Nurturing a sacred marriage

The Sacred Marriage Seminar is happening this weekend at Rough Acres Bible Camp.  I’m looking forward to hearing Gary Thomas speak and elaborate on what small groups in northern BC churches have been discussing over the course of this past year – namely the principles within his book Sacred Marriage.

The subtitle reveals much about its contents: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”  It’s quite different than any other book I’ve read about marriage.  I would not call it a “how to” book.  It’s a book that seeks to nurture a person’s walk with Jesus – a person who happens to be married.  It delves into numerous intersections between faith and marriage.

God invites us to find fulfilment in Him.  How many people get married expecting their spouse to consistently fulfill them, to completely satisfy them, to continually make them happy?  Before Monica and I met, I remember thinking, “I’ll be happy when I find the right person.”  While words can never express how wonderful a blessing Monica is, things can easily go awry when I begin to expect that she will be my only source of fulfilment.  What a horrible burden to put on someone, expecting that s/he will singlehandedly make your life meaningful and give you joy!  Some would call that being your saviour.  You’re only setting your marriage up for failure.

But what if Jesus is your Saviour?  What if you find your ultimate identity and fulfilment in Him?  Then you free your spouse to be your partner, to be a fellow broken yet image-bearing child of God.  Together you and your spouse can explore how God is building character in you both.  And together you can discover God’s purposes for you as individuals, as a couple, as a family.  This does not necessarily make marriage easier; perhaps sometimes it makes marriage harder!  But it makes it richer.

In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas rightly sees the theme of reconciliation running through the apostle Paul’s writings in the New Testament.  Reflecting on this, Thomas says:

The very nature of Christ’s work was a reconciling work, bringing us together again with God.  Our response is to become reconcilers ourselves…  Everything I do in my life is to be supportive of this Gospel ministry of reconciliation, and that commitment begins by displaying reconciliation in my personal relationships, especially in my marriage.  If my marriage contradicts my message, I have sabotaged the goal of my life: to be pleasing to Christ and to faithfully fulfill the ministry of reconciliation, proclaiming the Good News that we can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ…

If I’m married only for happiness, and my happiness wanes for whatever reason, one little spark will burn the entire forest of my relationship.  But if my aim is to proclaim and model God’s ministry of reconciliation, my endurance will be fireproof.  (p. 34, 36)

As someone said in the Sacred Marriage small group in which Monica and I participated this past year, doing what makes God happy makes us happy – including, perhaps especially, when it comes to our marriage relationships.

Read more:
I’ve quoted Sacred Marriage in previous blog entries…
:: “Practical Holiness” (25 May 2009)
:: “Savoury Relationships” (10 July 2009)

One more thing:
If you’re thinking about coming to the Sacred Marriage seminar this weekend and haven’t told the organizers, please fill out the registration form and contact them ASAP!

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2 thoughts on “Nurturing a sacred marriage

  1. Nice Blog says:

    Its good to see you make a post on this topic, I should book mark this web site. Keep up the good work.

    Like

  2. […] here.  Some quotes from Sacred Marriage (the book) I’ve posted in the past are here, here, here, and here. Posted by SjG Filed in Happenings Leave a Comment […]

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