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Sacred Marriage

22 Dec

Dear God, I read this great book on marriage a few years ago called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. The subtitle is, “What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?” I went through it in a men’s group that I was in and, as I recall, it has about 12 chapters and the second to last one dealt with sex. I must admit that we stopped after the sex chapter so he was smart to put it towards the end.

Anyway, it was the best marriage book I’ve ever read. The concept was simple. We enter marriage thinking about what wants/needs we have will get met. For example, in my case, she will make me happy, take care of me, and always make me feel good because she makes me feel good now. The lens through which we are looking is always our own. How do I see the world and how is the world (in the example of my marriage, my spouse) impacting me and what I think I deserve? I’ve talked about this recently in terms of the levels of faith that Job goes through. This book is saying that my marriage, ultimately, is not about what I think I deserve but what God wants to teach me about loving and serving others.

I say all of this because my parents celebrated their 50th anniversary on Thursday. When I spoke with them on the phone, there were jokes about the three separations they had that total more than a year when combined. When they got engaged they were from two different worlds. One was from deep poverty and one was more lower middle class. One dropped out of high school and had already been married with two children while the other was just graduating college and had never been married. The college graduate’s parents were not pleased. They were nervous for their child. They tried to talk the child out of it. They saw problems that the child couldn’t see. And, frankly, in one respect, my grandparents were right. But in another one, they were wrong.

You have used this path to teach my parents things that they might never have learned otherwise. It was through the first separation that one became a Christian. It was through the second one that the other became a Christian. And it was through the third one that you taught them to love each other at a deeper level. They also learned about how to interact with the world through the other. The one from poverty taught the other how to appreciate everyone from all walks of life. The middle class one showed the other a world where conflicts can be resolved beyond fight or flight. The list of what they taught each other is long.

For my own marriage and children, you have used my wife to make me so much better. I wouldn’t be as physically healthy as I am without her gentle influence. I wouldn’t be as broadly read and knowledgeable about world event without her. I wouldn’t have experienced my faith in you in the same way. Frankly, I could type all day about how you used her to make me more holy. You’ve done the same through me with my children. I am one of the least judgmental people when it comes to judging other parents because I have been humbled by my own shortcomings. I have also learned how to love more deeply through them.

Father, I am proud of my parents today, and there is a lesson for me to learn about the paths you have for us. The lesson is that I do not know what is best for me, my wife, or my children. What looks like disaster on paper might just be the path you have. So I look to you for my children’s paths. I pray that you will guide them in every way. Guide them beyond my limited wisdom. When I was praying with my wife this morning I told her that I truly believe that you are answering our prayers for them whether we can see them or not. And I pray for my parents and the years/decades they have left together. And I pray for my wife and me. Guide us and use us for your glory, not our own.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

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