Sacred Marriage: Celebrating Marriage as a Spiritual Discipline

Gary Thomas, Author Zondervan Publishing Company $16.99 (275p) ISBN 978-0-310-23517-0
This is no ordinary self-help book on the Christian family; it focuses far less on how to improve one's marriage than how one's marriage can improve one's Christian faith. Author Thomas even goes so far as to suggest that ""God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy,"" an idea that may shock romantically inclined Americans. Marriage, writes Thomas, is a spiritual discipline because it forces us to confront our own selfishness and sinfulness. Daily sacrifices can teach service, while a demanding, lifelong commitment teaches perseverance. Problems arise when couples expect each other to fill roles (such as unconditional lover) that only God can play in their lives. The book is a refreshing addition to the evangelical canon; it draws not only on the extensive marital analogies found in Scripture but also on Church history and tradition. This makes for a thoughtful and challenging message that is not susceptible to the evangelical mode du jour. Thomas is honest about his own marital ups and downs. Although the book is sometimes hampered by its overwhelmingly male perspective (most of Thomas's examples are taken from men's stories), the various personal anecdotes crystallize the idea of marriage as a context for spiritual growth. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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