"Marriage creates a situation in which our desire to be served and coddled can be replaced with a more noble desire to serving others."
-Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage
I just finished reading Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? last night. It was one of those books that I was sad to finish. I would put this book on a list to read every year to remind myself what marriage is all about. Thomas' ability to combine Scripture, the historical writings of the church fathers and modern research and commentary on marriage is unequaled in all the books I've read about marriage. Married friends or engaged friends, be warned...you may be getting this book as a gift :)
I can't tell you how many times I've needed to be reminded of the essence of the above quote. I have to confess that during my dating relationship and even now in my marriage, I have to constantly battle the desire in me to be coddled and served. I have a long fuse when it comes to patience and service, but when I don't take care of myself, that fuse can snap very fast (poor hubby can attest to that!) In reading this book, I've been reminded of how God works in our lives. God often brings people or situations into our lives to stretch us to the breaking point. It is only then that we can truly learn and lean on Him. The marriage relationship is fertile ground for this...you can't live with anyone, no matter how amazing they were when you were dating, and not come face to face with their flaws and selfishness. It is at the point where we find the socks on the floor, the silence at the dinner table, the late nights at work, the long list of chores, etc. that we are called to deny ourselves and focus on our loved one. I'm not saying we should excuse mistreatment, but we should make every effort to love our spouses sacrificially. In turn, that moves out to loving other people radically. I have been thinking a lot about this point and praying that God uses my marriage relationship to help me to love others better. Thanks to Mom and my sister for giving me this awesome book!