Gary L. Thomas · 288 pages
Rating: (10.2K votes)
“What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”
“The key question is this: Will we approach marriage from a God-centered view or a man-centered view? In a man-centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator.”
“If you want to be free to serve Jesus, there’s no question—stay single. Marriage takes a lot of time. But if you want to become more like Jesus, I can’t imagine any better thing to do than to get married. Being married forces you to face some character issues you’d never have to face otherwise.”
“Contempt is conceived with expectations. Respect is conceived with expressions of gratitude. We can choose which one we will obsess over—expectations, or thanksgivings.”
“Christian love must be chased after, aspired to, and practiced.”
“A heavyweight boxing champion who dodges all serious contenders to consistently fight marshmallows is derided and ridiculed—and rightly so. Christians who dodge all serious struggle and consciously seek to put themselves in whatever situations and relationships are easiest are doing the same thing—they are coasting, and eventually that coasting will define them and—even worse—shape them.”
“Just when we are most eager to make ourselves understood, we must strive to understand. Just when we seek to air our grievances, we must labor to comprehend another’s hurt. Just when we want to point out the fallacies and abusive behavior of someone else, we must ruthlessly evaluate our own offensive attitudes and behaviors.”
“Giving respect is an obligation, not a favor; it is an act of maturity, birthed in a profound understanding of God’s good grace.”
“Any mature, spiritually sensitive view of marriage must be built on the foundation of mature love rather than romanticism. But this immediately casts us into a countercultural pursuit.”
“This is the reality of the human heart, the inevitability of two sinful people pledging to live together, with all their faults, for the rest of their lives.”
“Romans 2:7–8: “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”
“Our Lord has sovereignly ordained that our refining process take place as we go through difficulties, not around them. The Bible is filled with examples of those who overcame as they passed through the desert, the Red Sea, the fiery furnace and ultimately the cross. God doesn’t protect Christians from their problems — he helps them walk victoriously through their problems.”4”
“You won’t find happiness at the end of a road named selfishness.”
“I’ve found that obedience to God creates quiet fulfillment in the present. There is a spiritual satisfaction that comes even in the midst of our trials. It is a demeanor that may not be as “showy” as gleeful happiness, but it is much less subject to moods and makes for much more permanent a disposition.”
“This is a book that looks at how we can use the challenges, joys, struggles, and celebrations of marriage to draw closer to God and to grow in Christian character.”
“Righteousness—true holiness—is seen over time in our persistence. It is relatively easy to “flirt” with righteousness—being occasionally courteous to other drivers (if you happen to be in a good mood), helping someone in need by opening the door for them (if you have time), throwing a few extra bucks into the offering plate (as long as you won’t miss them). But this behavior is in reality superficial righteousness. 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.”
“The reality of the human condition is such that, according to Porter (and I agree), we must “salvage our fragments of happiness” out of life’s inevitable sufferings.”
“The mature response, however, is not to leave; it's to change -- ourselves.
Whenever marital dissatisfaction rears its head in my marriage -- as it does in virtually every marriage -- I simply check my focus. The times that I am happiest and most fulfilled in my marriage are the times when I am intent on drawing meaning and fulfillment from becoming a better husband rather than from demanding a "better" wife.
If you're a Christian, the reality is that, biblically speaking, you can't swap your spouse for someone else. But you can change yourself. And that change can bring the fulfillment that you mistakenly believe is found only by changing partners. In one sense, it's comical: Yes, we need a changed partner, but the partner that needs to change is not our spouse, it's us!
I don't know why this works. I don't know how you can be unsatisfied maritally, and then offer yourself to God to bring about change in your life and suddenly find yourself more satisfied with the same spouse. I don't why this works, only that it does work. It takes time, and by time I mean maybe years. But if your heart is driven by the desire to draw near to Jesus, you find joy by becoming like Jesus. You'll never find joy by doing something that offends Jesus -- such as instigating a divorce or an affair.”
“we can use marriage for the same purpose—to grow in our service, obedience, character, pursuit, and love of God.”
“One of these early thinkers, Augustine (A.D. 354–430), suggested that there are three benefits of marriage: offspring, faith (fidelity), and sacrament. Of the three benefits, he clearly points to the latter (sacrament) as the greatest. This is because it is possible to be married without either offspring or faith, but it is not possible to be (still) married without indissolubility, which is what a sacrament points toward. As long as a couple is married, they continue to display—however imperfectly—the ongoing commitment between Christ and his church. Thus, simply “sticking it out” becomes vitally important.”
“That’s what’s so difficult about Jesus’ call to love others. On one level, it’s easy to love God, because God doesn’t smell. God doesn’t have bad breath. God doesn’t reward kindness with evil. God doesn’t make berating comments. Loving God is easy, in this sense. But Jesus really let us have it when he attached our love for God with our love for other people.”
“I think marriage is designed to call us out of ourselves and learn to love the “different.”
“One of the best wedding gfts God gave you was a full-length mirror called your spouse. Had there been a card attached, it would have said, “Here’s to helping you discover what you’re really like!” —Gary and Betsy Ricucci”
“Christianity does not direct us to focus on finding the right person; it calls us to become the right person. Our”
“Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate. W. H. Auden”
“Otto Piper points out that “there is always an element of mistrust implied in the marriage contract.”2 The reason we promise to love each other “till death do us part” is precisely because our society knows that such a promise will be sorely tried—otherwise, the promise wouldn’t be necessary! We don’t make public promises that we will regularly nourish our bodies with food or buy ourselves adequate clothing. Everyone who enters the marriage relationship will come to a point where the marriage starts to “rub” somewhat adversely. It is for these times that the promise is made. Anticipating struggle, God has ordained a remedy, holding us to our word of commitment. In this struggle we become nobler people.”
“He planted marriage among humans as yet another signpost pointing to his own eternal, spiritual existence.”
“Knowing why we are married and should stay married is crucial. This will lead us into a discussion brilliantly argued by Maryland pastor C.J. Mahaney in an audiotape series on marriage titled According to Plan. The key question is this: Will we approach marriage from a God-centered view or a man-centered view?3 In a man-centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator.”
“In this fallen world, struggles, sin, and unfaithfulness are a given. The only question is whether our response to these struggles, sin, and unfaithfulness will draw us closer to God—or whether it will estrange us from ourselves, our Creator, and each other.”
“Heloise learned to love Abelard solely for who he was. That forbidden love brought her nothing but pain, but she would rather have shame and pain with Abelard than peace and happiness without him.”
“They were doped up? Then you were lucky.”
Reacher shook his head. “You want to fight with me, your best choice would be aspirin.”
“[W]e are all savages under the cloak that civilization fashions for us.”
“Spader and I were nearly killed. Three times. We were also robbed and witnessed a gruesome murder. Happy birthday to me!”
“Yet many times I felt terribly alone and was convinced that no one else understood. And I still think that's true. When our pain becomes intense and endures for weeks without relief, no one else really knows. I'm not sure it's worthwhile for them to know what it's like.
They care. That's what I think is important.”
“Before there is peace, blood will spill blood, and the lake will run red.”
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