Sacred Marriage

Last night I began to read a book called Sacred Marriage, the premise being that marriage is primarily given as a sacrament, as an instrument of grace to make us holy, and as a symbol of Christ’s great love and covenant with His Bride. It is to be a witness to the world. And our being in this relationship is to be a testimony to His love and faithfulness in our lives. It’s primary purpose is not to make us happy, but to make us Christ-like, to make us holy. But I think that the benefits of marriage, a healthy sexuality, are one way in which we can remain that close, that vulnerable, that available, to our partner. It is literally where we join spirits, souls, and become one. Remain one.
But after reading the opening paragraphs I quickly experienced feelings of failure. Of having missed the goal. OK, I have to partially unzip my chest here and let a few things come up for air. After 19 years of marriage, we’ve sadly grown apart. Some of it can be chalked up to mutual mistakes, we married knowing we had great differences spiritually, and yet thought that somehow we could keep it together (Doh!). I was fallen away, didn’t want to think about Christ and his call on my life, and I was running like Jonah just as far and as fast as I could. Well, I eventually turned around, have faced who I am in Christ, and am making tracks in the right direction. But perhaps I didn’t encourage her enough early on, worked too hard, didn’t change enough diapers, I thought I did, but maybe I missed it (But I remember the diapers well!). It might just be that the reality of life has set in, she now says that she never really wanted to be a wife or mother. She must have thought my youthful good looks would last longer, that I wouldn’t develop bad breath, that I wouldn’t become sick and helpless for 5 years, and now feels the weight of it all. She might feel trapped by two children, no career, and this man-thing who does well to walk and chew gum at the same time. But I sense most of it is my growing faith, my need to hear Jesus, to walk with Him, to listen for Him. She does not share that, cannot understand that, is frightened and annoyed by it.
So our marriage in this stage of life is a God-opportunity. To grow holiness and understanding, to teach me forgiveness and humility beyond what I think I know. To learn trust and patience beyond what I think I am capable of. And to reach out in expectant faith, far beyond where I have gone in the past.
I am stumbling in all of this. Falling over my feet, flat on my face, stumbling. It’s not pretty. And I realize the implications of all this. But I believe God has given me some items to work on in the mean time.
It will take the rest of the book for this to settle in, for my heart to thoroughly hear and understand this message, to marinate in it. Marriage is meant to make me holy. My marriage is meant to make me holy. If I allow God to do His work. My marriage is meant to portray the relationship between Jesus and His Bride.
This is a different message from love languages, love and respect, or requesting change from your mate simply because you have become so loving that you’re now irresistible and she’s under your spell. These are all helpful tools to maintaining good relationships, but they don’t address why we should be concerned about marriage.
I think the bar has just been raised. I’ll let you know how the book ends. Promise.

About chuck

Aha! Look what I've created. I... have... made... FIRE!!!
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4 Responses to Sacred Marriage

  1. ~m2~ says:

    i don’t know if you are going to believe me, but i started reading that very same book last night too!! the one by Gary Thomas? i found it at borders and before i really get into it, i already know it is kicking my husband raised his eyebrows in the check-out line and questioned why i was getting it? i said “i want to see what i can do to help improve our marriage.” he thinks it’s “perfect, just the way it is.” i started laughing….he’s in denial. he thinks i am perfect, how ludicrous!in the car on the ride home, i said “jimbo, i am hopelessly flawed.” yes, his name is jimbo and if yours and my life got any more paralleled, i’d be a little more than freaked out.i’ll let you know how it ends 😉

  2. ~m2~ says:

    i just realized how Captain Potty Mouth that first comment was — certainly not intended to sound like a foul-mouth, that’s for sure, but honestly, i could probably paraphrase everything i have read thus far and state exactly how screwed up i am.i have more than a little work to do, regardless of what my dh thinks. i know i am flawed, i can fool nobody but him (bless his heart!)

  3. chuck says:

    WoW! WoW! Yes, Gary Thomas. That’s is amazing.It is kicking my butt as well. In a good way, it is actually refreshing to see marriage from another perspective…some things now make a whole lot more sense. But I realize I have a lot of work to do, and that God expects me to do it, irrespective of the prevailing conditions. Parallel, I’ll take that as a compliment, thanks Sis!

  4. chuck says:

    Well, for starters, if we’re all honest enough to look inside, we all have a lot of work to do. As for CPM, I understand exactly what you mean. No offense taken. ;>)

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