow in our relationships with God.

Value: The value of Sacred Marriage is that it fights for marriage.  By rightfully demoting marriage as second to one’s relationship with God, Thomas actually defends marriage’s sanctity and value more than any other marriage book I have read.  If readers took to heart the challenges that Thomas poses—all of which are derived from an evaluation of the Scriptures and a resulting conviction to live those out—then marriages would be victorious and the Church would find so much deep healing.  Most marriage problems are actually sin problems in one or both of the spouses (96).  Persevering to work through those sin problems for the sake of our marriages, and even more so for the sake of our God, would radically change the culture of the Church.

In reading this book, we are confronted with our own sinful natures and how much we would rather cash in our righteousness for the chance at momentary fulfillment.  We are selfish, and marriage confronts that to the depths of our souls.

I would especially encourage engaged couples to read Sacred Marriage because it challenges our cultural paradigm of marriage.  If couples went into the covenant of marriage understanding the depth of cost that will be required and the height of growth that will be attained, couples would be much more willing to persevere through the arduous and anguishing seasons in their marriages.  As a couple who is already married, I fear it will be easy to dismiss this book under the guise that “things are fine.”  Sacred Marriage pushes the reader to uncharted bounds of personal examination that will launch a life-time journey of dying to self.  Most people don’t want that and will avoid that if they are given the choice.  While every married couple should read this, a good many will hear the premise of the book and will politely dismiss it until they are at a point of despair and have finally mustered the humility to work on themselves.

If you can, read it before you are married and walk knowingly into the opportunity for holiness rather than having to supplant a culture of happiness and selfishness that has come to define your marriage.

Highlights: As an underliner, I find that selecting highlights is a bit overwhelming for this book.  Nearly every page has a profound passage underlined.  I would love to just paste the entire text (or at least table of contents) in this highlight section.  So instead, I will briefly say that Thomas speaks of marriage as God designed it; he speaks of God as the author of our marriages; he speaks of the deep sorrows and life-long anguish that some marriages evoke; and he speaks of the unparalleled fulfillment found by spouses who serve the Lord, even if their marriages don’t.  In a book that highlights marriage as a life-long covenant and that shines a light on divorce for the culmination of sin that it is, he does so with utter grace and tenderness for the broken while preserving an unrelenting conviction for God’s truth.

In light of all this, the greatest highlight for me was growing in my awe for God and deepening my own well of love for Him as I further examine my own marriage in light of Christ and the Church.  I’ve had many marriage books drive me deeper in love with my husband, but this one drove me deeper in love with Jesus.

Rating: 5 stars.  Sacred Marriage has always been a top choice in the marriage book department.  Churches, parents, friends…everyone recommends it.  In fact, I’ve had it on my shelf for almost 6 years.  But no matter the glowing reviews, I had never felt the need to pick it up and read it.  Now that I have read it, I feel as if my marriage and my walk with God are changed forever.  I can’t fathom being in a Christian marriage without having read it.