I’ve been reading Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas the past two weeks for my Marriage and Family class at SEBTS. I have really been challenged by this book. Marriage is consistently either moving forward or moving back. Further, a good marriage is maintained by hard work and perseverance. Throughout the different stages of your relationship with your spouse (though this is applicable to any relationship), Christ calls us to holiness.Thomas states,
“The righteousness God seeks is a persistent righteousness, a commitment to continue making the right decision even when, perhaps hourly, you feel pulled in the opposite direction. Holiness is far more than an inclination toward occasional acts of kindness and charity. It is a commitment to persistent surrender before God.”
This quote needs to be engraved on my skull. 🙂 It is foundational to how we approach our husbands. Perhaps I do the dishes because I feel like being kind to my husband. Great. But how does this teach me about holiness? Marriage is far more than learning to get along and enjoy the company of another. It is a consistent choice to be sanctified through self-denial for your husband’s good. It makes us need God. “If there is one thing young engaged couples need to hear, it’s that a good marriage is not something you find, it’s something you work for.”
In a society where adulterous relationships are rampant and individual happiness is prioritized, Biblical love seems contrary. Thomas further clarifies, “The opposite of Biblical love isn’t hate, it’s apathy…Christian love is an aggressive movement and an active commitment.” As women we must make an effort to move forward in good deeds towards our husband instead of sole efforts to avoid conflict and disagreements. What conscious acts are we pursuing to love and respect him?
I particularly enjoyed this quote as it changes our mentality as a wife,
“Contrary to popular opinion, woman was not created for her own fulfillment…She was created to be a helper and a nurterer. Now that is not an easy assignment to accept. We tend to be bristle and think, There must be something more significant than that! What a homemaker hasn’t found herself asking, after the fiftieth load of laundry in a week or when facing yet another sink full of dirty dishes, ‘Is there anything significant about what I’m doing here?’ Yet in God’s eyes, nothing is more significant than servanthood. The path to genuine greatness is serving.”
Thomas quotes C. J. Mahaney in his book According to Plan by challenging men to a similar exhortation. However it is just as applicable to women. I have inserted the feminine words for clarification, “[Ladies], what are you doing each day for our [husbands] that involves sacrifice? What are you doing each day for your [husband] that is costing you something?
As I began contemplating these truths I was humbled by how often my husband has already implemented so much of this ideal towards me. Just today, I awoke to a warm living room from my husband’s thoughtfulness to turn it on before he left. He left a note saying that he would help with the dishes on his return home from work. Eight hours of this monday, he will tirelessly work through books and papers to provide for Augustine and I to stay at home. After his long day of schoolwork and online teaching duties, he will then return to play with my son as he knows I’ve had him to myself all day. He denies himself leisurely activities to ask about my day and inquire of my heart. He has also already willingly volunteered to put augustine to bed while I go to Bible Study, and will then spend the next 2-3 hours conducting online chats to make a income to keep our family out of debt and provide for our needs and desires.
It amazes me how much Shaun denies himself good in order that I might have the best. His efforts point to the ultimate self-denial that Christ displayed on the cross. This is the beauty of marriage, I hope you are starting to grasp.
How are you challenged, how are you humbled?
Thanks for reading!