A couple weeks ago, I joined a virtual bible study with a group of fellow bloggers. The book chosen is, Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. It’s an incredible thing, to get together with a bunch of strangers, who have a common belief and faith, and to get to know them. The group has been so active in discussion, prayer requests, and introductions.
The main idea of the book is: “What if God designed marriage to make up holy more than to make us happy?” The book states that it’s not a self help type of book that’s purpose is to offer help to get to a more pleasurable marriage, instead it’s a book that offers insight on how to accept the trials that we go through in our marriages as a way to become closer with our heavenly Father.
Marriage is tough. I have a hard time believing anyone who says differently. My experience so far, is that it is a lot harder than parenthood. It is two adults vowing to live a life in unison. We must come to the same decision on all major life choices. What other relationship in our lives do we have to do this? With our family and friends, we can just “agree to disagree” on subjects, intimate marriages don’t work like that. Are we going to “agree to disagree” on the way our children will be raised, how we are going to live out our faith, where we are going to live, what financial decisions will be made, etc. I would sure hope not! These are the things that successful marriages have to come to terms with and work together on! It’s tough, but getting to the same place with these decisions and having discussions is part of what makes marriages strong.
The chapter goes on the talk about romance and how it’s a recently developed concept. I think that the main concept of this book seems very unromantic. Aren’t good marriages supposed to be the ones where the husband and wife still look longingly into each other’s eyes and profess deep love to each other on a minutely basis? Ha! Romantic love doesn’t usually stay in a relationship forever. Sure there are probably moments of romance in every marriage, but it’s not a continuous outpouring of gushiness. If we marry simply for those romantic feelings, we would have to throw in the towel every couple of years and find a new partner, who can fulfill that need, and in turn the new partner could perhaps provide that for a few years, and then what?
We have seen several of our friends go through divorces and on the outside it just looks like they gave up when the honeymoon period ended, and they didn’t make their marriage intimate with a “deeper” love. So, they all moved on the find “new” love.
I pray that Jesse and I continue to have an intimate marriage. I want a marriage that we can admit our flaws to each other and reach out for help and accountability. One in which we can honor, cherish, and respect each other. Marriage is so hard because it involves complete honesty. Jesse and I still get offended by each other’s brutal honesty, but I would rather be offended than to have a surface level relationship that doesn’t involve knowing exactly how my partner feels or what his opinions are about me or my actions. It hurts sometimes, but I know that it brings me closer in my walk with Christ.
I really appreciated the story in this chapter when it talks about the woman “is finding out little by little that she is capable of hating her husband, who she loves faithfully. She can hate him at times as fiercely and mysteriously, indeed in terribly much the same way, as often she hated her parents, her brothers and sisters, whom she loves, when she was a child…” The book says that this is the “reality of living as sinful human beings in a radically broken world.” There are times when I feel hate towards Jesse and I want to pull my hair out when dealing with him. I’m sure he feels the same way about me just as often if not more. J It’s my own sinful nature that allows me to feel like this. I absolutely always love Jesse; I even adore him 99% of the time. And I have to admit, the times of not liking him, used to scare me. Now, I just kind of accept it as part of a marriage that will last forever. Marriage isn’t supposed to be easy or smooth; it’s supposed to be forever.