The following is a portion of a recent conversation between Edward Lee and Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage To Make Us Holy Instead Of Happy?
I had an awesome opportunity last week to speak with best selling author and international speaker, Gary Thomas. Mr. Thomas is the author of at least thirteen books, a couple of which rank on my all-time favorites list. To this point, his most successful book has been the best seller, Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage To Make Us Holy Instead Of Happy?
Here are a few excerpts from my conversation with Mr. Thomas:
Sacred Marriage asks a powerful question about the real purpose of marriage. It really is a revolutionary and freeing perspective. Where did the concept for this book come from?
Gary Thomas: From experience. When I got married I was challenged in my marriage in ways I was not challenged in my single life. When I was in college if I did not like my roommate, I just had to hang on for a few months and it would be over. In other words I could just run from the situation. But in marriage that is not an option. At a point I realized that no one had breathed a word of anything regarding the spiritual challenges of marriage.
We had heard about conflict issues, financial issues, in-law issues, sexual issues, but nobody talked about the spiritual challenges in marriage. Beyond just learning to deal with someone else, I saw a different side of myself, in marriage. Typically, I am a laid back guy, but coming into marriage I saw myself irritated more.
So to me it was just spiritually forming to look at marriage in this way, and I had not heard anybody else address it at that time, and that is what gave birth to the concept.
The subtitle: What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy? Give us a snapshot of what that means, to those that have not been introduced to the book yet.
Gary Thomas: Most people today think that their greatest need is to be loved; that is why they get married. They want to find someone that will love them, they want to be noticed, they feel lonely, they want to be appreciated. The biblical view is that God has met that need. He proved His love for us through Christ, He will love us, He will accept us. So your greatest need has already been met. The greatest need now then is to learn how to love.
I look at marriage as a teacher of how to love. If you are married to a person with a temper, how do you learn to love a person with a temper? If you are married to a person who is overly sensitive or selfish, how do you learn to love a sensitive or selfish person?
Well, it is really through humility, realizing that I am, not like Christ. We often compare ourselves to people we deem to not be good examples of how to be in marriage like a Charlie Sheen and say, “Well I am not Charlie Sheen but I am not Jesus either.” So even though a person might be more spiritual than their spouse they still realize the need to grow in how they love their spouse. So then the things I used to resent about my marriage – now I see it as a purpose of my marriage, as I now see that God designed it to pinch my feet, to show me that I am selfish and that I don’t know how to love, to show me that I am not like Christ so I can become better at how I love.
To read the rest of Edward’s conversation with Gary Thomas, click here.