Since I am a huge fan of Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage (anyone considering being married at any point should read it!) and since the youth of our church love to talk about relationships, I picked up his newer book The Sacred Search. As the name implies, it’s about the process of getting to marriage (which I, for one, am glad I’m done with). The tag line is “What if it’s not about who you marry, but why?” which challenges readers to think first about the why of marriage. If we figure that out, then we’ll more likely make a wiser decision on the who.
All in all, I think it’s a great read. The first eight or so chapters is a bit elementary for one growing up in a conservative Asian church where the dangers of dating and making choices based on infatuations are drilled pretty deeply into our souls. But the second part of the book really is helpful in pointing out what we ought to be looking for (and avoiding) in order to have a God-honoring marriage for the purposes of His kingdom. If your hormones are raging, I would recommend this book.
Here are some quotes that I highlighted:
“There isn’t a person alive who can keep you enthralled for the next five or six decades. If they’re really funny, really attractive, and you’re really infatuated, you can be enthralled for a few years, but selfish people-even wealthy selfish people, or beautiful selfish people, or famous selfish people-eventually get bored with each other, and the very relationship that once gave them security and life feels like prison and death” (pg. 18).
“Mutual attraction is a shakey foundation, because marriage is about growing old together more than it is about being young together. Is this a person for whom age will increase your devotion and respect, or will this person gradually lose what most draws you to them now?” (pg. 98).
“When you’re dating and in love, it’s not that difficult to build and enjoy a relationship. It doesn’t take someone of great character to accompany you to movies and nice restaurants, to go on fun bike rides or hikes or sit in a Starbucks or make out on a couch. Most people can do that” (pg. 117).
“You get to start protecting your kids before they’re even born. Give them a godly mom or dad” (pg. 126).
“Compatibility that matters isn’t about sameness as much as it’s about having the most important things in common, beginning with a shared vision for life. Sincere appreciation and genuine respect for your future spouse matter far more than similarity.” (pg. 157)
Do you believe there’s the one out there for you? Or is that a concept that’s been shaped more by our society than by Scripture?