I have not picked this book up for several days. Partly because I’ve been busy, partly because I really did not want to hear the next part of the message. I am sitting in a hotel room in Charlotte, so I have time to chew on it this morning for a while. It’s hitting very close to home, I really wish I could read it together with my wife. But it’s not that simple. As it is I’ll have to model it at home and let her read it through me. Interpretive reading, always more challenging.
This is not an exhaustive summary, but just some of the highlights I found to be helpful. The author makes the point that healthy sexuality in marriage can actually be a help to our spiritual life, fulfilling us in ways that allow us to focus better on God and his kingdom. While some might consider that near heresy, I think the guy is right. Paul said for some it is better to marry than to burn, others have been given the gift of singleness. Each is to be used to glorify God, to allow us to seek and serve Him better.
And also that marriage is a mirror, in it we see ourselves, our short comings, our sinfulness, clearer than most single people ever will. I am not entirely sure about this statement, I don’t like statements that minimize the significance of singleness, but I do know that marriage does expose us like few other relationships can.
And lastly, that even marriages on the brink of failure are still holy covenants, to be revered, respected, prayed and hoped for until there there is healing and restoration or until the other partner separates themselves and moves on. And that this process, painful as it may be, is honoring to God, and is also a rare opportunity for spiritual growth that should not be missed. Failure of a marriage is a sacred struggle. And as we struggle, we are not alone. Jesus, who was tempted in all ways, identifies with us and meets us there in faith.
“Struggle makes us stronger; it builds up and deepens our faith. But this result is only achieved when we face the struggle head-on, not when we run from it.”
The author says that a relationship which is characterized by constant upheaval, fighting, posing, grasping for power, or abuse of one or both partners is not a spiritually profitable exercise. It is only when the struggle is in context of Christian character development and mutual self sacrifice, growth, that it becomes profitable.
Honestly, I can only read a little of this at a time, it is digging around in fresh wounds; it is poking me in the eye with a sharp stick, rich meat that can only be eaten in small bites.
I am on board, though. The struggle must be met head on, with faith, humility, and patience. It is about a covenant, and God takes covenant seriously.